The Most Important Person

January 14, 2019
Captain Michael Morse, retired, Providence Fire DepartmentA big part of avoiding sobriety is the fear that we will disappoint everybody who has come to know us as a drinker. We worry that we will let people down, and their opinion of us will not be as glorious as we believe it to be. To continue drinking at the pace we have grown accustomed to, we convince ourselves that our behavior is vital to the survival of the group we have convinced ourselves we belong to.

Seems like we need a lot of convincing!

One of the major things that keeps us drinking is the desire for acceptance. Our belief that we are accepted in the sororities and fraternities of people who drink too much is enough to keep us going. We truly believe that other people actually spend time thinking about us. The truth is, they do not. As soon as we leave their sight, they are on to the next thing that captures their attention. Our presence in their lives lasts only as long as we are present. Once we leave, we are gone from their consciousness.

Understanding this helps when the thought of tackling your addiction presents itself. The only person thinking about you all of the time is you. Even those closest to you have more pressing concerns—namely, themselves. Nobody is going to suffer when you decide to get help, and nobody is going to notice that you’ve dropped out of the party. Just as drinking to excess is a selfish deed, so too is not drinking at all. And there is nothing wrong with selfishness. Taking care of ourselves is the number one priority for all of us. If we are not well, our presence in the lives of others can never be healthy.

As our drinking progresses, the important people in our lives begin to fade away. We replace them with more drink, and for many of us, relatively anonymous people. These people are interchangeable; the only important aspect of our relationship with them is our common love of the effects of alcohol. As time goes on and the disease takes more of our soul, we realize that these people are not that important, but alcohol is.

This revelation was the turning point for me. I had two choices: strengthen my relationship with alcohol, or end it. I spent considerable time on this decision. The fact that I was heavily intoxicated while considering my future likely had a lot to do with the length of time it took for me to decide to seek help! In the end, I made the right choice. It took a while, but once I realized that talking to myself about addiction was akin to having a meeting with an idiot, I was able to think clearly and admit that I needed some outside advice.

There is no shame in deciding to get help. There is a lot of shame in hiding inside a bottle. Nobody can tell you to get on with things; that decision ultimately has to come from within. Nobody cares as much about you as you, and nobody knows more about the extent of your addiction, and more importantly, the strength of your resolve, than you.

So quit talking to yourself and get some help. The most important person in the world is tired of waiting.

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