|Axolotl - Can breed and live its entire life in its juvenile state|
For too long, I knew I was alcoholic and I believed it was a part of who I am, and it made me a bad person. So I would get drunk and terrible shameful things would happen and I would almost excuse myself because I was a bad alcoholic person, and it was normal.
But being alcoholic is different from being a bad person. Being alcoholic is being lost to myself and my family and the world. And in this state, bad things just happen to anyone.
I would wake up with intense anxiety about the night before and realize it was because I was drunk and, um because I was a bad person. So being alcoholic reinforced my bad person-ness and the two became closer and almost indistinguishable. So as I drifted further along the alcoholic spectrum, of course I became badder and badder - it was just was happened.
And the shame... And the hopelessness...
I remember being so strung out I would use "aimlessness" in every essay and report I submitted, whether it was for financial accounting or reformation history. The word aimlessness was somehow inserted in context and I would half smirk that I had insulted the whole process and got in my keyword.
Now I am sober, I am still a bad person at times. I recognize that and am accountable for it. It is part of the human condition. But badness is not one and the same as alcoholic.
"The question is not how to get cured, but how to live.” Joseph Conrad wrote. We all know the cure is abstinence and avoidance and acceptance. But the struggle is how to live without it in a world neon with alcohol and with drinking within arms reach everyday.
Think of the Mexican Walking Fish - the Axolotl. The larvae of this species fails to undergo metamorphosis, so the adults remain aquatic and gilled. Just like alcoholics, who also fail to undergo metamorphosis and remain in a drunken boy/man state of never quite seeing the quiet calm of adulthood and sobriety.
I am leaving the moist confines of alcoholism and shedding my gills to walk the land as a salamander, not an eternal sub-adult hiding at the bottom of the pond. And yes it's true, sometimes I am a bad person, but always I am an alcoholic.