Magazine

November 2012: Odd Ducks

An alcoholic with Asperger's is grateful that we're all in this together

After six months in AA, I noticed that my emotions had evened out for the most part, but many other things were still difficult for me. Tasks that most people find easy overwhelmed me. I often needed long periods of inactivity, such as staring into space or walking aimlessly though my apartment, in order to function the rest of my day. There was also no sign of me becoming more social than I had been before, at least outside of the AA rooms. I had thought that AA would magically be the answer to all of these outside problems. I even hoped that the program would make me a good school teacher. I had already failed in two separate opportunities, but it had been my dream from an early age.

Years before I came to AA, Mom had suggested that I get a psychological reevaluation. I had always refused for two reasons. First, I knew I was normal and that it was everybody else who was the problem. Second, I think that underneath it all, I was scared I would be found to be insane. Because of the support of AA, and the honesty it encourages and demands, last year I became willing to see a new psychiatrist for a second opinion. Not only was I willing, I also was as honest and forthcoming as I could be with him. After two sessions, he diagnosed me with Asperger’s syndrome, which is a milder form of autism. It explains perfectly why I have such trouble with social situations and reading body language; why I have a hard time multi-tasking; and why the noise and organized confusion of a typical classroom makes it difficult for me to function, much less be at my best.

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