By: Marilyn L. Davis

The Message Has Meaning

“Maybe sometimes it feels like “What impact can I have in this world? I am only one person, and most people don’t understand me.” But everyone can use their voice to say their something- through whatever medium that is. There will always be someone who understands your language and appreciates your message.” Elizabeth Tambascio

I’ve Had my Fill; Thank You 

I remember going with my mother to play as her bridge partner after my father passed. the other people in this group were in their late seventies and eighties and didn’t have a substance abuse problem. They could nurse a drink all night. I never understood that. 

Gracious hosts and hostesses, they’d ask what I’d like to drink. My standard answer was, “A ginger ale; thank you.” The next question was always, “What do you want in that?” I’d reply, “Some ice.” 

Once, the husband said, “No, what alcoholic beverage do you want in it?” Before I could answer that I’d had my fill, his wife rushed to his side and said, “John, she just got out of treatment, and she can’t drink alcohol.”  

Talk about getting busted out publicly. Fourteen senior citizens all stared at me, and then most of the women rushed to hug me. 

Why One is Not Enough

John wasn’t going to let it go. He asked me if I couldn’t just have one “real drink.” Then another of the men spoke up and said, “Why don’t you just limit how many you have?” 

I certainly didn’t want to turn this into a family lecture on addiction, but then more people chimed in and said, “I’m concerned about a family member, and I’d like to understand. Will you tell us?”

I started with the slogan, “One is too many, and a thousand is never enough.” I explained that I’d altered my brain in my use, and a single alcoholic drink could set up cravings, compulsions, and a relapse. 

We Can Carry the Message Anywhere

Instead of playing bridge, we had a family group. My mother talked about how much things had changed in our relationship since I got into recovery. One of the women teared up and said, ” I wish my son would find recovery because our relationship is ruined because of his addiction. He borrowed 100,000 dollars to start a business, and he still owes it to us six years later.”  

That started a round of seniors talking about their addicted children. I had no idea that so many of them struggled with addiction in their families, but they did. Many of them stated that their family member wasn’t able to stop like a normal person, and that my explanation made so much sense to them and they would be forever grateful that they offered me a drink so they would know. 

Do You Miss Alcohol? 

John asked me if I missed drinking, and the room got very quiet. I told him that I didn’t miss the consequences of my drinking and couldn’t drink without getting adverse effects. Starting to drink again would alienate my family, disappoint the college, and cost me my job, and those were prices I was no longer willing to pay to have alcohol in my ginger ale. I said that what I had in my life now was so much better than what I had when I was using.

He laughed and said, “I guess I’d quit drinking with those kinds of outcomes, too.”

Starting A Family Group

About a half-hour into this round-robin discussion of adult children and their addiction, one of the women asked what she could do to make her life better as she obsessed about her daughter. I suggested she go to Ala-non and explained what that was. 

Then one of the women asked if my mother and I would meet regularly to discuss how they as a family could make changes in their lives. I had started a family group for the residents of the recovery house I’d opened and told them I’d ask those participants if they minded some newcomers. 

Families Need To Understand the Message

The family group grew to include those men and women from the bridge group, and we convinced several adult children that they might consider treatment. 

I know that carrying the message is different for all of us, but I still consider explaining why one is too many and a thousand never enough to be a message that not only resonates with addicts and alcoholics but families as well. 

What Is Your Answer?

I’ve also said, “Thanks, I’ve had enough.” But I wonder if you respond differently when people ask you and don’t know you’re in recovery. We all end up at company parties, neighborhood get-togethers, and weddings where we might have to decline an alcoholic beverage. 

When you’re asked, what’s your response? Leave me a comment so I’ve got another ready answer when I’m asked. 

What Is Your Message?

Are you using every opportunity to carry the message regardless of how odd it may seem? Another way to carry the message is a guest post. Consider writing one today. 




Bio: Marilyn L. Davis


She is the Editor-in-Chief at From Addict 2 Advocate and Two Drops of Ink. She is also the author of Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate and Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook, available on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, Indie Books, and Books A Million.  

For editing services, contact her at Your Id



Is It Time for You to Inspire Someone?

How we say something is just as important as what we say. How you write about addiction and recovery will differ from mine. That’s okay because the more voices say, “Recovery works,” the more people we reach. 


Consider a guest post today and help someone struggling with addiction or recovery. 


Writing and Recovery Heal the Heart 



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