Why Ask Why?

12 Dec

I have a friend whose father, a brilliant man and artist, drank himself to death. I have another friend whose husband got lost in his addiction and also lost his life far too young. I have another friend who not only suffered the loss of someone very close when they committed suicide after battling alcoholism and depression, but also lost a friend in a car accident, and was clinically dead herself for a short time, when the car she was in was hit by a drunk driver. My great grandfather drowned in a boating accident when he was drunk. I hear countless stories in meetings, day after day, night after night, of women and men who have no relationships with their children, or aren’t allowed to see their own grandchildren, because of their alcoholism. Other stories of intelligent, educated, “normal” people who spent years living on the street or behind bars due to their drinking or other addictions. So many lives affected and forever changed because of someone else’s addiction and disease. Like storms with paths that left utter destruction. But yet here I sit, and somehow I can actually write that I wish I could have a drink right now. Mind-boggling. And it scares the crap out of me.

I know what can happen if I pick up a drink and go back down the horrendous path that I was on. There is a reason why people say “change I must or die I will”. There is no happy ending to alcoholism. Ever. I know all that and still salivate at the sight of, or often merely just the idea of, a big glass of red wine. It is insanity at its best. To think for a single second that I could miraculously now control my drinking. But this time of year there is alcohol all around and the little Drink Devil in my head is constantly being fed ammunition. Every holiday-cheer cocktail party fuels the fire. And I need to ask and be reminded why I can’t drink.

I liken it to the stage that most toddlers go through which is commonly referred to as the “Why” stage. Their little minds start expanding and curiosity takes over. The period may be brief, but for at least some length of time they ask “why” after just about everything you say. Time for bed. Why? You have to eat your vegetables. Why? Don’t poke your baby brother in the eye. Why? How about because If you don’t stop asking why I’m going to lose my mind. Why?

Call it the circle of life, or the oval of crap, or whatever you want to call it, but sometimes in my recovery and sobriety, I feel like I am reverting back to the maturity level of a toddler. I want to ask why to everything, starting with why can’t I have a drink. To which I get the answer, because you are an alcoholic. Ok, why? Because you have a disease. Why? Umm, could be partly genetic, partly mental, partly physical, circumstantial, connected to depression…..Why? It is what it is. Why? Because sometimes it is what it is and it just plain sucks.

And, sometimes when toddlers don’t get the answers they want when they ask “why?”, they throw a tantrum and stomp their feet. Along with my whys often comes anger. It doesn’t make sense to me and it isn’t fair that other people can drink and I can’t. Waaa—waaaa—waaaa. Some people simply do not understand alcoholism and have had no experience with it. They cannot fathom why someone just simply can’t stop drinking when they see all the problems it is causing in their life. Just stop drinking. If only it were that simple.

I hope to never leave a path of destruction behind me and I hate that people that I care about are still struggling because of one that was left for them. Does it suck? Yes. Do I want to be able to join the holiday fun and raise a glass with my friends? Yes. But it won’t be one glass. Why? Because I am an alcoholic. So the simple “just stop drinking” for me comes with a whole lot of effort. And sometimes I get tired and want to stomp my feet. But when I’m tired and make it to the end of the day, I can sigh and smile. Why? Because I made it through another day without picking up a drink. How? One day at a time.

“I never wake up in the morning and wonder why I am here. I wake up and wonder why I am not making here better.”
― Jeffrey Fry

“He who has a why can endure any how”—Nietzsche

6 Responses to “Why Ask Why?”

  1. Joan Vazakas December 12, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

    What you’re battling, my dear daughter, is so tough. And, you’ve got every right to be proud of your success. It will continue, I know. I know you. I love you. Mom

  2. Christy December 12, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

    For the first time in my sobriety, I am also suffering the whys? WHY, WHY, WHY?????? Because…I just can’t. Period, End of Discussion, Change the Subject, Because I just can’t. I am in your red wine boat on dry land with you my friend. This too shall pass! Turn it over in gratitude that for today….you won’t pick up!

  3. carrythemessage December 13, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

    I stopped the why’s a long time ago. I know guys who have tried in vain to get to the answer of why they’re an alcoholic. Genetics? Environment? Peer pressure? Mental health issues? They went in circles and never found relief in surrender. I think for them, trying to find that magic answer could perhaps give them some more understanding of perhaps finding a way out of it. Or to delay the process of just getting on with a happy sober life 🙂

    It’s tough, this why period. I found myself getting loopy, so I gave it up. Fact remains is that I am an alcoholic and nothing can turn that around. The pickle can no longer be a cucumber. Line was crossed and that’s it.

    You’re sober and that’s the important thing. Living sober is another thing, and learning to live life to the fullest armed with the fact that drinking is no longer a part of it may be tough, but we get past it!!

    Hope you have wonderful holiday 🙂


    • sobermom December 13, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

      Thank you Paul. Happy Holidays to you as well. I always appreciate your comments.

      Sent from my iPhone


  4. Anne Nuttall December 13, 2014 at 10:15 pm #

    Very nicely written Martha. You continue to amaze me. Thank you.

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