By Dan Duncan
Most alcoholics experience difficulty in facing the fact they are addicted and that their addiction is destroying them. I am no exception. Throughout my late teens and twenties, I drank alcohol, predominantly beer. At the beginning, it was about fun and conviviality. Gradually, over a period of years the role alcohol played in my life, changed. Gradually, it went from fun and enhanced social interaction to despair and isolation.
It hapened so slowly that I found it difficult to acknowledge what was really happening in my life; that I was alcoholic and that alcoholism was ruining my life and robbing me of everything I valued. There came that moment of reckoning when I could no longer deny that I was in real trouble. In the wake of fun and conviviality had come loss. Loss of an important relationship in my life, loss of the motivation and ambition to sustain what had once been a promising career, loss of respect by others and ultimately, loss of self-respect.
When I could no longer hide from the fact that my drinking was the common denominator in all these losses, I sought help. By virtue of going through treatment and participating in self-help, my life gradually (there’s that word again) began to resemble how it had been when I was young; when happiness and peace of mind were normal for me. I’m grateful to say that’s how it’s been ever since.
On 9/11/06 I celebrated twenty-six years of sobriety. Today, I find it almost hard to remember and even difficult to believe that things were as they once were for me, but I never want to forget what happened. I believe the expression “those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it” is particularly true for alcoholics. I am so grateful that treatment was available when I needed it and I am grateful for the many folks that I learned from who preceded me in recovery.
Everything I have or enjoy in life today whether it be family, health, career or just good, old happiness, is ALL due to sobriety, of that there is no doubt. I am more grateful than I could ever adequately express. I have been involved with the Missouri Recovery Network since its beginning. I want to do what I can to destroy the stigma surrounding addiction disease and help others experience the joy of recovery.