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The Alcoholic Double Life

“More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he presents his stage character. This is the one he likes his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation, but knows in his heart he doesn’t deserve it. The inconsistency is made worse by the things he does on his sprees. Coming to his sense, he is revolted at certain episodes he vaguely remembers. These memories are a nightmare. He trembles to think someone might have observed him. As far as he can, he pushes these memories far inside himself. He hopes they will never see the light of day. He is under constant fear and tension.”-pg. 73 Into Action from the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

As alcoholics we are very good at living a double life. While we might be dying on the inside, and spiritually bankrupt it doesn’t matter as long as everyone around us thinks we are doing well, and have it together. This doesn’t always change after receiving alcohol addiction help especially in the beginning. It’s as if we have an alter ego. It stops us from letting people in. Its that part in us which drives us to gain acceptance and be the favorite and before we know it we are constantly striving for perfection and always coming up short. Weather its wanting to be the favorite student, partner, child, or friend it becomes our mission to show everyone how “okay” we are when we know we are dying on the inside. It plays out in many ways. We end up compartmentalizing our relationships and often times feel overwhelmed when we can’t keep it together and we start coming unglued. This pressure that we continuously put on ourselves to be a chameleon and do things perfectly is torturous. When we get into a 30 day rehab program, AA, or drug addiction detox we can begin to work on this issue and finally experience freedom from the bondage of self. We know longer have to be a slave to our ideas of what our life as well as personal relationships should look like. As it says in the big book “we will begin to know a new freedom and a new happiness, we will comprehend the word serenity, and we will know peace.”

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