Friday, February 28, 2014

Day 354 The difficulty of explaining addiction

Sunday night I made dinner for a stranger. Alison is a publisher and academic from the UK who was in town for a day-long workshop on self-publishing and I was speaking on editing at the workshop. She'd wanted to hook up with other presenters for a meal so I invited her over. She turned out to be a lovely woman and we spent a nice evening getting to know each other.

When I invited her over, I warned her about two things: I had cats, in case she was allergic, and I didn't drink. I didn't want her to show up with a bottle of wine as the hostess gift and have the awkward conversation then. Because I had introduced the topic, we got to talking about my experience with alcohola and my memoir. And I realized once again, how hard it is for people who don't have this disease to understand our need for continual treatment.

It's not easy to explain the obsession of the mind. I think people can grasp the allergy of the body to alcohol. But once that allergy is subdued, how can there be a need for more treatment? I tried to explain the kind of restlessness, irritability, and discontent that comes over us, but while she understood the words, they were, I'm sure, through her own filter. And our restlessness, irritability, and discontent, are not the same. I ended up saying that going to meetings grounds me, centers me, gives me a certain peace of mind. And I let it go at that.

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