I called my blog “A Beast Within” , not for some dramatic, over the top, “shock-factor value” reason; but because I really do feel like there is this thing inside of me which I do not understand. I do not believe I am some crazy split-personality, but I view it as a separate entity because it acts against all logic, reason, and beliefs that I would normally hold. The Beast has but one goal, and that is to ingest chemicals (Alcohol) in order to alter my mood. Oh sure – The Beast could be sensible, caring, loving, funny, fun, and a host of other apparently good qualities, but always as a means to achieve the above goal. In my drinking days, I had occasional moments of clarity that The Beast was in charge, and that it shouldn’t be, but I was powerless to control it. Most of my reason for writing this post today is that The Beast has been speaking to me recently, telling me that it is ok, he is not so bad, and that I should just let him out for a bit. I am not at all saying that I am in danger of drinking, but I need to write this out, I feel that ignoring the voice and just writing it off as “I’m good, don’t want to drink” would be foolish indeed.
As good as I feel I am doing with sobriety, the persistence of The Beast amazes me. My beast will try to slip through the smallest crack. A discussion of some differing philosophies at a recovery meeting results in: “Aha, these guys don’t have it all figured out. You don’t belong here. You can control yourself, this is all a big over-reaction.” A fellow recovery blogger recently wrote a post detailing some angst with the popular song “Young, Wild & Free”. While this song has also bothered me recently and I completely agree with her opinion that this isn’t the greatest thing for kids to hear, I believe that this song agitates me for a different reason as well. It reminds me that I am different, and that is still hard to swallow. The fact of the matter is that most people can do a bit of “Young, Wild & Free” living, and not have it become a lifestyle, not have it consume their mind and everyday living, not have to dedicate a significant amount of time and energy to make it stop. It is against all logic and reason, because I know what Alcohol has done to my ability to cope with life and emotions, that my beast will tell me: “Yeah Lance, Snoop is right. You can handle it, just lighten up, be wild and free. It will be ok, just stay in control, you cannot have a good time without me and you are missing out on so much fun.” None of this is true, there is not a single good reason to go back to how I felt before. The only reason is that The Beast simply wants to drink.
I feel like I am rambling a bit here, but I will try to close with a point. Something for me to look back on in the future, as well as my friends and family who might read this someday. I have mentioned before that I am going through a 12 step program, I cannot say that I have fully embraced all of the principles or beliefs, or that I ever will. However the 2 paragraphs above prove (to me) some things that I have come to believe, which initially seemed strange or impossible to me, and are also the ideas that not many friends who I discuss this with seem to be able to grasp:
- I have diagnosed myself as an alcoholic and accepted the label. Not just because of what I did, or didn’t do, or when, where, how, with, etc. But mostly because of how I think, which is discussed above.
- I no longer believe The Beast will ever leave me completely. Therefore I now subscribe to the belief that I have a disease and allergy, and that I will never be cured. At one time this seemed impossibly difficult to accept, but it is really no different than someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes or cancer, and chooses to live their life in a way that makes that manageable – loads of people do this every day, and I can do it as well.
- Finally, although The Beast will tell me differently, I fully 100% believe that I cannot go back. That even one small drink will open the door and The Beast will gleefully have me right back on the hamster wheel. I do not want to be back on the hamster wheel…