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It Has Come Down To This !

It Has Come Down To This !
May 31
16:03 2019

By: Mike Rudon Jr.

This isn’t one of the columns I want to write. In fact, I am dreading the writing of it. But I have to. I just have to, maybe for the preservation of my own sanity.

This weekend, two persons I love dearly called me a failure. Because despite all my talk about staying sober and being strong and positive, I fell. And when I fall, I fall spectacularly. I don’t mean sitting in a corner sipping drinks and looking all cute and stuff. I mean the type of fall that makes you hide in a corner out of shame. The kind of fall that destroys all positivity in your life, and makes you believe, without a doubt, that you are a failure and that you will never be okay. That type of fall.

Let me remind my seven faithful readers of my particular brand of alcoholism. I can go for a time without drinks. I can go to places where people are drinking and feel no urge to partake. I am focused on work, because my type of work demands functioning on all cylinders, so I don’t drink during the work week. I don’t even particularly crave alcohol, not as much as I used to. But for me, it comes down to the simplest thing – my ability to cope with stress, and one decision – that’s all. Just one.

Like this weekend, for example. What if I didn’t decide to take a drink – just one, after work? What if I had just gone home instead? What if I had ignored calls to hang out, and just focused on what I had planned for the weekend instead – all those good, constructive things? Because in the end that’s all it took – one drink after work which became a weekend of drinking, an unholy blur of shame and humiliation and guilt and sadness.

I saw the change in me. I saw progress. I was seeing the light. I was excited by opportunities coming my way. Things were falling into place. I went into the weekend happy, in love. All that good stuff. And I came out of the weekend alone and broken. Just as easy as that.

See, alcohol is something that destroys without pity – friendships, relationships, families, opportunities. I know that people don’t really understand it. I don’t even understand it. I can’t describe how it feels to be in an alcoholic fog. What I can say is that when I am under the influence, everything else good and important fades away. I understand that people look at us sometimes and it seems like we are having a grand old time. They can’t understand that we’re trapped in a prison of our own making.

So it is easy for somebody to look at me and call me a failure. And not realize how much it hurts. Because there are two persons constantly at war inside me – the person who is struggling to be better, and the person who feels like a total, abject failure and wants nothing more than to give up. Because it is easier to give up than to fight. It is easier to not care about anything. It is easy to stay lost in an alcohol-induced stupor where nothing really matters. Trust me, it is easier than the alternative, where no matter how you try there will always be people who believe that you will never change.

But I will struggle through my shame, and struggle through my loss, and I will refuse to accept that I am a failure. I cannot and will not force anybody to accept what I am. This is my cross to bear. But I will say to all who will listen that words hurt. If you are in a relationship with somebody who is an alcoholic, or if you know somebody who is struggling, try to understand that it is not easy. I know that sober I am a loving, caring, productive individual. Just as I know that under the influence, I become a demented, nagging, obnoxious, insecure shell of the man I can be. I will never run from that. Alcohol turns me into a monster. And I’m pretty sure I am not alone in that.

In the end, we all have decisions to make. Whether it be taking different routes which do not pass bars, or keeping away from people who will encourage you to drink. It may even mean keeping away from people you care about. Whatever you need to do, do it. It won’t be easy. It’s a change of lifestyle. But the bottom line is that you – I – need to do what needs to be done.

Because I lay awake yesterday realizing that this cannot continue. And if it does, there will come a point where I will lose every single thing in my life, perhaps even my life. I keep saying that God must have some purpose for me, because He has kept me safe. But when does His grace run out? I don’t want to find out the hard way, or the final way.

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