My Obsession With Alcohol and My Recovery Author-Tom McGoldrick




My Obsession With Alcohol and My Recovery Author Tom McGoldrick

Copyright page and list of other books by this author
My Life Story by Tom M. A Recovering Alcoholic ISBN 1-4208-4201-3 was first published by and is now republished as “My Obsession With Alcohol and My Recovery” published by May 2007. This book is factual to the best of my recollection and only a few names have been altered to provide anonymity to certain individuals. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the Publisher Copyright, Tom McGoldrick 2007

If you are interested in more real life adventure stories I encourage you to read the following books. “On the Road to Recovery Thanks to AA Meetings” ISBN 1-4116-7552-5 published by describes much of my years of sobriety “ is now republished by as “Return to a Proper Purpose Driven Life Style Thanks to AA Meetings”. “Star Wars in the Pacific” ISBN 1-4208-4297-8 published by describes much of the author’s five years on Kwajalein written as a fictional novel with a bit of “spy” intrigue thrown in for spice. It is now republished by as “The Missing Black Box”. “Odyssey of the Auditor Interns of 1965” ISBN 1-4116-7688-2 published by is an account of an entire career spent traveling and working for the government. “Retirement Riches in the Pacific” ISBN 1-4137-0995-8 published by Publish America details my life on Emidj Island is now republished by as “The Purpose Driven Retirement to the Marshall Islands”.

Also check out for all my books as e-books. Go to mobipocket and search on McGoldrick. And, go to and to for previews and for links to publishers and book sellers.


My Obsession With Alcohol and My Recovery Author-Tom McGoldrick


I hope and pray that some of those who read this book may recognize their own drinking problem, go to AA meetings, talk to other recovering alcoholics, take serious action to get sober and to start leading a better life, and in so doing, not put a family through as much misery and lose as much as I. I am forever grateful to those fellow-recovering alcoholics who, although they slipped from sobriety, thought enough of me to talk to me immediately upon their return so that I could learn from their mistakes and perhaps be better prepared to ward off that cunning and baffling disease of alcoholism.

To all the thousands of alcoholics who took the time to share their personal experiences and feelings concerning their deliverance from drunkenness and chaos to sobriety and order before, during and after the AA meetings I was fortunate in attending. They gave me the example and courage to persevere in my new life without my old friend alcohol.


My Obsession With Alcohol and My Recovery Author Tom McGoldrick

Page TITLE PAGE ............................................................................................ I COPYRIGHT AND OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR………………….II DEDICATION AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS................................…....... III TABLE OF CONTENTS ....................................................................….. IV FOREWORD .................................................................................…...... V ARE YOU AN ALCOHOLIC? .......................................................…….... X CHAPTER 1-PRE TEEN DRINKING YEARS..................................…...... 1 CHAPTER 2-TEENAGE DRINKING YEARS..................................……... 6 CHAPTER 3-YOUNG ADULT DRINKING YEARS (20-22)..........…....... 35 CHAPTER 4-CAREER PROFESSIONAL DRINKING YEARS (23-40)… 42 CHAPTER 5-SOBER CAREER PROFESSIONAL (41-49)...................... 91 CHAPTER 6-SOBER RETIRED RECOVERING ALCOHOLIC......….... 124 CHAPTER 7-SUMMARY AND FUTURE.........................................…... 143



My Obsession With Alcohol and My Recovery Author-Tom McGoldrick I frequently contemplated and procrastinated about writing a book about my life experiences with alcoholism while drinking and later after becoming sober and stopping drinking. Procrastination, however, was easier than facing the reality that it is my duty to help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety as I was helped. There are many ways to help. I have heard of and met others in the AA program who visited hospitals and drunk tanks and took people to hospitals and to treatment centers to dry them out and then talked the AA program to them. Perhaps those individuals were comfortable and successful doing that, but I was not. I had seen many others just going to meetings, looking presentable and successful in life, and talking in a nice quiet language. They were not the loud and flashy ones. They were the quiet ones with more than fifteen years of sobriety. When they spoke, they seemed to say the right gem of wisdom I needed to hear at that moment. I decided these were the AA people I wanted to emulate. I did not want a short-term cure. I wanted a long-term cure and figured the best way was to watch, listen to, and emulate the winners. I knew people did not get many years of sobriety and maintain an outward appearance of calm without learning how to live successfully without alcohol. To me, anyone with fifteen years or more of sobriety had achieved a long-term cure and I needed to learn how they had achieved and maintained that condition because at the beginning that seemed impossible.

I was taught that part of the AA program is to take an inventory. The inventory is not only of what has been lost, but also of that which still remains. I was taught to be grateful for that which remains. I am grateful for surviving some ridiculously dangerous events and surroundings in which I placed myself because of my perceived urgent need for alcohol during my drinking days. Since I have been sober, I have been fortunate in learning how to live sober and have met many other people in the world who also live happy, joyous, and free without having to consume alcohol on a daily basis. Many of them never drank. I never saw or met these people when I was drinking. I also attended many AA meetings in many cities and states V

My Obsession With Alcohol and My Recovery Author Tom McGoldrick in the US and in cities abroad. At these meetings, I continued to listen to many stories of recovering alcoholics. I need to hear how they lived while drinking, how they came to AA, and how they are living today. Each teaches me some valuable lesson. I often found the same personalities at each place as thought those personalities were replicated time and again. This further eroded my frequent thought that I was different from others. Sometimes the people looked the same and even had the same first name. Over time, these people had the audacity to tell everyone my story, even the parts I did not want to reveal to anyone although I had never told my story all at one time to anyone. I did not want to give anyone else power over me by really knowing me. I kept a wall up. They were able to tell my story without knowing me, because I am not unique. Many other alcoholics have similar experiences. As I listened to them tell their stories, I could identify very closely with some of each person's story. This, more than anything else helped dispel my belief that I was unique. My excuses for drinking, therefore, became common and lost their value. I drank because it made me feel better or at least had for many years and that was something I had to learn to change on a long-term basis.

The knowledge and experience of how to do that was passed to me intentionally and unintentionally by the many people in the many meetings I attended. And, individually and collectively, they have aided me significantly in my recovery. There are times when I can still recall the scorn of just a few words from a fellow former alcoholic who knew when what I was saying or thinking was not right. I accepted and complied because I knew I had to in order to get well. I continually reason if all those other people in all of those places and in all of those different climates and living conditions can live successfully without alcohol, then I have no excuse for drinking to cope with life. It was embarrassing to have to tell others in a meeting of my daily miseries and then to have my miseries made insignificant by the next person who really has serious problems. That is very humbling for me. It always puts me in a position VI

My Obsession With Alcohol and My Recovery Author-Tom McGoldrick where I have to take inventory and have a silent gratitude meeting because I, in spite of daily difficulties, still have a life much better than many others. It also tends to cause me to keep my mouth shut, to listen, and to not complain about things. I can only change my reaction to people, places, and things and their impact on me. I cannot change other people, places, or things. There is only one person I can change and that is I. I often find it best to not react to situations and to just walk away. Again, I can change me and I have found that usually I was the cause of much of my misery.

I know that passing my story on is important. Other AA members speaking at meetings never knew what portions of their talks I remembered and paid heed to and they did not need to know. But collectively, I learned from them when I could not learn from non-AA books or non-AA people. After my inventory taking and much contemplation, I realized that I had gained in knowledge through many experiences in AA meetings and in application of those experiences in my life and that if I shared them with others, I could and would be doing what the successful AA people had done for me.

This book then is the story of a fifty-three year old man's (me, Tom M.'s) thoughts and feelings about the disease of alcoholism as viewed and understood by a recovering alcoholic (me) growing up in the USA and working for a few years in the states of Washington, California, Montana, Alaska, North Carolina, and Utah, and many years out of my home country in other lands such as Germany, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, and the Marshall Islands. While drinking, I visited many well-known watering holes and could relate well to many world travelers. I went down some streets to get a bottle in places I would not go today in broad daylight without a police escort. Since sober, I can relate better to the historical, geographic, cultural and societal aspects of the places to which I have traveled. While drinking, my point of reference was drinking places. Since then, I have changed. Now, I visit churches (AA meeting VII

My Obsession With Alcohol and My Recovery Author Tom McGoldrick places) and interesting places not associated with drinking. It is amazing how one's frame of reference can change. The book naturally includes comments about other alcoholics who I have had the privilege of meeting during my travels while drunk and while sober.

Alcoholism is still a baffling problem. However, more and more people are becoming aware of the hope engendered by the success of AA and more people are coming in to try the program. Although the success rate is low, the long-term recovery success rate without continual involvement with other recovering alcoholics in AA is even less successful. Therefore, any tool, which can offer hope and a chance of success, needs to be made available and used.

Please remember, that an alcoholic is anyone whose drinking interferes frequently or continuously with any of his important life adjustments and interpersonal relationships. It is up to each individual to say that they are or are not an alcoholic. Whatever the problem, effective treatment depends on accurate recognition and diagnosis. Does the person's drinking frequently or continuously interfere with his social relations, his role in the family, his job, his finances, or his health? If the answer is yes, the chances are the person is an alcoholic or on the verge of becoming one. Once he or she begins to drink, they usually will not be able to stop until they are unconscious, broke, or dead. Some alcoholics are able to control their drinking for a considerable period before it results in a disaster. Alcoholics surround themselves with people of a similar nature. This preserves the belief that "Everyone else is drinking the same as I; therefore, I'm ok," thus perpetuating the belief and image that there is no problem. The alcoholic is often the last person to recognize that his drinking is a problem and there are just so many friends out there who help the drinking person keep right on drinking. They are called enablers and you have to be wary of them. They can easily get you back drinking and living badly again. VIII

My Obsession With Alcohol and My Recovery Author-Tom McGoldrick

Answer the following questions as honestly as you can: IX

My Obsession With Alcohol and My Recovery Author Tom McGoldrick

1. Do you lose time from work due to drinking? 2. Is drinking making your home life unhappy? 3. Do you drink because you are shy with other people? 4. Is drinking affecting your reputation? 5. Have you ever felt remorse after drinking? 6. Have you gotten into financial difficulties as a result of drinking? 7. Do you turn to lower companions in an inferior environment when drinking? 8. Does your drinking make you careless of your family's welfare? 9. Has your ambition decreased since drinking? 10. Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily? 11. Do you want to drink the next morning?

The above list of questions is typical. Positive answers only help confirm one's own worst fears. That the person is an alcoholic and needs help. An alcoholic in denial is of no use to himself or to others. Positive steps to recovery with or without a treatment center but with the help of other recovering alcoholics in AA give the hope of daily relief and recovery from alcoholism. Alcoholism never goes away until a person is dead. But, there can be a daily respite and a much-improved life. Those with many years of sobriety in AA, who we look up to as having the things and the kind of life we would like to have, given all of us hope that perhaps we too can attain some of the daily relief and good life. After some time in daily relief without alcohol, we can reflect and gain some measure of satisfaction for past accomplishments which should encourage us to continue in the same vein. Please read on.