Who Did Your Addiction Hurt?
An unexpected email gave me a much-needed wake-up call.
My drinking habit never hurt anyone. At least, that’s what I told myself.
I was a heavy drinker for years and years. During that time, I swung back and forth between two opposite extremes: Some days, I’d tell myself that my drinking habit was fine, and other days, I’d blame every problem in my life on drinking.
No matter what, though, whenever I thought about my addiction, I only thought about how it affected me. I told myself that even if my drinking was interfering with the rest of my life, at least I wasn’t harming anyone else.
Even after getting sober, I stubbornly refused to admit that my alcoholism had hurt others. I thought I was “one of the good ones.” I never drove drunk. I wasn’t violent. I didn’t get wasted and go out trashing the city.
I had done most of my drinking alone in my apartment, and I foolishly let myself believe that this kept my habit from affecting anyone other than myself.
My wake-up call came during my second year sober when I received an unexpected email from an ex-girlfriend to whom I hadn’t spoken in years. It was one of the strangest emails I’ve ever received, and it fundamentally changed how I thought about my addiction.
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