Under the Influence

photo credit: taken from NCADD website

photo credit: taken from NCADD website

There are few of us who escape being touched in some way or another by alcoholism.  It is an illness that affects all walks of life, leaving a path of destruction in its wake.

I am not an alcoholic.  While I do enjoy a glass of wine, particularly shared with friends, that is where my desire and need to indulge ends.

I am however, one of many, who have felt the impact of this wretched disease.  If you were to study my family tree, you would find a number of alcoholics hanging off of its limbs.  I suspect there are many family trees that look just like mine.

There is rarely a time when I speak openly to people about how alcoholism has impacted my life, when I not met with an understanding nod, usually followed by their own story of someone in their life who suffers from this addiction.

Why then, are we so reluctant to discuss this issue?

I suspect it is because alcoholism, like mental illness, holds a certain stigma about it. Often discussed in hushed tones, we are reluctant to speak openly with others, for it brings up feelings of shame & embarrassment.

I cannot begin to describe the ways in which this disease has touched my life.  What I can tell you is it has robbed me of precious time with people I love.  It has caused me enough tears to fill an ocean.  It is an illness that still baffles me, despite my knowledge in understanding it to the degree that I do.

If I could off any tidbit of device, I would tell you that you are not alone.  There is no shame in talking to someone.  In doing so, it helps to lighten the burden just a wee bit in dealing with all of the emotion surrounding this disease.

If you, like me, have been impacted by alcoholism, I encourage you to talk to someone. Seek out a support system you are comfortable with.  A family doctor, a friend, a family member, a counselor or perhaps an organization like Al-Anon.  If your preference is to do a little research on your own, there are a plethora of books available on topics relating to coping with addiction.

If you suspect you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, I urge you to get help.  It is never too late to make the necessary changes needed, & again, there are a number of resources available, the most common one being, Alcoholics Anonymous. If you are not comfortable with this kind of help, speak to a family member, a doctor, a pastor or a friend about your concern.  For the sake of yourself & your loved ones, pursue the support you need to help you get sober.

Take the necessary steps to put an end to this destructive, deceitful addiction.  In doing so, life for everyone involved will be so much richer for having done so.

For those interested, this is a self test posted by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.  You can do the test here.





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22 Responses to Under the Influence

  1. karen says:

    lynn this is a great post, close to my heart. I have been in recovery for 8 years now and although there are very occasional temptations, i would not take another drink…My life is so much better , it is MY life not run by the demands of the demon alcohol …To all who are suffering, thinking about their habits and wanting to stop, you can do it with some determination and a positive attitude. I cant tell you how much you are missing in your real life, living it with alcohol addiction . I am not ashamed but rather very proud and strong of beating this disease…xo

    • Lynn says:

      Karen, I was hoping you would weigh in on this post

    • Lynn says:

      Karen, I was hoping you would weigh in on this post. Congratulations on your 8 years of sobriety. It is truly an accomplishment to be so very proud of.

      I can only imagine how difficult it must be some days to resist temptation. As someone who has dealt with the opposite side of this addiction, I commend you for having the strength to continue to fight that urge.

      Thank you so much for your honesty & for sharing your experience. Continued success in your sobriety my friend 💛

  2. joannesisco says:

    You’re so right. It is something that touches all of us 😕
    I hope things are as well as can be in your world

  3. Sue Slaght says:

    Lynn I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability yin sharing this with your readers. Often such a gentle hand reaching out and letting others know you have been so hurt is just the strength for that person to in turn reach out for help. I am so sorry to hear of your ocean of tears. Today a virtual hug for you and so pleased to deliver one in person very soon.

    • Lynn says:

      Sue, if I am honest, I will share that this post has been sitting in draft for about 2 years. I just couldn’t seem to finish it. I can only hope that in sharing, it touches someone else on either side of this addiction.

      What is interesting & perhaps a little telling is that the traffic has been high on reading but only 3 comments. I think that says something, don’t you?

      Looking so forward to the hug in person tomorrow 😃 🤗

      • Heyjude says:

        I can understand why this stuck in your draft folder for so long. I have been writing a book / story / memoir – call it what you like – for years. Truth is writing brings back memories I want to forget. But maybe it is time to finish it and let the past go.

      • Lynn says:

        Sometimes there is relief in just getting something out. Whether it is through writing or talking, it can be cathartic. Wishing you the very best completing your story.

      • Sue Slaght says:

        Lynn I think that we know when the time is right and clearly you knew now was right for you to share this.
        It doesn’t surprise me that many are reading and yet being vulnerable to put oneself out there is hard. I have no doubt many have heard you and are heartened.
        See you soon! Xo

  4. Heyjude says:

    As you say many of us have been affected by this disease. And it is very difficult to talk about or explain to anyone who has not experienced life with or as an alcoholic. Shame, fear, love, hate. Lack of support. Lack of friends. Lack of understanding the disease itself. Thanks for sharing this Lynn.

    • Lynn says:

      Jude, each & every point you bring up is dead on. Thank you for contributing your thoughts & in doing so, enhancing the post. I truly appreciate it!🙂

  5. Beautiful statements to make, Lynn. I am sure that alcoholism, like cancer, touches almost every life in some form, so it makes the stigma shame incredibly puzzling. If more people spoke out regularly about it than maybe, like cancer awareness, we’d be further ahead in dealing with it perhaps as alcoholics or those of us who navigate the pain of knowing one in whatever realm of our lives.

    • Lynn says:

      Robyn, addiction is something I truly think we need to talk more about. Alcoholism is indeed an illness that touches so many of us & yet we are reluctant to discuss it. Thank you so much for your support & for your words of encouragement. Very much appreciated!

  6. Ann Coleman says:

    Thank you for a great post on a difficult subject. Few people are willing to admit they have a problem with alcohol, and few are willing to admit that they have friends and family who are alcoholics, which is a tragedy. Because, as you pointed out, there is help out there, and no one needs to deal with it alone.

  7. LB says:

    Lynn, I was just talking about this with two friends yesterday.
    Thank you for writing it, even if it took two years. I’n hopeful that someone really heard you today.

  8. I understand the difficulty you had writing this post. I’ve been trying to figure out what to say as alcohol has had a profound impact on my life. Not as an alcoholic but as someone who grew up with alcoholic parents. My father was sober for my first 9 years as he was told to stop drinking or lose his government job. I lived with this from the time I was 9 and until I left home. Not knowing when the next binge would begin.

    This resulted in me being hospitalized at 15 for severe depression and living with it for the rest of my life. It took me, like an alcoholic, needing to reach bottom, before finally asking for help beyond what a few antidepressants, which were taken for a short period of time, did for me. I’m a guy. I can get through this.

    After 50 years of fighting it, I finally got professional help. Like an alcoholic, I also had to admit to someone else that I had a problem. It wasn’t easy. My father finally dried out by his own volition in August of 1978 by going through a government detox program. He died in March/79 completely sober. Conversely, I have a brother who stopped drinking in 1967 and hasn’t touched a drop since. It’s unfortunate that my father had to wait until he was 65 to finally beat his habit and I was nearly 65 to learn to acknowledge and control mine.

    Your points about seeking help early are right on the money. Thanks for writing it.

    • Lynn says:

      Nelson, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your willingness to openly share your experience.

      This is a disease that impacts so many lives, reaching beyond the abuser & wreaking havoc for those of us left on the sidelines.

      I am so grateful that at some point in your life, you recognised the need to seek help & support for yourself. I hope that in doing so, you have found some sense of peace.

      Thank you for sharing your story here Nelson. Truly!

  9. Cheryl Marsh says:

    Feeling a little nostalgia so reading over some of your notes .. thinking of you often and hoping life is improving for you with your mom.

    Think 5 deaths this week in my life and today hearing of Jim’s mom in hospital again (from a fall but ok) have me on a sentimental journey.

    Thanks SO much for your inspirations & encouragement .. and listening!!

    cheers, God Bless

    love, c xo

    Cheryl Marsh


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