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Alcohol is a choice, not a disease.

I started drinking in Denver, Colorado back in the fifties when the drinking age for 3.2 beer was eighteen and there were quite a few 3.2 Bars in Denver. I loved the bar atmosphere where one could let go of their inhibitions and watch others do the same. My particular interest at that time were the fair sex. I continued drinking my way through college and the Marine Corps and eventually ended up in the gaming business in Las Vegas, NV. I tended bar and then dealt “21” and eventually was a pit boss in the “21pit” at the Marina Hotel and Casino. I enjoyed drinking and was not mistreated as a child nor did I have some hidden secrets which by drinking allowed me to cope with life. I liked it and the people who I encountered in the bars.

To make a very long story shorter, I drank heavily for forty years and towards the end of my drinking career I went over the line…… that invisible line which many describe as alcoholism. I had always drank in the morning but I began drinking more in the morning and doing it every day instead of 3-4 day a week. I became looser with my money and did not plan for the future. By 1996 I had been married ten times and was working on old number eleven, who incidentally i am still married to today. In 1997 I decided to stop drinking and began attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. I wanted to stop drinking and found AA suited my needs. I found great support from the people in AA and did stop drinking.

After being stopped for two years I heard rumblings that Alcoholism was a disease and was told by other members that I probably had the disease. I balked at the disease concept especially when it was applied to me. In the first place, I had gone through the steps in AA and was somewhat proud that I had done them and admitted my wrongs. In one instance I had sent a card to the mother of a friend whom I had “86ed” out of the bar that I was running in 1996 in Vegas. After getting stopped drinking I had realized that I had messed up a good friendship by throwing him out of the bar when in reality it was a mutual misunderstanding. i shared the blame. His mother forwarded the card to him and we talked and both of us apologized for our actions and reinstated our friendship.

With the advent of the disease concept in AA I wondered if my friend maybe thought that my sincerity was flawed due to the fact that I had the disease of alcoholism and that my mistake was not a matter of choice but part of the disease of alcoholism. Maybe it let me off the hook in all of my mistakes since they were a matter of a disease and not because of a poor choice. I flat knew that my drinking and my actions were both a matter of choice and not of a disease. I could help what I was doing and I could stop doing it.

I never had a sponsor in AA and I truly believe that I could have gone to any help program and stopped drinking. I did not need the fear of a disease or powerlessness to help me stop drinking. I did not need the fear that AA exhibits when they suggest that you will probably have to go to meetings for the remainder of your life or face the consequences of drinking again. Cop out is all the disease factor puts forth. Especially those who are incarcerated for crimes which they did not do. Most of the persons in prison feel they are innocent anyway and then tell them they have a disease that made them drink and drug………Well, stopping and staying stopped is out of the question. We need to take the power of the individual and direct it towards stopping and staying stopped and not be using outside sources and fears to arrest the problem druggies and drinkers.

We all have choices in life and some of us make bad ones but they are for the most part correctible. We can change our choices in life and change the way that we live. It is not easy stopping and staying stopped drinking. Drinking was a pleasurable experience for me but my time ran out. I chose to stop.
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author: Dennis Larounis
published at: http://www.associatedcontent.com

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