Am I An Alcoholic? Guest Post from Wendy P. Miller

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One of the biggest blessings in being involved in the writing community is that I have had the opportunity to meet and become friends with several amazing, amazing people. These people aren’t just writing buddies– they are supporters and readers and critiquers and developers and plotters and generally wonderful friends.  And most of all, they are incredible writers, using the gift of words to create stories that entertain and teach and challenge.

I’m honored today that my friend, Wendy Paine Miller, is stopping by the blog to share with you some of her thoughts about what is behind her newest release, The Delicate Nature of Love. Wendy’s writing is word-art, and I am so excited that she’s here with us today. Read below and let her words challenge you about a topic that touches so many.

From Wendy:

Am I An Alcoholic?

This is the question my main character in my latest novel, THE DELICATE NATURE OF LOVE, grapples with. I have an opinion about whether or not Emma Gates is an alcoholic. And I’m willing to bet many book club members will be sharing their opinions while sipping cabernet and sampling goat cheese.

Emma is a grieving widow. Wine has become her go-to when it comes to numbing her feelings. I don’t want to give away my thoughts about whether I feel Emma is addicted, but I will share a bit about why I gravitated toward this topic.

Addiction runs in my family. And I like wine. I like fruity mixed drinks. And with a hot pizza or a delicious chili recipe, I like to swig 312 Goose Island beer. Occasionally I ask myself the hard question: Do I like this too much? Because when I say addiction runs in my family I’m not talking six degrees of separation, I’m talking more like .14 degrees (about the same blood alcohol level several of my family members would hit at any given moment).

I remember suffering through a tragic season in my life when the idea of checking out—sanding down all of my depressed feelings to the point of numbness—sounded ideal. So I drank. A lot. And it did feel great. For a night. Then those feelings resurged and I was met with the weight of what I was going through twofold. And thankfully, I didn’t make a habit of tossing back the bottle. But this is exactly why I work hard not to judge those with addictions. I get the pull. The only difference is that I’m able to stop. I’m able to make a different choice. They aren’t. That doesn’t make me better. It just means the gene didn’t sneak into me.

Forget our country running on Dunkin’ as the slogan suggests. I’m convinced most of us have grown accustomed to running on whatever the five o’clock hour has to offer. In the first scene of DELICATE, my main character, Emma, finds herself facing a similar predicament Pink sings about in one of her songs. She’s looking for herself sober. She’s lost sight of who she is without her trusty wine bottle.

Because addiction is something I’ve grown to recognize, I care about others recognizing it in themselves and confronting it.

I think it starts with…

Accountability—asking the hard question, not just of yourself but asking loved ones who know you well to tell you what they think.

Awareness. Paying attention to when you say when. How many is too many for you? How generous of a pourer are you?

Finally, this might be the hardest one yet.

Honesty. It’ll always come back to this.

Does the topic of addiction hit close to home for you?

Wendy Paine MillerWendy Paine Miller is a native New Englander who feels most alive when she’s laughing, reading, writing, or taking risks. She’s authored eleven novels, including The Delicate Nature of Love, The Flower Girls and The Disappearing Key. Her books have prompted thought-provoking conversations at book clubs all across the country. Wendy lives with her husband and their three girls in a home bursting with imagination and hilarity. Connect with Wendy on her website.

 

 

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9 Comments

Filed under Books, Is It Okay To ____?, Uncategorized

9 responses to “Am I An Alcoholic? Guest Post from Wendy P. Miller

  1. Thanks so much for hosting me today, Jenny! I appreciate that I felt safe sharing this here with you and your readers. ~ Wendy

  2. Super post, Wendy. Thank you for being brave and real and for your gift of threading humor through that message. You’re amazing!

    • Thanks, Amy! I think you’re pretty amazing. I think years of living with and loving folks who’ve struggled has helped me to become more open about it. Most of us know someone who faces addiction. I really thought that would be one of the last topics I’d want to explore in one of my books, but I’m so glad I touched upon the issue the way I did. It helped me to better understand–and that’s what I’m constantly striving for as a writer & a human being.

  3. jillhannahanderson

    Wonderful post, Wendy!

    • wendypainemiller

      Thanks, Jill! Feel a little naked with it out there. But with releasing these novels, I should be getting used to that feeling. 😉

      • jillhannahanderson

        Every family has members with addiction, and until it strikes close to home, it is easy to point fingers. As you mentioned, some of us are lucky to not get the addictive gene, and we never know our future or what will push us over the edge. It is in all of us. Some of us are just lucky, and for those it affects, it takes great strength and courage to stand up and fight the monster.

  4. JillKemerer

    Spot on, Wendy. It’s a fine line, and one we need to be willing to be honest about.

    • wendypainemiller

      Guess I’ve learned it’s better to be self-reflective and aware than it is to pretend away some harmful truths. Still learning that in other areas of my life.

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