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Waking up The Ghost

… the first time

I heard that expression, I was sitting on a deserted island in the Exumas, with a jaundiced Bahamian named Sands. I think it is also the first time a Bahamian man has ever refused a free drink. What Sands meant, was that the icy beer I offered would lead to another, and another and another; it was safer to keep the Ghost in check by not drinking at all.

The fact is, some of us can’t just place flowers on the grave and remember the good times. We find ourselves as the sun comes up, passed out in the graveyard: covered in dirt, a rusted shovel, a deep hole, and oh shit – an empty casket …

Sands is dead now, in no small part because of his extreme drinking, but I think of him often in my struggle to keep my own demons securely where they rest. My bête noire is white wine. At the end of my tenure as a drinker, I had a consistent, three-bottle a day habit. There was really not a lot of time for anything else. Eight years of living dangerously in the Bahamas, with a drinking culture so accommodating, they call booze in the morning “Bahamian breakfast,” didn’t help.

On July 28, 2013, I STOPPED DRINKING. I felt like a bloated, overly wet sponge, so full of white wine I was leaving a dribble wherever I went. After ten years as a functioning (and then not so functioning) alcoholic, I began to try my hand at being sober.

I’m going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, connecting with other recovering addicts, getting spiritual guidance from my best friend, reading other blogs, attempting to see the HUMOR in what I’ve done, and finding support wherever I can. A friend of mine says, “It’s like adding legs to a stool.”

I have seen it all, done it all, had it all and lost most of it. But these days, I’m feeling hopeful. Wish me luck, I’m temperate in a tipsy world.