We’re All Looking For The Answer

by | Mar 18, 2019 | Articles | 0 comments

Today’s post is a bit of a topic combo, if there is such a thing. What’s on my mind? Elements of a February 2019 post called No More For The Road and the March 2019 post I Survived Catholic School.

Don’t worry. I won’t repeat what’s in them. You can read them for yourself.

But here’s the thing: my newest novel Whizzers had some of its genesis in what I discuss in those posts.

The Anonymity Thing

I started writing the book nearly 20 years ago, I think. And it’s safe to say I struggled mightily with the idea of discussing my recovery from alcoholism in any sort of public manner, much less in a deeply personal, semi-autobiographical work of fiction.

As time marches on, though, I realize it can’t hurt me to talk about itas long as I maintain a few personal boundaries.

So here they are:

 

  • I’m not a therapist or recovery professional, so I can’t advise anyone on their journey.

 

  • I’m not going to say I am, or ever have been, in a 12-step group of any sort. That’s implied by the character in the book, who’s a fictionalized version of me. It’s fiction, not a memoir or tell-all.

 

  • The autobiographical aspects are strong, but the names have not been changed to protect the innocent. I’ve got a few historical figures in there, and the usual disclaimers apply. The names of my real-life antagonists never appear.

 

I think that’s about it. Anyone who has a problem with what I’ve written, feel free to contact me directly. I might respondbut if I do, I won’t argue.

Catholic School + Bullying = No More For The Road?

On the combo of topics, I want to write about one thing. This was a big question for the first two or three years of my three decades of sobriety.

“Why did you drink?”

I really, really wanted to know exactly why I drank. Was it an inherited gene? Was it because of some deep dark secret I didn’t even recall, some precognitive abuse?

Alcoholics almost always want to find things to make them feel better. As I wrote in the No More For The Road post, I felt horribly hypersensitive as a young guynever more so than when I was newly sober. It was awful, and I hated every second of it.

Consequently, I wanted to know any and all root causes for this awful disease that almost took me out.

I read the spiritual books and pamphlets, the scientific books, the not-so-scientific books. I owned a hardcover copy of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a.k.a. the DSM. At one point in my life, if you asked me what my hobbies were, I’d have said, “Mental health.”

So Why DID You drink?

Why indeed? I found the answer after reading and therapy and inventorying, and plenty of other work. And I’m here to tell you, it wasn’t satisfying to learn.

It didn’t matter why I became an alcoholic. What matters is what I do about it.

In my case, there was certainly a loaded genetic gun. But beyond that, I could point to plenty of incidents of abuseincluding, but not limited to, the apocalyptic bullying I endured in seventh gradeand any one of those could easily have done the job.

In other words, if you had my background, you’d drink, too.

Now, I know that’s not true for everyone. Plenty of people endure horrible abuse and go on to overcompensate their way into tremendous success, all in an effort to heal their deep psychological wound.

I did a bit of that, but in the meantime, I was too steeped in getting baked to get into Harvard.

Could I have had that kind of success if I never took a drink or a drug?

Probably. The evidence from early childhood through junior high is strong. My standardized test scores were off the charts.

But the abuse broke me. And it took a good ten to twelve years of substance abuse before I found a solution. Only then could I start putting the pieces together, and become whole again.

What about you? Does your story have something in common with mine? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

About Brothers’ Hand

As Sahno Publishing continues the marketing campaign in upstate New York for Brothers’ Hand, I want to check in both with readers and potential readers. Like the blurb on the back of the book says, this is a story about Jerome Brothers, who comes from a small town in...
Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones and Storytelling

Writing is a funny game. You make stuff up and it goes from your head to your fingers, then to a screen via keyboard, or a page via writing implement. But of course, we all know that's not the oldest way of telling stories. Really, stories began with cave drawings and...
scam

Is the American Dream Just a Straight-Up Marketing Campaign?

Warning: profanity ahead. I should just start all my posts with that from now on: profanity ahead. I was scrolling through my Twitter feed recently when I saw someone had tweeted something like, What's the biggest scam of all time? Patriotic Americans might be shocked...
characters

It All Starts With Character

“Sahno offers a compelling vision of a community whose need for companionship and support in the face of life's struggles is stirring.” “The characters are deep, well thought out…” “I read this novel in a few short days, drawn in by a believable plot and characters...
arrows

Slings and Arrows, Arrows and Slings

Almost two years ago, right at the beginning of the pandemic, I wrote a blog post called Sometimes All You Can Do Is Rock With The Storm. The idea was that, hey, everyone is having a rough time right now, and we’ll likely see more rough times ahead. Knowing that life...
vacation

Choosing Constructive Play Over Guilt-Inducing Advice

About a month and a half ago, I wrote a blog post called You Deserve a Break Today. That’s right: I totally copped out on creating an original headline, and instead used a McDonald’s jingle from the 80s. Hey, I’m old. And the whole post was about how I needed a break....
staycation

The Big July 4th Staycation

“A writer never has a vacation. For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.” —Eugene Ionesco   I'll admit it: last week’s blog post was pretty much non-existent. All I posted was a flag picture and a headline, “Happy birthday,...
healthcare

Feeling Wiped Out? Get Up and Out!

I don’t really think of myself as a healthcare writer, although I did earn a living for many years by marketing a variety of healthcare services—from traditional to alternative medicine. These days, I’m more in the Author-Speaker-Publisher mode, writing books and...

Talk of der Führer at the Local Library??

This past weekend I had a pretty weird, disturbing experience related to Nazism, which I only documented on my personal Facebook page. In retrospect, it's probably just as good for blog fodder as anything else. I must be a little naive, because somehow I've managed to...
mother's

The Worst Mother’s Day Ever

Mother’s Day has always been kind of a tough holiday in my family. Mom’s got an early May birthday, so it seems like there’s virtually no breathing room between her birthday and Mother’s Day. It’s kind of like if your parent was born shortly before Christmas. You get...
self-promotion

What’s The Problem With Shameless Self-Promotion?

While I still find it somewhat hard to believe, I've been on Twitter for almost eight years. I know this not only because Twitter shows Joined March 2015 on my profile but also because, even if they eliminate that feature, I use a tracker called Who Unfollowed Me? If...
MLK

MLK Day 2023

Here’s wishing everyone a safe, sane Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For many of us, today is always something of a day of mourning: not only mourning the loss of a great civil rights leader, but also mourning the turn our great nation seemed to take in recent years....

Twitter Tips for Authors in 2023

If you follow my blog, you probably connected with me via Twitter, whether you’re a fellow author or not. In 2020, I wrote a post about Twitter for fellow writers that got a good response. Three years later, the landscape has changed, but some Twitter best practices...
rails

Going Off The Rails (But Not On A Crazy Train)

Last April, I wrote a blog post called Back on Track With a Work-In-Progress. Part of that post was to talk about the difference between a “plotter” and a “pantser” (and to describe myself as a hybrid of the two, a “plantser”). Another, less obvious motive, was to...
French

Those Tricky French Authors and Their Obsessions

Today’s blog post was originally going to be Write Whatever the @#$% You Want, Pt. III. However, after seeing parts I and II lined up, I decided to call an audible and make it something less repetitive. Somehow the SEO gods have gotten into my head. As I’ve mentioned...
scared

Write Whatever the @#$% You Want, Pt. II

In last week’s post, I mentioned a pretty well-known author who has publicly reported his publisher “wouldn’t touch” a new release, in part because a character in his novel referred to herself as “fat.” I heard this story on a podcast, and I remember thinking, “Wait...
censorship

Write Whatever the @#$% You Want

I’ve been stewing on this for a while. It’s been brewing for quite a while. I could probably write a song about it (how about a rap?), but I don’t think I will. This is more of a blog post topic, and it might even deserve a series. And that’s the title and topic of...
gratitude

Should Every Month Be Gratitude Month?

When I was a kid, I loved Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz. I read it daily and collected nearly every paperback volume of the cartoon, so I could see what I’d missed since the comic strip’s inception in 1950.  Certain things stuck: quotes like “happiness is a warm puppy”...
robot

More Thoughts On Robot Writers and The Tech Dystopia

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post here called When Will the Robot Overlords Replace Us? Apparently, I’m fairly obsessed with this stuff, because every time I come here and empty my brain, it seems to come up again. Today is no different. Part of the reason,...