This is Big…for Me

May 25, 2024 | Uncategorized

May 25, 1997 was the last time I ever drank alcohol. And while many of you might be saying “what’s the big deal?” well for me it’s huge because there is no way on God’s green earth, I’d be here if it weren’t for this day 

Now, that doesn’t mean I’d be dead or locked up or anything. I don’t know that.  That could have happened of course. Who knows? But one thing for sure, I wouldn’t be sitting here in Milton, GA with my wife and kids..and dogs, writing this email. 

First off, Charlotte would never have married me. She obviously saw something good in me when she first accepted my request to date her. And she must have seen something good in me when she kept dating me for a couple years after.  But she also saw me at my worst when I’d get drunk and act a fool. I never did anything to her, mind you, it was the lack of discipline I showed when I was drinking.  Not showing up on time. Not doing things I said I’d do. Being an ass to other people, etc. 

Charlotte knew she deserved better than to go with a guy who hadn’t matured enough to take responsibility for his actions. And she was completely right. Again, mostly, I was upstanding but it was the times I’d drink heavily I wasn’t who she wanted to be with.  Can’t blame her in the least.  In fact, I think Charlotte would have dropped me if it weren’t for her mom. I think her mom realized I just needed a little bit more time to mature.  God Bless You, Mrs. Rooney!

So, once an alcoholic gives up alcohol that doesn’t mean he is sober.  There is the stage of being a “dry drunk.”   And while this stage is better than actually being drunk, it’s not far removed.  A dry drunk is still blaming others, focusing on the past, feeling slighted, being whiny, sometimes hostile, the whole thing. Basically a dry drunk is one who still doesn’t take full responsibility of his actions. You don’t want to be around a dry drunk any more than a real drunk. 

And this is where my mom came in.  She told me about this book, “Adult Children of Alcoholics” written by a lady named Janet Woititz. When I read it, I cried because the book was about me. I finally realized why I was the way I was and it all made sense. Slowly but surely I was able to move beyond the dry drunk stage into the person I am today. Not perfect, not even close, but imagine that, a human being not perfect.  Only One has ever been perfect in this realm and “don’t look now, it ain’t you or me.”

I realized the reason drinking was so powerful to me is it because it let me escape the person I was, one which I despised.  Drinking is like a costume you wear. You get to be someone you are not. And the more you drink the more you wear the costume…until the costume becomes you.  The problem with that though is that while that costume might have made you FEEL like another person, you still are the same old you and all the alcohol is doing is hiding that.  So, on occasion, the drunk same old you acts in ways you’d never act if you were sober and that’s where the problems start. 

To get over drinking you need to love yourself for who you are, warts and all. For me, and countless others who’ve gone down the same path, that means accepting the past for what it is and realizing you can’t change it but you can change TODAY.  That’s why in AA we say ONE DAY AT A TIME. I can’t change the past, I can’t change the future but today, just today, just RIGHT NOW, I know I won’t drink and that’s all I can do. 

On occasion, I’ve had people ask “you’ll never drink again?”  And I always say, “I don’t know but for right now, at this moment, I won’t.”   And that’s all I can control.  It’s very powerful knowing that you can only control what you are doing now.  If you’re doing something bad now you can and should stop doing it.

Anyway, so that’s why today is so important to me.  If you, or someone you know, is struggling with addiction, for me it is alcohol, I encourage you to get that book. It’s truly a life-changer. 



P.S. Let’s end with the Serenity Prayer. 

“O God and Heavenly Father, grant to us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed, courage to change that which can be changed, and wisdom to know the one from the other through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.”