I am an alcoholic. I know this now. I know that for me there can be no more drinking of any kind. No social drinking, no limiting the amount of beer I drink to two or three. For as an alcoholic my problem is not how much alcohol I drink, but alcohol it self. Yes as simple as it sounds, my problem is my first drink. As long as I do not pick up that first drink, I am safe. I know this now. But I can never become too complacent and smug or careless – for to let down my guard is to relapse. To relapse is to drink and for me an alcoholic, to drink is to die!
I know this now. But what of my agonising years in denial? I can remember the horror and never-ending nightmare of that time all too clearly. I did not know I was addicted to alcohol. My wife, friends, parents, relatives did not know I was addicted to alcohol.
I did not know what was happening to me at that time. I knew something was wrong with me, but what? Was I going mad? Why did I keep doing these terrible things which were causing so much hurt to my loved ones? How many promises had I broken to myself and to them that “no more?” – the madness would stop? It had to stop! Yet it only stopped until the next time.
The road ahead of me at this time was the same as for the other ‘wet’ or ‘active’ alcoholics. My nature and very identity had changed and I was not utilising any of my talents. The guilt was almost overbearing. Thoughts of suicide would cross my mind once in a while. I had already tried this ‘solution’ once in India where I had gone for studies and my long-suffering mother had had to fly out on being informed by telegram that I was in a coma and was unlikely to live. Yet live I had though I now sometimes wondered if I could manage life with this guilt anymore?
My self respect was shot and I hid out in the chang’aa (fiery local brew) dens and only emerged where my peers were when I was ‘high’ on this brew. I lost one job after another until word went round and nobody was willing to give me a chance anymore. Not that it bothered me by this time. Work was a waste of time. There were other easier ways to get money like conning, selling household items from my parents or my house, or borrowing money(and never paying back) and the occasional theft.
I had constant problems with the police, sometimes after drinking in one of the big hotels in the city and getting caught while trying to sneak away without paying. But these were the only places you could get a drink without paying upfront if you were confident enough. Depression set in accompanied by constant anxiety.
My kids were probably ashamed of me and many of my friends begun to avoid me due to my erratic behaviour but through all this, I continued drinking. My wife was on the verge of despair and had threatened to leave on several occasions though each time I managed to talk her out of it. And still I drank
I was hospitalised several times but since it was always with pneumonia, or other respiratory related ailments, neither me nor my family ever connected it to the alcohol, and still I drank. I had accidents, fights and even car accidents where some of my inebriated friends were the ones driving and still I drank. I Had a major motorcycle accident (in India) which should have been fatal but merely cost me a few teeth and a fractured kneecap. But with a plaster cast on my right foot and a face so swollen it looked more like a balloon, I still managed, through a straw – to drink!
Had I gone on? The route would have been the same as trodden by countless millions of broken human beings before me. My liver, heart and nervous system would have suffered and I would have been hospitalised with more serious alcohol related ailments. I would have committed suicide or one of the accidents would finally have killed me.
Alternatively I would finally have died of acute alcohol poisoning, infection, liver cirrhosis, heart or respiratory failure. Then the cause of death on my death-certificate would mislead the world by claiming I had died in a car accident, or fire (fell asleep with a lighted cigarette), suicide, heart or liver failure. Probably no one, not even the doctor would ever give a correct diagnosis i.e. alcohol addiction.
But having finally accepted that I was an alcoholic my family and I suddenly realised that we had no clue what to do next. Was there somewhere I could go? Was there a chance? Could I be cured? It was difficult. There were all kinds of suggestions and for almost two years I bounced from placed to place and always ending up drinking. I finally despaired. Was there really hope?
Finally I ended up in the one place which truly started me on my road to recovery. I was literally given a second chance. And it was when I was about to leave this center that the first glimmerings of the idea which was later to become goinghomedotcom were born.
I needed to put at the public’s disposal a source of information on what alcoholism was. In simple layman’s’ language without all the arguments about was it or was it not a disease, best methods of treatment ad infinitum. All I needed was for all the families out there to know one thing and one thing only. Alcoholism is a disease and there is HOPE.
For all those out there whether parents, or young people, wives or mothers husbands or friends — THERE IS HOPE!!! And it is as simple as that. It is not too late to get your loved one that help so that they can revert to being that loving and productive member of your family and society again. Just don’t give up!
I now hate the disease, not myself. If you are out there and have a loved one who is an alcoholic, do not hate them. Hate the disease. But do not feel helpless and despair. There is hope. The disease is manageable. Your loved one can proceed to live a full and productive life. Which other chronic disease gives you that chance?
I hope this website will help all of you who use it, whether you have a drinking (or other drug) problem or not. For if it can help only one person get their second chance in life as I did it will have been worth putting it up.
Thank you for having given me your time in reading this and may God bless you.