I don't have a drinking problem, except when I can't find a drink. —Tom Waits
I drink with impunity ... or anyone else who invites me. —W.C. Fields
Reformed hard-core addicts and drunks often tell stories about their multiple descents into an earthbound hell. These tales reek of depression and depravity. Touches of humor, like a morning bracer, take the edge off.
But most of us who have indulged in spirits or other drugs are oblivious about the profound affect they have on us because our lives seem so normal - filled with fear, joy, anxiety, doubt, illness, triumph, anger, love, cupidity, wonder, greed and all the other nouns of sentience. And if we don't want to see the problem, friends and acquaintances surely don't either, even if it's causing them grief.
No one looking in at my life from the outside during my drinking days would have told you that it was being defined, on all sides, by substance abuse. Even if they thought it was, they would not have said so. It would have been too awkward in several ways. Besides, those who saw me most often and thought they knew me best also shared my disease. But alcohol and drugs have been at the epicenter of my existence for as long as I can remember - and before.