“Hello! My name is Bennie and I’m an alcoholic.”
Shocked? You are not alone. Even some of our closest friends are just finding out and most of them are just as surprised. Other than my immediate family (including my brothers) folks are still questioning my decision to join Alcoholics Anonymous.
As soon as I decided to embrace sobriety I knew that I would eventually blog about it – the difficulty has been figuring out how and when to do it. After much thought and the fact that I happened to mention it in my monthly column at Hopeful Parents earlier this week it made sense just to put it right out there for the rest of the Blogosphere. For some a revelation like this might be too difficult or personal to discuss in public much less broadcasting it to a million potential cyber readers.
Long time “Ben Fans” know that we’ve never been ones to pull punches; our lives have been an open book from the very beginning of our exceptional journey which include some difficult not-so-pretty moments. Also every artist who is good at his or her craft is in a never ending search not for perfection but for Truth. Although “Truth” can be portrayed in one of my brightly colored seascapes or in my friend Conni Togel’s "whimsical" sheep paintings, it can just as well be disturbing or somber like Picasso’s Guernica or one of Van Gogh’s peasant paintings. As Oscar Wilde once wrote “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”
In case you are now wondering, no, I am not one of those alcoholics. I haven’t been found sleeping under bridges at night neither have I disappeared for several days only to sober up in some jail cell. But that isn’t the definition of an alcoholic – it’s just an extreme example. My addiction is more subtle, hidden for the most part within the walls of our home. Had I taken my disease elsewhere, to that gutter under the bridge or some crowded pub filled with folks like me, most likely I would’ve spared my family (mainly Joan & Jessie) at least some of the emotional damage a selfish sot as me can unknowingly dish out.
I am only at the beginning of this new detour from my original life journey. Interestingly I am neither afraid nor ashamed of where I find myself. In fact I am excited. There is freedom ahead of me and I am anxious to discover it despite the hard work I will be facing in the coming weeks and months. There is also baggage to shed that has anchored me from moving forward with my life. Instead I’ve been mired in my anger, resentments, anxieties, and fear all of which collectively have stolen my joy.
Over the next few days I’ll share more about how I became addicted to fermented grapes and how an unexpected trip to New Orleans of all places brought me to my true senses. It is definitely an interesting tale and perhaps sharing my story will get the attention of another alcoholic so that he or she will seek the help so desperately needed.