Reverse Engineering Your Humanity

The girls.

Despite your many defects, or just the one, the girls still wanted you home. You had evidence to support this. They didn’t mind nor were embarrassed you were a recovering alcoholic. They might have even thought it was cool. The night you drove Callie and her friends to In & Out, blasting Guns and Roses. Your girls respected your commitment to AA, and presumably to them. They knew you once were the shit in advertising; it still had currency, as both a point of pride as well as providing the means to pay for their horses, vacations and private schools. 

That said, you doubt they’d accurately processed your misadventures. One day they might understand. For now they were not even going there. Denial, forgiveness or something else their true feelings about your transgressions would likely never be fully revealed, and certainly not to you. Bottom line, they still loved you. And you would always love them.

Bill W. conceded that becoming entirely ready to remove our shortcomings may take time yet we should never say to ourselves, ‘This I will never give up!’ He underscored the word never. As in never shutting the door on possibility. For the path to right living lay just on the other side. There was a crack. You’d seen the light and were moving towards it, slowly. When Sarah went out for the night or on longer trips, you stayed home reading a book or watching a movie. When Sarah was home you spent time with her, talking about her day and yours, instead of retreating to your office. You forced yourself out of isolation, joining your family, for dinner or just conversation. Did you deserve a medal? Of course not. But doing the right thing did not come naturally. You must learn normal behaviors until they turned routine, acting as if they were natural until they became so. You had to reverse-engineer your humanity.

In the throws of your addiction, you couldn’t imagine stopping drugs and alcohol even though you knew they were killing you. The same for any addict, beneath the craving was a matrix of false assumptions. The first being that life wouldn’t be fun without booze and that you wouldn’t be either. But being an addict was no fun at all. You had also believed you would not be as creative straight, that your Libertarian right brain would go fallow without an endless supply of intoxicants, the same myth that wrecked a million artists, authors and musicians. In fact, you had to completely rewrite your first novel because you’d written it inebriated, its paragraphs rambling on like a drunken floozy at the bar. Had Ernest Hemmingway, Dorothy Parker and Charles Bukowski required spirits to write? If they hadn’t died ignominiously they might well have answered yes. But they were addicts and addicts have always justified their addictions. They had been blessed with talent before pouring alcohol on top of it. Not the other way around. Regardless, you were not Ernest Hemingway and would never be. Drinking like him only insured you would die like him, if not sooner. Countless other false beliefs permeated the drinker. It was a social lubricant, it helped you with the ladies, it gave you courage, and so on. Maybe for some people some of the time but for the chronic user those beliefs usually just lead to an ass kicking in the alley or whiskey dick in a motel room.

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