Treating My Disease

I was less than 24 hours sober when I met with Dean S. a counselor at the out patient treatment center to which I had been recommended by a therapist who had told me the painful truth about myself. Dean, sober for 16 years at the time, was giving me an orientation to help me make up my mind about committing myself -- and a big chunk of my meager funds -- to their treatment program.

I don't remember too much of what he said, but I do remember that he was a warm caring person, not judgmental at all. He was totally opposite in disposition and personality to the lower companions I met every day in the bar near my apartment.

One thing I do remember that Dean said made a deep impression on me. He told me I had a disease called alcoholism and that is was not my fault that I had it. Had he said that I was somehow to blame, that it was simply a matter of not having the willpower, well, I would have been right back out the door. As I was enjoying the moment of feeling off the hook, he said something else. "But, now that you know you have this disease, it is your responsibility to treat it. And if you fail to treat it, you will pay a bigger price than you can just now imagine."

I took those words to heart and committed to the treatment program. Three days later I walked into my first AA meeting and I have been treating my disease ever since.