Alcohol had the power to change my whole reality. I would go from a devastating, empty, vacant, and desolate life, to a sense of connection that is beyond anything I could have ever imagined. It’s no wonder in the early days when the hook of alcoholism is set, that feeling of being connected becomes the most important thing in our lives. See it feels so go to me, I’ll do anything to duplicate that effect. As crazy at it sounds, at the time, alcohol was the only real substantial treatment for this malady of my spirit I have within me. Back then, it was the only time in my life when I felt like you looked to me, so happy and alive. Dr. Silkworth says to us, “The alcoholic life seems the only normal one” and I got to the point when I felt normal is when I was drunk. I see these classic representations of alcoholics stumbling, falling down, living on the streets, but to me, alcohol is what makes me feel normal, simple as that.
There’s an old story they mention in the Big Book when Bill Wilson refers to the alcoholic as a real Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. If you’ve ever read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the original version by Robert Louis Stevenson, it is unlike the Hollywood version where Dr. Jekyll was a kind and altruistic scientist. In the book, he was a self-obsessed judgmental guy who didn’t fit in very well and could not get along with anybody. He was a recluse and a loner who stayed in his laboratory; he couldn’t even really connect with the woman who was he was engaged to be married to. Dr. Jekyll had an absolute inability to connect with other people. Then he finds this elixir. So he creates this thing and he drinks it, and for the first time in his life, he can come out and play.
But he does some horrible, tragic, and brutal things while Mr. Hyde, as some of us did when we were drunk. Then there’s a point in the story where after all the damage he’s done and all the shame he’s brought onto his family, he says something that I thought was amazing, even in the face of all of that. He said, “I still liked myself better as Mr. Hyde than I ever liked myself as Dr. Jekyll.” That was my reality. In the face of the trips to jail, in the face of what I’ve done to my mother and father, in the face of what I did to my sister, in the face of what jobs I’ve ruined and the relationships I broke; in the face of all the shame and remorse and guilt I’ve experienced through my drinking, I still liked myself better when I was drunk, than I ever liked myself when I was sober. That was my big secret.
The allergy to alcohol
Basically the definition of an allergy means an abnormal reaction to something. The way drinking alcohol lit me up inside was something that it does not do to others. Bob points out how alcohol helped him feel normal. That is so relatable to the alcoholic. While everyone else is saying that it is destroying everything, it brings a sense of peace a sense of normalness. Thankfully, the recovery process helps us see things like this and provides an alternative. It provides the option for a wonderful and peaceful life in sobriety. First though, it is essential to see what alcoholism is, and how it affects the sufferer.