Grapevine Web Exclusive

Published May 2012.

A Beginner's Story

He learned he no longer needed to drink over his fears, doubts, anger, and confusion

I realized I had a problem with alcohol when I tried to stop—or even slow down—my drinking. To me, the problem was other people's attitudes about me when I drank. The only time I felt comfortable and happy was when I drank. It made me feel like I was a part of things, and not an outsider. Why were people mad at me when all I was trying to do was feel OK? It made me angry that they criticized me, that they were trying to take away the only thing I had to help me feel less alone and less unhappy about myself.

I continued to drink. As the anger and resentment grew and were aimed at others, and even at life itself, I became violent whenever I got drunk. I said hurtful things to people I loved for no reason other than I was angry and confused and they happened to be there. Bob Dylan wrote a song that says, "Tears of rage, tears of grief, why must I always be the thief?" That sums up exactly how I felt about my life

-- Elmo

Hollister, California

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