I did not drink every day, nor did I get drunk every time I drank. I was always surprised on those mornings that I awoke struggling to remember how I got home the night before. I would often be terrified to answer the door on those mornings, fearing that whoever I met there would somehow guess—or maybe even know—something about my shameful behavior from the night before. All this, when I had no idea if anything shameful had even happened!
During the next few years, as I finished obtaining my bachelor’s degree and somehow survived four unruly teenage children, I tried hard to control my drinking. Since I did not get drunk every time I drank, I kept telling myself there was no way I was an alcoholic. Little did I realize at the time that the very fact that I was having this debate with myself was a sign that I had already slipped into the denial that is characteristic of every alcoholic. People who do not have a problem with alcohol have no reason to even enter into this kind of self-argument.