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With Rosy Glasses

It took him a long time to find contentment in sobriety

After 38 years in AA, I got to thinking at a meeting yesterday that I am still a long way from understanding how alcoholism has affected me. I have thought that perhaps the reason we spend so much time talking about our symptom of alcoholic drinking rather than our disease of alcoholism is that it is so hard to understand or even define alcoholism without talking about drinking. The best definition of an alcoholic I know is someone who can't guarantee his behavior after taking a drink. We define the disease by its symptom—excessive drinking.

A big part of it for me is that is that my fears, anxiety, self-centeredness, immaturity and warped attitudes twisted my perception of reality into something frightening and intolerable. I would try to get my mind off of a problem rather than face it, go off into fantasy, daydreams, sports or entertainment. I would sometimes be afraid to fall asleep on Sunday night because it would be Monday morning when I woke up and I'd have to go back to school. My mind told me that I was better than other people, without much evidence, and my gut told me I was worthless. I didn't understand myself, much less anyone else.

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