Ramblings of a Former Madman

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Love-hate relationships and other fun valentine’s day things


Love-Hate relationships seem to run through everybody’s life, one way or another. They’re so common its no use trying to deny it.With your significant other? With your job? With your pets? With your parents? With your siblings? With your too tight jeans?

Yup, everybody.

I happen to be in one right now. As many of you know, I’m writing a book.Writing a book devolves into a Love-Hate relationship for any author, especially first-time authors. It’s well disguised before you put pen to paper; as such I completely underestimated the vast effort required to write a book about my experience with alcoholism.

A good friend (who I once respected) told me, “Jim, you have to write a book. You have to. Just do it.”

Bastard. I still resent him for that advice. That’s become a Love-Hate relationship too.

See, they’re everywhere!



Yes, you’re the horse.

I’m a recovering, sober alcoholic who decided to speak out about alcoholism with the goal to help other alcoholics and their families. Breaking anonymity about my alcoholism is the hardest decision I have ever made. Letting other alcoholics die as I died without having the balls to speak out is an even tougher decision.

Alcoholics never escape Love-Hate relationships. They are in them for life, surrounded by them.

First, there’s the Love-Hate relationship with alcohol itself.

Oh, it appears as Love-Love at first. Trust me, eventually, it will become:
“God I love you. You suck, I hate you. I long and crave for you. I’m better off without you. Get the hell out of my life forever. I can’t imagine living without you.”

Then there’s the inevitable Love-Hate relationship the alcoholic has with himself. The result of an alcoholic’s, chronic, progressive and fatal disease is that with each drink, they lose self-respect. They want desperately to make the right choice and not drink.

Eventually, they are gutted, hollow inside and hate themselves.
“The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson, First published in 1939.

And of course, it inevitably leads to Love-Hate relationships with your significant other, children, siblings, and friends. Often never resolved.

So, your relationship with the disease itself, yourself and the people you love sucks, often forever. Valentine’s Day blows for you!

Don’t plan on any roses or candy coming your way. Maybe a job-loss, an arrest or your death. But no candy.

Oh, we’re not done yet. Here’s another biggie…



You might as well just stay on your knees…

I’m going to be square with you. The stigma the general public holds about alcoholics is still there, alive and well. The general public stigma (Center for Disease Control) associated with alcoholism is broad across America and the world. Here’s the gist of the public stigma:

  • Alcoholics are:
  • Unlovable
  • Unemployed
  • Criminals
  • Untrustworthy
  • Unreliable
  • Mentally deranged.
  • Lazy
  • Weak

Nobody chooses to be an alcoholic. The American Medical Association has determined through sound medical investigation and research that alcoholism is a well-defined disease.



Many medical professionals and experts on alcoholism believe that the stigma associated with alcoholism is the largest obstacle to recovery. Approximately two-thirds of the alcoholic population refuses to seek professional treatment because they did not want the label, and to carry the stigma associated with alcoholism.

When you absorb those facts with the knowledge that alcoholism is the number one drug problem in America, and that there are over thirty million alcoholics alive in America, you form a disgusting conclusion.

Untreated alcoholism is a chronic, progressive and fatal disease. If approximately twenty million Americans won’t seek professional help because of the stigma of alcoholism, that’s a shit load of deaths.

A disease. A recent poll of alcoholics determined that many alcoholics would rather have cancer than alcoholism. Why? There is no stigma associated with cancer. Tough often fatal, as in alcoholism, cancer victims receive empathy, help and care.

Many alcoholics leading a complete and full life in recovery, they remain anonymous because of the fear of the stigma causing a loss of their job, their family and their home, as well as the respect of others.

This is why the most powerful program in the recovery of alcoholism, is Alcoholics Anonymous. (AA).It was founded almost eighty years ago, and little has changed concerning the stigma.



Stigmas come from stereotypes. “A standardized mental picture held in common that is oversimplified, prejudiced and developed through ignorance, a lack of knowledge”.

There are laws against most stereotypes that degrade, injure and cause social inequity for victims. Stereotypes about race, gender, sexuality and more. These are good laws, and progress is being made. There are no such laws associated with the stigma and stereotype of alcoholics. And it’s helping to manslaughter millions upon millions of Americans. It doesn’t make sense.

Alcoholics need help. If they are willing to get it, they can recover and lead a normal life. If the workplace, the family, and even more so the general public helps them to be willing to ask for and receive help.

My personal experience has irrevocably convinced me of the destructive power of the stigma of alcoholism. Why in the world would any sane human being ask for help, if it results in their being labeled as an unlovable, lazy, unemployed criminal?

I wouldn’t. I didn’t.

It didn’t turn out well.

A number of sober alcoholics have spoken out about alcoholism, the nature of the disease to try and change the crushing stigma.  Please, join them. Learn a little about the disease. Share it. Like all stereotypes, they begin and end at the grass-roots level. I sincerely thank you in advance, for any who chooses to grow a pair and seek help.

There are many books, websites, articles, websites designed to educate. You could learn all that you need to help with a fifteen minute Google search. My website, www.jimspina.com and my upcoming book are dedicated to doing just that.

For the alcoholics out there, I love you folks. No Love-Hate at all. Everybody deserves a little love on Valentine’s Day.

Ramblings of a Former Madman

Join my mailing list for satirical musings, gripping stories, indelicate but often hilarious commentary, and (questionable) life advice.

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