Dear Ask Paul B Readers,
Today, I am introducing the first segment of interviews with “Peter P.” regarding his start of alcoholism as a young boy, his 39 years as an alcoholic, and finally his recovery and redemption from his disease. He is now a mentor, a leader, and advocate to many who suffer from the very same disease that he struggled with for 70% of his life. Here is our first “seeds” of his path to addiction in Peter’s words.
I can remember, as young as two or three years of age, people sitting around smoking, laughing, watching television and of course, drinking. I distinctly remember the smell of beer, cigarettes and always vodka, when my parents, friends or relatives would pick me up to hug me. I was shown much love at that age, and I really liked how they all smelled. It became part of my sensory system. When I would grow up, I would want to be (and smell) just like my folks and their friends. My oldest sister (by 11 years) would also reek of beer and wine when I was turning four or so. She too liked to smoke, but nobody ever seemed to mind. My folks were fun people, and all my siblings seemed to be on their own most of the time. Eventually, I too would be watched by two older sisters, who, as it turned out, developed the very same addiction that would ruin my middle sister’s life when she was only twenty-eight. Monkey see, monkey do, is a phrase that we are all too familiar with in my household. If only my parents had known how their actions, habits and attitudes were so closely imitated by my sibs and I. It’s just too uncanny how we have all followed down this tragic path of alcohol abuse, tobacco and drugs, notwithstanding. Odd how once you take that first step down an ugly path, you just continue to discover other substances to abuse. There was no gray in our lives. My family was either all in or not. You were either a “player” or a spectator. Only one of us took the high road. Actually, as you’ll find out next week, she saved my life.
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