Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Interview with Neal
A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to Neal about how he was doing now that the Risky Drinking documentary has aired. I wanted to know what he had been doing since the film completed until now. He was hesitant to talk to me but not for the reason that you might assume.
Neal and his wife, Kathy, have been long time readers of this blog. I had many e-mails from Kathy and knew that her husband had faced difficulties around his drinking. He was drinking excessively when I referred the HBO producers to them as potential subjects for the upcoming film. The hope was that working on the film would give him a new insight into how his drinking was ruining his life and relationships with those closest to him.
He made many attempts to get and stay sober. He even allowed the film crew to be at his hospital bedside while he was detoxing. Neal was serious about stopping even though it may have seemed he was not the least bit interested in sobriety.
After the filming was complete, he went to several rehabs outside of his home state. He finally settled down in Louisiana and it was there that he decided to try one more time. This time he had a renewed determination to make it all work. He made the decision to become totally abstinent and this time his hard work paid off.
It was a long hard road and Neal slowly walked each step. Eventually, he renewed his relationship with Kathy and they began courting as though they had just met. It was a new beginning and Neal was well aware that this would be his last chance with the woman he loved.
Neal has been sober for more than a year. He is happy. He is calm. He is working his own program that works for him. He has no anxiety attacks and he is healthier than he has been in years.
He told me that he simply made a decision to not be drunk even though the simple decision was difficult to achieve. He says he found the whole thing easier once he accepted the fact that he could not drink ever again.
Neal took a less stressful job in order to simplify his life. It involves long hours and hard work, but he says it’s just what he needs. He spends less time with his grandson but his time is of a much higher quality. He likes this new life.
So why was Neal hesitant to talk to me? Because he doesn’t want any fame or notoriety. He wants to fade into the background so as not to have the pressure from public exposure. He wants to remain private and asks just to be left alone so he can enjoy his peaceful life.
He explained that he doesn’t want alcohol or alcoholism to be the center of his life. If he is constantly in contact with the people involved with the film, alcohol would still be his focus. That’s not what he wants. Letting alcohol go means moving forward and not letting it occupy your mind and thoughts. Neal says he has better things to think about and do.
I’ve assured Neal that my readers will respect his right to let him move on and put his past behind him.
at 5:56 AM