Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Guest Post by Barbara Sinor, PhD

My forty-year-old son died last year of alcoholism related issues. His addiction story is not new or substantially different from the over 17 million other stories from the lives of those addicted to alcohol in America.

Addicted or not, we all have stories to tell. Many recovering alcoholics are asked to write their inventory story while going through rehabilitation programs. These stories are sometimes called “drunk-alogs.” They try to share only to fumble with words that scratch paper like chalk on a board from years past.

Sometimes words come easy, flowing a river of grit and filth covering the pages black. They see only words, words mixed with the flavor of a whiskey-sour or the last pin-drop of vodka settling in an empty bottle next to a slip of dust.

Words of truth swirl downward into a spiral dance with unrecognized poetry left for judgment. With no glimmer of hope to stay straight and sober, inventory stories read like buttons on a shirt, repetitious and dry.

Given a year or two of sobriety and these same words can declare emotions of hope, guilt, remorse, and pain; they become the true stories of an alcoholic’s life.

To begin writing an addiction story is like poking at the nerve of a hangnail — clipping it may begin a healing but you refrain because pain dictates your life. Each paragraph brings that pain to the surface to be held in awesome awareness as you realize you have lived the words on the pages.

It is often suggested to those early sobees that it is “…important to reflect and learn why you chose to use or drink.” Alas, such a shallow carrot to dangle! The newly sober have only empty words which spillover onto a blank page; but given six months or six years, these same words flow easily from mind to pen.

They reach deep for chards of memories to fill their stories full of pitiful choices and past sagas of desperation and depression. Words then become a tool to unfolding the corners of life revealing potent visions and rhythmic tales.

Addicted or not, we all have stories to tell. We tell how our skin crawls at the slightest scent of cigarette smoke or our aversions to kissing a drunk.

We tell where our choices took us or how our life was lived WITHOUT US. Whether stories from alcoholics or straight-chaired grannies, words keep us searching for truth and in the end, guide us toward that Something More.

Alcoholism is a wretched disease. It attacks all aspects of the soul; emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual. Many times, if there is a firm spiritual belief (not necessarily religious) in place, the alcoholic can move into sobriety knowing he/she is forgiven for missing life’s proverbial mark.

No, my son’s alcohol addiction story is no different than the other 17 million individuals who are still living their alcoholic lives in pain and struggle. But, my son’s addiction story may hit the nerve which cries out for America to wake-up to the fact that if our kids drink, their lives may be riddled with the dejected, depressed, and sad life of an alcoholic.

Barbara Sinor, Ph.D. is a semi-retired psychospiritual therapist residing in northern California. Sinor is the author of five books. Excerpts from this article are taken from Sinor’s most recent book, Tales of Addiction and Inspiration for Recovery, to be released this month coinciding with the 'National Alcohol Awareness Month.'

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