"When I was fifteen, I drank my first beer and then my second. It was strange but I didn't worry about anything. I had fun and it seemed like everything I said was witty." That's how Peter, a Southern Baptist pastor, started his email to me.
He went on to write that drinking kept him detached from his emotions. "When I was twenty-one, I almost washed out of college. What I thought was witty my career counselor told me was silly and often incoherent."
Peter went to an AA meeting to please his counselor and so he could finish the semester and stay in college. An older man in the meeting said he had been an alcoholic for fifteen years. "It was the only way I could forget that I had been abused," the man told Peter.
"That clicked!" Peter wrote. He said he felt as if someone had punched him in the gut. "That's when I knew why I liked getting drunk. I could forget."
Peter never took another drink because he didn't need the booze. He graduated from college. "I wasn't at the top of the class, but I was at least part of the class."
He not only became sober, but he found a fine therapist who helped him cope with the trauma of childhood abuse. He's now a pastor in Texas and has gotten his church to start a Celebrate Recovery group.