dreamstime_xl_12568801I’m sure most will agree that Alcoholism is a Family Disease. Most families have at least one member of the family who is probably alcoholic. Crazy Uncle Joe who is always falling down at Holiday Parties; cuckoo Aunt Sally who rarely leaves home but always accepts the deliveries from her local liquor store. And, even more sadly, there are the young people: sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, and cousins, some who are afflicted with a drug addiction or even dual addictions. But addiction is all the same: A KILLER! It kills hopes, dreams, potential, expectations, family relationships, and sometimes even the addict himself.  I know of many families who have lost a son or a daughter to an overdose. or to a long prison sentence for mistakes they made while under the influence. You just have to look at the list of celebrities who have lost family members to this dreaded DISEASE. And it is a disease. It is an allergy of the mind, body and spirit to an addictive substance, whatever that may be. Alcoholism is cunning, baffling and powerful. It is the one and only disease that tells you don’t have it. Some scientists now believe that Alcoholism is GENETIC. While the studies are promising, the exact gene has not yet been discovered.  Whether it is inherited or caused by environmental conditions, no one knows for sure, but the investigation is ongoing and every day we learn something more about this often fatal disease.

The good news is that there is a tremendous amount of help out there. The bad news is that Help is not for people who NEED it but for people who WANT it. I did not have that information when I went to my first twelve step meeting more than forty years ago. I didn’t particularly want to be sober, I just wanted all my problems, especially those associated with drinking, to go away, and if I had to go to a few meetings I could do that. But that was not the case. I could not stop drinking. And I continued on that destructive path until I had lost every single person that I loved and everything else that had any value in my life. It was only when alcohol brought me to my knees that I truly asked for help. And so, on March 24th, 1975 when I wanted to be sober, when I decided to do whatever was necessary to keep me sober, and agreed to keep on doing it on a daily basis, it was only then that I became a sober woman. On March 24th this year I celebrated 39 years of sobriety. Now that is a miracle! And it has been an incredible ride. I have met many wonderful people who have become my lifelong friends; I was married to a handsome, fascinating man for thirty years until he recently passed away. I have a beautiful family and have experienced a life I could never even have imagined unless I had WANTED to be sober thirty-nine years ago. But most of all, it has been FUN! It is not the death sentence I thought it would be. I have now been sober for many more years than I drank — and that is quite a feat.

If you, a friend, or someone in your family has a problem with Alcohol or Drugs there is an amazing amount of help out there—and you can beat it if you WANT to!

I have prevailed ONE DAY AT A TIME for 39 years.

Mary Firmin

Help for Alcoholism:



Educated in England and Canada, Mary Firmin has enjoyed several careers. After ten years as a ballroom dance teacher for Arthur Murray’s, she settled in Santa Monica, California, raised her family, and sold Real Estate while attending writing classes and seminars at U.C.L.A. Ms. Firmin wrote a society column for the Palm Canyon Times, and is past President of the Palm Springs Writers Guild. She is a long-time member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Romance Writers of America,. Mary has three grown children and presently resides in Rancho Mirage, California. Mary is the author of the award-winning mystery novel, Deadly Pleasures, and many short stories.


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16 thoughts on “ALCOHOLISM By Mary Firmin

  1. Trish Jackson

    Mary, I am so happy you found the strength to beat the addiction. What you say about having to want to stop drinking is so true and sadly, some people never reach that stage, and their life is just one long dark spiral into liver disease and early death. Hopefully your posting will help give someone the strength and will power to change their lives for the better.

  2. Salvatore Buttaci

    I respect your honesty. It is never easy to reveal to others the demons that try so hard to bring us down. But those like you who stand up and fight are role models for all who do battle daily, often secretly carrying the burden alone.

  3. Maggie Tideswell

    You are a brave woman, Mary. Congratulations. I have lived with an alcoholic husband for many years and thank God, 8 years ago he was forced into rehab and stuck with it. He would have killed me by now if he hadn’t accepted then that he had a problem. I am happy to have the man I fell in love with back, instead of the angry horror he had been under the control of alcohol.
    Bright blessings

  4. Linda Hales

    Mary – thank you for being so candid and sharing your personal story. You are a strong woman and attribute appropriate credit to ‘where you’ve been’ for teaching you the ‘right way to go.’ That was your path and it has all been uphill. I admire you my friend.

  5. Cynthia B Ainsworthe

    Mary, Thank you for sharing with brutal honesty your experience with alcoholism. Your struggle to overcome this fact is an inspiration to anyone who suffers from dependency; be it drugs, alcohol, food or any other addiction.

  6. John B. Rosenman

    Mary, thank you for this very honest, inspiring, and courageous statement. Thirty-nine years, one day at a time. Hopefully, others will visit this site and will be guided and motivated by your words. I believe much addiction is genetic, be it related to alcoholism, smoking, anger, or what-have-you. And you’re right: alcoholism is a disease, and for many, regrettably, it is a life-long disease they can never recover from.

  7. Marta Merajver-Kurlat

    Mary, it takes a lot of courage to talk publicly about our demons. Moreover, it takes love for your fellow-beings to tell them that they can get rid of theirs by resorting to the help out there as long as they really want it. Your personal experience is of itself part of that help. In respect and admiration,

  8. Sandra Nachlinger

    Thank you, Mary, for sharing your personal experience. I have a relative who is an alcoholic, but he doesn’t see it. There’s no way to MAKE him see it either! I’m hoping someday he realizes that he does have a disease and will take steps to overcome it. I admire you for admitting that you had an addiction and having the courage to fight it.

  9. Micki Peluso

    Dear Mary,
    I greatly admire and love you for your ‘no holds barred” assessment of your own problem with alcohol. I think your statement, “It is the one and only disease that tells you youdon’t have it” really says it all. I also believe it is at least partially genetic and in my family it ran pretty rampant among some members on my mother’s side. In the sixties and seventies it was natural for my friends and I to party at least once a week. Mostly it was social drinking but I often wondered when social drinking becomes something more. I could drink moderately without ever getting drunk, unlike my mother, so I was certain I was okay. When Noelle was killed, I drank alone late at night and did get drunk to be able to sleep. I think many people use alcohol medicinally to reduce anxiety and relieve pain. But there is a narrow line between that type of drinking and alcoholism and it’s often hard to know when you’ve crossed that line. I’ve stopped even my two glasses of wine for my heart problems now and found it to be easiert than I thought as it was a long time habit encouraged by my drs.

    Thanks for sharing your own triumuph with us.


  10. Rosemary "Mamie" Adkins

    Hello Mary,

    I have been speechless for the last few days about this story. Your incredible courage to share this journey with a message that would help anyone that is walking in your shoes find hope is an inspiration.

    Each day for the last 39 years has been a stepping stone for the next. Congratulations my friend. I have a niece that needs help but she is not ready to accept it. Our family suffers as she does wondering if she will find her way or loose her life to this addition that is crippling her life.

    Thank you Mary. If I can find a way for her to read your story, I will share it so maybe she will she the hope.
    You are one in a million as a person, an author and friend.


  11. Diane Piron-Gelman

    Addictions are never an easy thing to discuss, let alone be personally revealing about. Thank you for sharing. I had a cousin who was an alcoholic, and thank God she got help. By the time she passed away five years ago, she’d been sober for close to a decade. As you say, people in need of it have to want the help before it can do them any good.

  12. Louise Malbon-Reddix

    Ms. Mary,

    Thank you so much for sharing. How beautiful that you are free from that. How much more beautiful that you found the way to do it!!! I celebrate you and congratulate you on sticking with it!!

    Much success to you in your futre walk.


  13. Yves Johnson

    This is an excellent story of triumph. It had me reflecting on this issue. I lived with someone who was dealing with this problem. It effects the person, their family and friends.

    Thanks for being transparent and providing hope to all who read this story.

    BTW: I read this a couple of days ago at the barbershop and forgot to post a comment.

  14. Martha Love

    Mary, very few people are able to do what you have done and stick to it! It takes incredible strength to face this particular disease and take control of your own life. I applaud you and thank you for sharing your experience.


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