Last week’s, “Here’s To Your Health,” began with the story of a man of considerable means that is trying to cope with his alcoholism. This is a continuation of his story titled: “Me An Alcoholic?” It ended with the man who said, “How could such a successful man be called an alcoholic is continued this week with…Whatever the root of my unhappiness might be, I thought, it could not possibly be booze.
Of course I drank, everybody did, in the crowd I regarded as the apex of civilization. Evening cocktails were as standard as morning coffee. Even on my rare binge nights it never ran much over a quart.
How easy it was, in the beginning, to forget that those binges ever happened! After a day or two of groveling remorse I’d come up with an explanation. “The nervous tension had piled up, and spilled over,” or, “I got to talking and forgot how many drinks I had until they hit me?” Always I’d emerge with a formula for avoiding future trouble. “Drink plenty of water in between rounds,” or, “coat the stomach with olive oil,” or, “drink anything, but those damn martinis.” After a month it seemed unlikely it ever happened, as if my brain had a “built in forgetter.”
My growing inward unhappiness was real, and I knew something would have to be done. A friend had found help in psychoanalysis. After a particular ugly binge, my wife suggested I try it, and I agreed. I had complete faith in the science of the mind, but to cut a long story short, I spent seven years and ten thousand dollars on my psychiatric adventure, and emerged in worse condition than ever.
To be sure, I learned many fascinating things, and learned what a devastating effect it can have on a child to coddle him, and build him up, and then turn and beat him savagely as had happened to me. I came to understand the intricate process of projection, by which we cast into our adult world the images of the horrors of our childhood.
Meanwhile I was getting worse, both as regards to my inward misery and my drinking. My daily alcohol consumption remained about the same, but binges were occurring with alarming frequency, and the intervals between them decreased from eight months to ten days, and on one occasion I arrived home covered with blood because I’d deliberately smashed a window. With all this, it was becoming increasingly hard to maintain my front of distinction and respectability to the world.
My outward professional life looked fine, on the surface. My opinions were quoted in Time and Newsweek with pictures, and I addressed the public by radio and television. My career was tottering and it had to fall. It did…to be continued in the next Waynedale News.
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