Matthew Kerr

It Speaks to You

It took me three months before I could raise my hand at a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous and say, “Hi, I’m Matt and I’m an alcoholic.”  And that was in a room full of alcoholics. I was already there; what was the big secret? Everyone in that room had had their lives fall apart and came to AA, of their own volition or not, to try and pull some semblance of a recovery together. Why was I so terrified? Who was going to judge me? These people didn’t even know my last name.

Even in a room full of alcoholics, I didn’t want to say it out loud. If I said it out loud it then it would then be out there in the world as a fact; it would become true, I wouldn’t be able to deny it anymore. I would have to accept it as a fact of my life. And then I would have to do something about it. And that was truly terrifying.

Alcoholics hate the truth.

I couldn’t figure out with was more terrifying: stopping drinking or continuing drinking. There comes a point of no return and every alcoholic reaches it. You can’t keep drinking but you can’t stop. That is truly rock bottom. It looks different for each individual; someone may have lost their job, their house and their family. Some may have been locked up. And some just have had enough. They were, as the saying goes, “Sick and tired of being sick and tired.” And when you hit rock bottom you then must face the truth.

Alcoholics hate the truth.

Matthew Kerr is a writer and filmmaker in Massachusetts. He is also producer and co-host of The Working Experience Podcast who has interviewed such guests as Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jesse Eisinger, and Coach John Beam of the Netflix series Last Chance U. His nonfiction piece, “Routine,” was published in the Winter 2020 issue of the literary journal Otherwise Engaged. His second short film is currently in post-production, to be released in January 2022.