Monday, June 10, 2013

Alcoholism, the Fatal Disease ~My 2nd Example in a Year

Alcoholism, the Fatal Disease ~My 2nd Example in a Year

Last summer I wrote a sad tribute to a good friend who’d succumbed to the terrible disease of alcohol addiction, which is an insidious, progressive disease for which there is no cure, only remission.

This weekend I learned of the early death of a former significant other from alcoholism.  Like any person with an innate curiosity, a Saturday morning procrastinating to avoid beginning major preparation for the upcoming Gettysburg events, having expended my online shopping budget for the pay period, and finding nothing of interest in The Daily Mail, I decided to Google myself, my husband and people I used to know.  That is when I came upon the brief obituary of a former boyfriend that I know had at least four 4) unsuccessful stints in rehab and at least one stretch as a guest of law enforcement for failing a breathalyzer test.  But the addiction was stronger than any sense of shame, loss, health problems, family, or desire to be sober.

Because the obituary was starkly brief, listing only the dates of birth and death, I suspect the death was self-inflicted.  I was not surprised to learn of this person’s untimely death at the age of 50. 

This was an unhealthy relationship that I had before I found my own recovery in Al-Anon.  I tended to seek out troubled souls who I thought needed fixing and then try to fix them. Yikes! That was insane. Fortunately, I sought out Al-Anon for the second time. And this time I worked the program. I found a road map for healthy living, for finding my spirituality, for letting go of resentments, and for learning to care for myself. It saved me.

The experience, strength, and hope that I found in my Al-Anon groups in Frederick, Maryland helped me heal, rediscover my self-respect, and gather the strength and awareness I needed to divest myself of the unhealthy relationship. I had been afraid to break up with this individual for the fear that he would die and I would blame myself.  But I learned I don’t have the control of life or death of another human being with the disease of alcoholism. He had his higher power and I had mine. Taking care of myself meant I had to be free of the toxic relationship. So, I did what I had to do.  And ultimately, I found love, and joy and peace and serenity and contentment in a healthy relationship.

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