I want you to see the 'real' me -- a man who has been running his entire life, a man who has travelled so far, only to come back to himself. My name is Jean-Paul, and I am a survivor of sexual violence, but I am so much more than that. I am a husband. I am a father. I am a writer. I am an elite athlete. I am an advocate for survivors all around the world.
I'm one of those alcoholics who became an alcoholic from my first drink. My life truly went downhill from there. I made bad decisions, made myself a bad reputation and drank more to ease my depression. Having alienated myself from people to stop them from witnessing this mess I was, I started to drink alone. I would binge for days at a time. Enough drinks in me would get me into the beds of complete strangers. It would not be considered consensual in a legal sense with my state of intoxication, thinking back to it now. The guilt and shame overwhelmed me. I had to keep myself intoxicated to keep my depression and anxiety at bay.
Within the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous, the word "recovered" comes up at lot, and come to think of it, why wouldn't it? Many an addict latches on to that idea as a desperate lifeline of hope. I, on the other hand, have grown to embrace the fact that until the day I die, I will be a recovering alcoholic. I long ago decided to make peace with this disease, but that in no way makes me immune to feeling frustrated and angry by the circumstances surrounding my relationship with the addiction.
I don't want to tell you the story of my drunkenness. You've heard it before, or seen it before, or a version of it. It is not unique. I don't have a tale to weave for you of bizarre miracles and angels and heavenly choirs. I want to tell you of simple amazement. I fell, upwards. I fell into a life, once I stopped shaking and twitching and seeing things and vomiting. This has not just been a sobriety lesson, but a life one. At school, with loved ones, even (perhaps especially and most simply) on my writing journey -- honesty, being open and willing to accept some guidance goes a long way.
For the series It's About The Words & Conversations, BJ Thomas talks about that special night he heard Jackie Wilson sing "To Be Loved" and how thankful he is to have been exposed to those lyrics. They have stayed with and supported BJ through the pleasures of launching a career, falling in love, starting a family and battling addiction.
Dad's recent bout with sobriety was four or five years ago, and lasted over a year. During that time, he was very good to his family. Dad's wellness certainly did not last long though, and within just over a year, he had determined he 'didn't need help anymore' and was back inside the cycle of pills and alcohol. At this point in my life, my father is still an alcoholic and an addict, and he has survived tremendous odds. He is a good man. Addiction is nasty company.
I claw at the head of the stinky, stained mattress, hanging on to life and wishing for death. The room is dark and claustrophobic. But not dark enough. My eyes refuse to stay closed. They burn and sting. My jaw aches continuously from anxious teeth-grinding. Normally, this far along in withdrawal, I'm through feeling hyper-anxious and hyper-vigilant. This time is different and frightening. I cannot sleep. If I do, I'll suffocate.
This is an excerpt from Anne Dowsett Johnston new book Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol. Thanks to the creative, targeted marketing of the alcohol industry, alcohol has a prominent, stylish presence in the lives of women today. However with this newfound popularity over the last decade comes the disturbing rise of binge drinking, DUIs, "drunkorexia" and alcoholism.
Red or white? It's the first thing you're asked when you walk into a party. Booze is everywhere, and women are now a big part of the drinking culture. Is that a problem? Well, yeah, says writer Ann Dowsett Johnston who wrote about her own struggles with the bottle within the pages of her new book, Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol.
The public needs to be engaged in order to resolve the humungous problems facing the city, such as crappy public transit, insane traffic congestion, aging and inadequate infrastructure, and so on. Just as an alcoholic derails a family so that no member can function adequately even at work, so has Mayor Ford derailed us.F