Before I quit drinking I thought I had a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde inhabiting my body. (I wasn’t alone). The “bad,” Mr. Hyde, was the result of my drinking and the real me, was the “good,” Dr. Jekyll. This way of thinking was my perfect excuse. “Oh! But I was drunk! I wasn’t myself!” How wrong was I? Very wrong. I was both. Mr. Hyde is and was part of my nature just as Dr. Jekyll.
Once I quit drinking I realized that alcohol only made my ugly nature prevail, the monster, over my not so ugly one. It wasn’t easy to admit that I was so flawed. I had to learn to tame the monster, work with my not so lovely side, accept it, take responsibility, learn to control it and stop deceiving my self.
Yep, we alcoholics are masters of deception. We not only hide behind the excuse that it was the alcohol which turned us into monsters, we blame life and others. We seem to have a sense of entitlement, not being able to see beyond our own pain. We destroy not only our lives, but worse, the lives of those we say we love.
To quit drinking and stay sober we have to look within, face our dark and ugly side and try to change those traits that hurt us and others. We can’t expect to be the same, act the same and live happily ever after. If we don’t change, we will either eventually go back to drinking or lead a “dry drunk,” existence. Meaning; a frustrating life of strain and struggle trying to fight the outside demons, which are only inside of us.
“This is who I am,” is no excuse either. I know my nature and I fight it, some times it wins over, but most of the time I manage to keep Mr. Hyde locked away. I’ve tamed my monster, but I need to keep it in check or it will unexpectedly come out and crush whatever good is in my life.
It’s been over twenty years since my last drink. Yet, I am an instant away from indulging in my self-destructive nature. Taming the monster one day at a time, or a minute at a time on some days. But life is better, much better and worth the fight!