He uses his gifts to build up a bright outlook for his family and himself, and then pulls the structure down over his head by a senseless series of sprees. ~ Big Book, pg. 21.
In comparison to other families in our community, I remember thinking we were wealthy. We always had more than enough food to feed our large extended family, and would sell or give away food to anyone who wanted or needed it. We were never denied the basics. We had at least 3 cars, 2 trucks, lots of farm land, numerous buildings, and an army of farm machines at the ready. My dad always had deep pockets. He gave more than his fair 10% tithe to the church. If a farm neighbor was sick or disabled, he was the first to come in and help out. But, I also remember the alcoholic dad who begrudged us extras and deny us anything “new” (store bought) even at Christmas or birthdays. That apparently cut into his drinking money. I remember it was feast or famine. We wore hand-me-down clothes and shoes. At his death, the truth of his “success” showed up. As I had always thought, we were wealthy on paper. But, dad had left so much debt against the farm, that mom was left with nearly $100,00.00 in debt to pay.
I don’t tell you this to blame my dad. He had this disease. He was doing what he was taught to do: work hard and play hard. But, alcohol will take everything of value, and tell the alcoholic that that is okay, so long as they get their “fair share.” In my own case, I wonder how much further I could have gone in my career and life had I not spent every spare dime and all that time and energy getting drunk and recovering afterward. Alcoholics are some of the most clever and brilliant minds I have ever met. I bet the cure for cancer rests among us. But, alcohol keeps us from being our very best. It slowly kills us and our brain cells while keeping us in the fog of addiction. The only answer to alcoholism I have found is AA. That is a whole lot to be grateful for. Use the gift of recovery.