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How You Know You’re an Alcoholic

Robin Alexander

Posted on July 18, 2018 08:58

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You can’t have a fish as your higher power without first being an alcoholic — trust me.

Just before he reached 90 days of sobriety, my friend happened to see a commercial on TV about a hangover pill. You take it in the morning if you have a hangover, and you avoid one of the many consequences of drinking too much. This sent him into a tizzy over whether or not he was actually an alcoholic in the first place. After all, he had never had a hangover; therefore he must not really be an alcoholic. It sounded to me like a full-fledged case of denial. 

Just a few weeks before, he had weathered his first real urge. He was out doing an errand and suddenly said to himself, “I’m going to do it. I’m going to stop at the bar and have a scotch.” But he remembered he desperately needed to buy fish food. So he drove to Petco first, and by the time that errand was over, he no longer had an urge to drink.

Of course jokes passed between him and his sponsor about the goldfish being his higher power. Now here he was two weeks later claiming he wasn’t even an alcoholic. (You can’t have a fish as your higher power without first being an alcoholic. Trust me.)

Finally he said to me, “Maybe it’s just a drinking problem, or maybe I am an alcoholic. The bottom line is I can’t drink. If I have a beer, I’ll eventually have a scotch. If I have one scotch, I’ll have another and the whole thing will start again. Let’s face it, if someone told me I can’t have orange juice anymore I’d shrug my shoulders and say, ‘OK.’ So, who cares what I call it?” That was a reasonable conclusion, but there was more to learn.

The other night, one year later almost to the day, we met after an AA speaker’s meeting and he said, “Now I know I’m an alcoholic.” “How is that?” I asked. “The speaker tonight told a very interesting story. He said, ‘My buddy never thought he had a problem because he only drank at home. He didn’t have any DWIs, and since he didn’t drink and drive, he didn’t worry about hurting anybody, or himself. That is, until he was walking around his house with a glass of scotch, tripped, fell down the stairs, broke his neck and died.’”

I gasped at the tragic ending. “That’s it!” my friend said pointing at me. “What’s it?” I asked. “Your reaction,” he said. I was confused because it was just a normal response to a horrible story. “I don’t get it,” I said. “Well, when I heard the story tonight,” he explained, “the first thing that flashed through my mind was, ‘What happened to the glass of scotch he was holding when he fell?’

That’s why, now I know I’m an alcoholic.” Click.

Robin Alexander

Posted on July 18, 2018 08:58

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