Not a Bad Person

If we don't change our direction, we're likely to end up where we are headed.

Axolotl - Can breed and live its entire life in its juvenile state
I'm not a bad person, and I am an alcoholic. 

For too long, I knew I was alcoholic and I believed it was a part of who I am, and it made me a bad person.  So I would get drunk and terrible shameful things would happen and I would almost excuse myself because I was a bad alcoholic person, and it was normal.

But being alcoholic is different from being a bad person.  Being alcoholic is being lost to myself and my family and the world.  And in this state, bad things just happen to anyone.

I would wake up with intense anxiety about the night before and realize it was because I was drunk and, um because I was a bad person.  So being alcoholic reinforced my bad person-ness and the two became closer and almost indistinguishable.  So as I drifted further along the alcoholic spectrum, of course I became badder and badder - it was just was happened.

And the shame...  And the hopelessness...

I remember being so strung out I would use "aimlessness" in every essay and report I submitted, whether it was for financial accounting or reformation history.  The word aimlessness was somehow inserted in context and I would half smirk that I had insulted the whole process and got in my keyword.

Now I am sober, I am still a bad person at times.  I recognize that and am accountable for it.  It is part of the human condition.  But badness is not one and the same as alcoholic. 

"The question is not how to get cured, but how to live.”  Joseph Conrad wrote.  We all know the cure is abstinence and avoidance and acceptance.  But the struggle is how to live without it in a world neon with alcohol and with drinking within arms reach everyday.

Think of the Mexican Walking Fish - the Axolotl. The larvae of this species fails to undergo metamorphosis, so the adults remain aquatic and gilled.  Just like alcoholics, who also fail to undergo metamorphosis and remain in a drunken boy/man state of never quite seeing the quiet calm of adulthood and sobriety.

I am leaving the moist confines of alcoholism and shedding my gills to walk the land as a salamander, not an eternal sub-adult hiding at the bottom of the pond.  And yes it's true, sometimes I am a bad person, but always I am an alcoholic.


  1. Hope that you keep walking the walk of sobriety. Great post here. We are all bad people at times, but living in the steps helps me to be better.

  2. You know what, buddy? We've been soaked up in booze for so long and it's been telling us who we are, "You're the life of the party, aren't you the witty one!" "You're a worthless piece of shit. Why do you even bother to get up in them morning."

    We don't know who we are. About damn time we found out, huh?

  3. Absolutely correct. We are not bad people, we are sick people trying to get better.

  4. Replies
    1. By the way, that fish is so f'ing ugly that it's almost cute.

  5. Resonated with your words. I have conveniently forgotten how horrible I felt the next day. Slithering around ... seeing if I could put the night back together if I asked enough questions. So glad to be recovered from a hopeless, as you say "aimless" life. This post has given me an abundance of gratitude for my life today. Thank you

  6. Let yourself down over and over and you start to think that's the same as being bad or worthless. It's not the same. It's just letting yourself down. Once you stop letting yourself down you begin to realise that. You're not a bad person, just as you say, but rather an addict who used to let yourself down all the time. I hope you have a wonderful sober Christmas Bwendo. Sending love from over the ditch xxxx

  7. Ahh.. the bad times. Eventually, most alcoholics grow out of being "bad", but still think they are even though they aren't even doing anything bad. What. Sex? Parties? Strippers? Theft? If that's what you consider bad, your really missing out. I felt the same way, until I met a guy that really is bad. That changed me for good and now I drink moderately and everything is good, even after the weekend binge.

  8. Great blogging here! Keep your head up and trudge the road so more will be revealed! . Sober Companion

  9. Hey mate.. merry christmas .. hope you are well xxx

  10. Merry Christmas from me also! And Prospero Anus, or whatever it is we say down in Mexico!

  11. Thanks for stopping by my blog and for the kind words... indeed, we alcoholics do seem to all tell the same stories, don't we? The path of addiction is well-worn and trodden down.

    Take care, and keep posting. I'll drop by to see how things are going with you, and with the others who visit here, too.


  12. your honest post is so moving. after every evening with my mom's drink demon, i find trouble believing her when she says she's sorry. i sometimes feel she has no shame and thats why its a never ending routine. it kills me because i know that's not her.

    thank you for showing me that my loved one does still exist under the mask of her addiction xx

  13. I was searching for a blog specified towards alcoholism, and I came across yours right away. I am so glad that you provide such a voice for alcoholics; you're a voice of enlightenment. Thanks for that. :)

  14. Completely agree, it's a sickness and not something wrong with you.

  15. I agree that being alcoholic doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a bad person, but the effect of alcohol somehow temporarily makes you one. You may not have been fully aware of the “bad” things you did, but being aware that it happened while you were drunk and you still keep on getting drunk, seems like you’re tolerating the action. Yes, being an alcoholic may be a sickness you can’t control, but if you really have the will to stop, you can always do that. That is why I commend you for deciding to remain sober because I know that it is hard to give up drinking once you get addicted to it.

    Dinah Gerdts

  16. This was a great read! Thank you so much. I wrote a similar blog I'd love to get your opinion on it!

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