There’s nothing like being uber-competitive regarding my shortcomings. For some reason, alcoholics love to try to one up each other in the “look how bad I fucked up everything” sweepstakes.

Step One:
We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.

Sick pride, right? It’s the old all-or-nothing: if I can’t be the best, I may as well be the worst. Lend a hand or kick me down. Don’t just stand there.

That said, it was my competitive nature that allowed me to pretend I wasn’t truly an alcoholic for 15 years. As long as there was a shred of reasonable doubt regarding Step One, I was in the clear. When things got bad, I merely needed to redouble my efforts regarding my drinking. Or, better still, I needed to become a master at managing any fallout.

Standing back from it all a year later, the crazy version of me seems like a suit I wore: itchy and ill-fitting, hollow inside. Not that it’s not still in my closet. I haven’t been able to throw it out just yet. It’s towards the back, and every morning I see it hanging there in its dry cleaning bag. It looks sharp, powerful. I remember only the fun the suit brought, and must forcibly remind myself of all the mornings I needed to take it immediately to the store for cleaning.

So, that happens. And when it does, I need to know that seeing the suit or thinking of the suit doesn’t mean I’m failing. It means I’m aware.

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