I Connected Some Really Obvious Dots

A realization that I had… yesterday? I think it was yesterday. People in a meeting were talking about how they became alcoholics, and at least a couple of people referenced that they didn’t know exactly when in the process they actually transitioned from relatively normal drinking to full-blown alcoholism. I remember saying fairly similar things when I got up to do “patient hour” in treatment where I described my own slide into alcoholism. “Drank pretty normally in college, didn’t drink a whole lot at all after college, my first real drink (outside of Communion wine, which was always Christian Brothers Ruby Port, I remember – could be telling I remember that little detail to begin with) was probably a glass of wine to accompany a nice, kind of  formal sit-down dinner with the family when I was seventeen or eighteen.” Wait, what? Connect that with stories of former addict counselors at treatment telling stories of how they first knew that their kid was an addict… and, wow. The memory of that glass of wine with dinner comes back to me. I remember running back up to my room almost before dinner was even over and pulling out my little hardbound notebook-diary and needing to scribble and gush about the marvelous rush of alcohol, the buzz, and was I really drunk? Is this what being drunk feels like? And then holy fuck, it hits me. I come to the open-mouthed realization that I was an alcoholic from that very first drink. They say that the addiction center in your brain is right next to the pleasure center. My pleasure center had just fucking exploded. I was in love. With that rushing pleasure. Every time, any time I drank after that, I was chasing after that pleasure. I wasn’t trying to relax, enjoy myself, socialize, etc. Well, I was doing that, too, I think, but I was after something else on top of or underneath that. Every. Single. Time. I may not have become crippled and withered and wasted right then and there, but goddammit, it was only a matter of time.

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