First, a brief beer memory…
One beautiful day, many years before I got sober, I was attending a yard party in Connecticut with some close friends. After drawing a beer from that chilled keg, I turned to re-engage with the crowd.
To my astonishment, I found a toddler directly behind me. The little guy must have been watching the master draw his beer.
Well, I was in motion, and I guess a little buzzed. Yes, I was both of these things.
So the show begins… a slow-motion show from my perspective, as I performed the perfect vertical hurdle over the lil critter, missing the landing due to several factors, as suggested above. One foot came down on some angle, while the other remained airborne for a long time. Down I went, hitting hard, scraping one arm and entering some kind of a half-roll.
My eyes were locked on my beer. My beer arm remained above my torso, and I spilled not one drop.
People came to help me up. My first action was to hand off the beer, requesting, “Be careful with that.”
Then, a light came on…
Besides the humor I felt during my early recovery when I relived that moment in history, there was a new reality. After the toddler, I protected the beer. During the last third of my using, after my son, I protected the “beer”. As my life came crashing down around me, after my son, I protected the “beer”.
Talk about an awakening.
This new information became even more relevant when I became a counselor, and continues to be crucial in my substance abuse case management and in my drug and alcohol coaching. I understand the mindset of the alcoholic or the addict regarding the absolute need to protect the ability to use drugs and/or alcohol.
The alcoholic or drug addict, by definition, will continue to use without consideration of consequence. This is unconditional, and will continue until the alcoholic or drug addict is out of survival options and seeks a change, or dead.
My focus encompasses the objective of raising the addict’s bottom through a series of conversations ranging from past attitude and behaviors, to possible changes and goals for a better life ahead. The first requirement for being helpful is understanding.
There must be a reason to stop protecting the beer today.