AnonymousInactiveApril 22, 2019 at 6:48 pmPost count: 1
Alcohol made me forget about my pain (and everything I had ever worked for). Nothing ever came easy for me. I was the one who always got the lowest grades, was least likely to succeed and was often the butt of many jokes by educators and townsfolk in my hometown. For many years I believed them. However, one day decided that I was going to go to college and I was going to make something of my life. College was NOT easy. Since I screwed off throughout my junior and senior high years I was substantially behind the majority of college students. Plus, I still had my main priority in life supporting (warping) me; Alcohol. It didn’t take long for me to learn that I struggled in academic areas and sports were no longer an option to excel but I could drink anyone under the table! Not only could I out drink anyone, I was the life of the party, life of the college, I was what we always dreamed of what the movies told us college was (Cue the scenes from glamorous fun college life movies) ….
I fought two uphill battles at the same time. Being undereducated and unprepared for college and being drunk 90% of the time. Periodically I would sober (when I was being threatened to be kicked out)… I tried everything; Diets, extreme exercises. I even joined the US Army National Guard thinking surely abstinence while in boot camp would provide a lifetime of sobriety… I didn’t make it very long before drinking again. (Even before being out of boot camp) I came home mid December. Mid January I got my first DWI (but was given a DUI because the arresting officer figured I had to be on something else) I blew a .37 (that’s 75 proof; you could get drunk off my blood)
This scared me straight. I finally realized why 2 a day work outs netted me zero muscular growth (I was eating, so I could save my calories for weekend drinking binges). I realized that I could be/should be dead. I could be gone like my friend Brad. I quit cold turkey. Not drinking does amazing things. I started to thrive in school. I was on academic probation (due to prolonged periods of poor grades while using). However, never, since the day I stopped drinking did I fail at school again. The day I was supposed to receive my diploma I was on a hospital bed having surgery on my heart. I had a defibrillator implanted in my chest to help protect me from fatal arrhythmias… Scary to think that things like alcohol really could have killed me due to a severe heart defect. Thankfully I no longer used drugs or alcohol… I just did what some say couldn’t be done. I attained a 4 year degree in education. As hard as it was, as much as I fought to persevere, and as much as alcohol tried to kill me, I accomplished a huge milestone. Looking back I realized I survived a tumultuous life. My father died when I was 17, 2 years later my best friend died while driving drunk. I made it through Army boot camp graduated college and went on to a successful career helping others in many help giving non-profits. While working as a dedicated public speaker for a mental health organization I was actually saving lives. I would delve into their mental illness and suicide ideation and encourage those suffering to seek help.
I would love to say THIS is my success story…. But the story doesn’t end here. As we know, Slick never rests; never goes away…
Nearly 10 years after my last drink I decided I was not an alcoholic. I talked myself into a lie that in college I abused alcohol, but wasn’t addicted to anything. My thoughts told me that as mature and respected as I am now I certainly wouldn’t abuse alcohol again. The first drink I had after that long absence started the worst years of my life. That night after nearly 10 years of abstinence I drank 24 beers. So much for not abusing alcohol…. The next morning I thought that wasn’t a very good thing and decided I better stop. When the hangover that was telling me to stop wore off, I decided a good beer would be great…
By the next weekend I had drank some alcohol every day, usually a 6 pack (I told myself that was respectful). However, the next week that was not good enough, I started making excuses to go out so I could stop at a bar and pound a few beers that no one else would know about. The first drink I had after that long absence started the worst years of my life. Although my career was at its peak my family life was dwindling fast due to my alcoholism. As my marriage crumbled I turned to alcohol full time. After being separated from my family and home for only a month I managed to get another DWI. I lied to myself that it was just a lapse in judgment. After losing my family, home and finances I vowed to make changes immediately. Two months later I was arrested for a probation violation. I spent the next 3 days in jail, both through my daughters and my birthday. The pain of calling my daughter on her birthday from jail was immense! I almost could not bear the thought of what was going through her mind. I knew I had to change. ). I knew I had to change. Again I was spared by my employer and given another chance. However, rather than make the change I promised myself, God and family I decided to drink smarter. So I drank alone. My solitaire drinking endured while I assiduously destroyed my life. Shortly before Christmas I was fired from the best job I had ever had. I watched my career evaporate before my eyes. Everything I had worked for was now gone, no family, jobless, hopeless, I turned to alcohol to delivery me to my fantasy land where everything was ok. I developed into a man without cares. I drove intoxicated with my daughter, brought her in bars with me, and drank with her at my house. The only care I had was satisfying my alcoholic desire. At age 34 I had my first heart attack due to my chemical use and it only scared me sober for 3 days.
January 11th 2008 changed my life forever. I was driving my daughter to my present girlfriend’s house when pulled over for erratic driving. I was arrested for my 3rd DWI with breath alcohol level of .36 (4 times the legal limit) and with my daughter in the back seat. I will forever see her crying her eyes out as the officer placed us both in his backseat; me in handcuffs.
While in jail, I heard about drug court and how they can help people like me. Everyone in the jail told me very adamantly, “don’t do it!” I knew I had to. I know knew that without serious help I would either intentionally or unintentionally kill myself or others, or even worse harm my little princess! I could not believe how much I have damaged that little girl; my whole world. Drug Court was a no-brainer for me.
When I started in drug court I really wanted to be sober; I just didn’t want to put much effort in it. I went through the motions, without taking it seriously. I soon found out that drug court was taking it serious. At first I thought it was ludicrous (after all, I had problems with drinking, not life), it took a long time for me to start to seeing it differently. At that time I also liked to take the easy way out and use my prescription Klonipin to mask my feelings, (Since I couldn’t drink, I choose to just go through my days in haze). It didn’t take me long before it was no longer a crutch, but an addiction. An addiction that would always lead me back to drinking, I am very glad to be free from that delusional drug.
To get to this point in my recovery, I have had to learn and change many things. When I entered drug court I really was arrogant, very grandiose, above everyone. I felt as if I didn’t belong because I was different. (By that, I mean I thought I was better than everyone), I of course told myself that it was because I had different life styles than others or different circumstances. However I have learned that I am no better or different than others, I may be different in my tastes, my desires, or interests, but we are all people and we are addicts. My addiction is no better or different than anyone else’s situation. Along with that, I have learned that I really enjoy those around me, even the ones that I feel (or felt at one time) that I was different from. This has helped me feel part of a family. I am friends with a lot of people in drug court and I don’t care what their circumstance is or was, or what others may think. I look at them for who they are. I am embarrassed by my past attitudes. I don’t know if I ever intentionally acted that way or if it was subconscious, but never the less I was condescending and arrogant. I enjoy my new outlook on life and recovery. I have truly made lifelong friends in drug court.
I have finally started to learn gratitude. In the past I faked it. I knew that I should be grateful, but I just honestly didn’t. I was trying hard but struggling with this. I really felt like I let my daughter down and that she viewed me as a failure. This changed the day she finally got to visit me at treatment. When Jules came through the door she didn’t see me right away. When she noticed me, she screeched “Daddy” and dropped everything and ran towards me without a care in the world and literally jumped into my arms for the best and sweetest hug I ever had. I could feel her love, admiration and adoration. I realized almost instantly that my past thoughts were just the result of my addicted mind and my alcoholic personality’s way to keep me down. As soon as I realized this I have not been the same. I look at life with gratitude and I am very grateful, grateful for my life, health, sobriety and for my daughter and her unyielding love.
The turning point for me in recovery was acceptance. In the past I was caught up in a purgatory about the things I lost, the respect I lost, and how I would never get it back. When I did think about my future I wanted everything I had, but I wanted it now. I had to start over in my career, working thankless jobs at far less pay then I was accustomed to. Somewhere along the way I learned that there was nothing I could do about my past, and what I was doing at the current time was positive progress and if I continued things would get better. No matter how long it took, it would be better than that terrible time when I was in jail. I realized I may not have everything I want right now, but I am achieving, I am moving forward and not backwards and that is success. I am achieving happiness and security. I am once again a positive role model to my daughter, to friends and co-workers. Being unsuccessful is giving up, failing at your aspirations, not measuring up to your potential, giving up, although there is still much I can do, I have not given up at the face of adversity, I have endured and I have my life back. I know I still have a lifelong journey in recovery but I am happy where I am in my sobriety. I also know from my past that I cannot get complacent in my ways. But if I practice everything I have learned in drug court and in the recovery community I will be fine.
I know I still have a long way to go in recovery but I am happy where I am in my sobriety. I also know from my past that I cannot get complacent in my ways. I really want to thank the entire Drug Court team for getting me to where I am today. As I mentioned before when I started, I thought I only need to stop drinking, but you have “helped” me learn how to live. In the past I was able to manipulate or deceive people who were trying to help me. No one in drug court has allowed this, and because of this tough love, I have actually learned and started my journey in recovery. I know recovery is still a journey that will never be completed but traveled. Through acceptance I have learned that I can change and adapt and accept anything life throws at me. I used to believe fear was summed up as the acronym F.E.A.R. F*@! Everything And Run. I know see it as Face Everything And React. I am happy where I am in life and incredibly grateful for my sobriety.
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