It has been over 27 years since I had my last drink of
alcohol. (I was thirty-one years old.) Because that was such a long time ago and since I am not an Addiction
Counselor I am not prone to go around preaching against the evils of
alcohol. But that doesn't mean I have
forgotten the harm it (alcoholism) has caused my family and relatives.
Every now and than an alcohol-related incident will occur that will remind me of the pure evil of alcoholism. Such an incident occurred last night, which in turn prompted this blog:
A woman gets into an argument with her 18 year old daughter and ordered her (daughter) out of the house. In spite of the fact her daughter had two young babies both less than two years old. Later that same day, as it was getting dark the mother/grand mother throws all her daughters clothes and other belongings out onto the lawn. The daughter implores her to think about her grand daughters but to no avail.
Now alcoholism may not be as prevalent on the reservation as it was back in my heyday. This may be because other drugs have taken it place. I know pills are a huge problem. They appear to be at least as bad as alcohol if not worse.
Anyway, if you noticed I characterized alcoholism as "pure evil". As a recovering alcoholic who drank alcoholically for 15 years I view alcoholism as a tangible evil force. This force is smarter, more cunning, more persistent, and more ruthless -- it never tires, it never takes a day off -- it is virtually unconquerable. Why? Because of the amount of pure lies intertwined into the life of an alcoholic.
Charles Eastman (Dakota 1858 - 1939 said this "A person who was capable of lying was believed to be capable of committing other cowardly crimes against the tribe and was put to death to prevent the evil from doing more harm."
When a person become addicted to alcohol, when they cross that imaginary line that defined them as an alcoholic as opposed to a social drinker he or she begins to live a life of a lie. Their first lie is that they are not alcoholic. Then they begin to lie about the problems it causes them; late or missing work, DUI's, bills not be paid, family members going without new clothes and other necessities, arguments with family, relatives and acquaintances... the list goes on and on.
The alcoholic will ignore all warning signs (lying to one's self) that their life is in trouble. Why? I don't know why, I don't think anyone does. That is the big mystery of addiction.
More times than I care to remember I have woken up feeling absolutely horrible. First, from the amount of alcohol I drank the night, days or even the weeks before. And than from the despicable acts I committed while under the influence. I would vow never to drink again. A few days later my feelings of self-loathing would magically disappear and I would start the whole cycle all over again.
As powerful as alcoholism is it does have its Achilles heel. It has no defense against (SELF) HONESTY.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has it right when the came up with this first step to sobriety: We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable - I call this is totally honesty. However, the amount of self-honesty a person needed to make this admission is enormous. Most people are not capable of this level of self-honesty, which is why the recovery rate of alcoholics are very low - around 30% I think.
I was one of the lucky few. The values my mom instilled me, one which was honesty, enabled me to admit that that alcohol had ruined my life. Even so, it still took three stints in the Veteran Hospital's treatment center before I quit drinking for good.
Getting back to my opening scenario, I realize there are two sides to every argument. However, regardless of the circumstances surrounding an argument a parent has to be pretty ruthless to kick a child and grand children out in the manner that I described. This example of alcoholic behavior is why I classify alcoholism as "pure evil".