Eric: What can addicts take away from the book?
Ans: In addition to the aforementioned, perhaps a better understanding that escape isn’t the answer. That recovery requires courage, a desire to rejoin the human race, and the willingness to make the effort. And, that the rewards of sobriety far outweigh those temporary highs that eventually turn on you and rob you of your family, your friends, and any values you may have had before entering the bleak world of addiction.
Eric: Do you remember when you finally started to get in control of the alcoholism and how did that differ from the other times you tried?
Ans: With the exception of one instance about three years prior to my putting it down for good, I wasn’t convinced I had a real problem, so I guess that struggle, that tug of war, didn’t apply to me. That instance was just a little test I gave myself. I decided to quit for a week, and it lasted all of three days. When I quit for good, it was a combination of the educational aspect of the disease and the lifting of the denial that I experienced in my short, but intense rehab stint. I guess I was finally willing to commit. I think my Higher Power was doing for me, what I could not do for myself.
Eric: In your opinion, what makes AA work to help people?
Ans: It is definitely the fellowship. The support of those who not only understand but who are truly rooting for you to succeed. For me personally; meetings, sponsorship, working the twelve steps on a daily basis, and reading my meditation books are the bricks and mortar that got me sober and continues to keep me sober today.
Eric: Looking back at your past in your book, what do you think is the most important thing alcohol took from you?
Ans: The gift of choice, which in my case was tied to my inability to face life on life’s terms. Every time that I was presented with an unpleasant situation that required making a decision, I took a drink, hoping and even expecting, that tomorrow everything would be different, no action required. And of course, it wasn’t any different, nothing ever changed. Alcohol was the loophole I used to escape taking responsibility for everything. I drank to escape all of life’s uncertainties and remained in a cell of my own inertia.
Eric: What’s the biggest difference between life with alcohol and life without it?
Ans: I can sum that up in two examples: When I was still drinking, I had this big black coffee mug that had my attitude about life inscribed in bold gold letters: It said, “Life’s a bitch and then you die.” I coupled that with the philosophy that this is the hand you were dealt, now deal with it. Today, if you would happen to be tail-gating me, take a look at the bumper sticker that reflects my life today. Happy, Joyous and Free.
Eric: What is your advice for someone who is struggling with addiction?
Ans: I would tell them to reach out. We only get to go through this thing called life once. Don’t short-change yourself. There are people you don’t even know yet waiting for you with open arms.