Life is just one big list of priorities that starts with our highest priority like faith or family and dwindles down through the ranks to things that are decreasingly important to us such as paying bills or washing the car until there is no time or energy left and our lowest priorities, thing like reading junk mail or trimming our ear hair, are all but ignored. At the end of my drinking, alcohol held a very elevated place on my list of priorities second only to my closest family members that depend on me for survival. Everything and everyone else had slowly and over many years relinquished its place on my list of priorities to one of the deepest loves of my life – alcohol.
This is not a fact that I reveal with pride. As I painstakingly extract myself from the powerful pull of alcohol and my brain function gradually returns to normal, it is with great shame that I realize just how important alcohol had become to me. The condition of dependency is very, very slowly progressive. Does anyone in their right mind hope that someday alcohol will become the second most important thing in their life? It is terribly embarrassing to acknowledge this despicable fact. How did this happen? How did I get so twisted? What kind of person lets a poison take hold in that way?
The far more important question is what would have happened had I not stopped? If alcohol had successfully replaced almost all things I hold dear, was it just a matter of time before my immediate family…the people who love me unconditionally and depend on me completely…played second fiddle to my beloved drink?
We all hear stories about parents sitting in bars and forgetting to pick-up their children from school or missing their kids’ big recitals or ball games. I am too good a parent to be so remiss. I carefully keep an accurate calendar full of commitments and responsibilities. I am on-time for every event and smirk condescendingly at parents who can’t seem to get it together and attend responsibly to the schedules of their kiddos. I could never let drinking keep me from my parental responsibilities. That could never happen to me. I don’t think it could. But then again, had I kept drinking, was it only a matter of time before I forgot something important? Was it only a matter of time before I chose one more drink over caring for one of my children? Have I never forgotten one of my kids or missed an important event because I am better than that, or have I just not been drinking long enough for the slow progression to progress that far?
Is this not something I could ever let happen to me, or is it something that has just not quite happened yet?