Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

We think Differently

A friend who entered a Phoenix detox 23 years ago describes his talk with the intake counselor.

"He asked how much I thought the average person drank on Friday nights," he told me.

"A case of beer and maybe a fifth of whiskey," he told the counselor.

"Wrong," the counselor replied. "It's an ounce or less."

My friend told the counselor he didn't understand why anyone would drink only an ounce.

And the counselor told him he didn't understand because he was alcoholic.

It's difficult for those of us who are alcoholics or addicts to see others use anything in moderation.

I recall my dear departed grandmother drinking a glass of white wine at Christmas. But she didn't drink the whole glass.

"That's enough," she said, as she sat the glass down. "I'm starting to feel it."

And I sat there, wanting to cheer her on. To tell her to keep going. Even though I was a teenager, I knew the only reason to drink alcohol was to get smashed. Because I never drank for any reason other than to be out of my mind.

With almost 24 years sober I now understand the difference between an alcoholic and a normal drinker.

But at one time I thought that people who didn't drink like I did didn't know how to have a good time, that they didn't know how to party.

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