It took a long time for many of us to admit that we were an addict or an alcoholic. Part of the reason for this was that we had a preconceived notion of what an alcoholic or an addict was. For example, we couldn’t be an alcoholic. They were those unkempt, unwashed bums down on the Bowery begging for some spare change. We had families and important jobs, so it was impossible for us to be an alcoholic. Others claimed it was impossible that they were an addict or alcoholic because no one in their family had ever indulged to excess. In fact their parents were teetotalers. There was the argument that it was an historical fact that no one from their particular ethnic group were drinkers or drug users. For food addicts they might have used the argument that since they weren’t obese it was impossible for them to be labeled an addict. Some women argued that only men were alcoholics or addicts.
In our program we learned that addiction and alcoholism was an equal opportunity destroyer. Man or woman, rich or poor, Catholic, Jew or Buddhist, we all shared one common problem. We were unable to stop using our substance of choice, and that our lives had become unmanageable. Once we admitted this we began the journey of recovery.
Personal Reflection: When did I let go of my denial?