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My Obsession With Alcohol and My Recovery Author-Tom McGoldrick

MY OBSESSION WITH ALCOHOL AND MY


RECOVERY

BY TOM M.
A RECOVERING ALCOHOLIC

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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 Authorhouse.com and is now republished as “My Obsession
With Alcohol and My Recovery” published by Lulu.com 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

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR


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


Lulu.com describes much of my years of sobriety “ is now republished by Lulu.com 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 Authorhouse.com 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 Lulu.com as “The Missing Black Box”.

“Odyssey of the Auditor Interns of 1965” ISBN 1-4116-7688-2 published by Lulu.com 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 Lulu.com as “The Purpose Driven
Retirement to the Marshall Islands”.

Also check out Mobipocket.com for all my books as e-books. Go to mobipocket and
search on McGoldrick. And, go to http://lulu.com/tjmcgoldrick7 and to
http://mcgoldrickadventurenovels.blogspot.com/ for previews and for links to publishers and
book sellers.

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My Obsession With Alcohol and My Recovery Author-Tom McGoldrick
THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED TO FELLOW SUFFERING ALCOHOLICS

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.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

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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

FORWORD

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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My Obsession With Alcohol and My Recovery Author-Tom McGoldrick

ARE YOU AN ALCOHOLIC?

Answer the following questions as honestly as you can:


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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.

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