This will be really long if I go into detail about every aspect of my story. For now I am going to give more of a summery just to get the ball rolling in this forum. Hopefully it will encourage others who want share but didn’t want to go first
“Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now.”
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous - Page 58
What I used to be like:
The first time I remember getting drunk I was probably around 8 years old. My parents were divorced and I was spending the weekend with my dad. I had been sick so my mom packed a bottle of cough syrup for me to take. She had been giving it to me on a schedule for a day or two and told me how often to take it while I was with my dad. I think I was supposed to take like one table spoon every 8 hours or something. I don’t remember the exact correct dosage but I do remember at some point I went from table spoons to just swigging it out of the bottle. I remember not even liking the taste at first and then for some reason it started tasting better and made me feel good. I didn’t realize what I was doing until I got home from the weekend and my mom was asking me why there was no cough syrup left.
Fast forward to when I was fifteen and went camping with some co-workers who were older than me. One of them had California Coolers and offered me one. I just thought it tasted similar to 7-Up or something like that. After I had two of them I started to feel funny. I asked if it had alcohol in it and realized I was getting buzzed. This is the first time I remember actually getting drunk and knowing I was drunk. I think I had one more and was definitely having a great time. My buddy and I almost crashed his car into the river.
From that point on I had a career of drinking just to get drunk. I never liked the taste of beer or booze enough to just drink it casually. It was always to get loaded. It wasn’t until my late 30’s that I started drinking during the day on a regular basis. I was working from home and didn’t have to answer to anyone so it didn’t seem to be an issue for me. I was able to get my work done so no biggie. Right?
Well eventually I started to drink when I woke up then taking a nap mid day and then drinking again in the evening at the bar with friends. I was still getting my work done but now the excessive amount of booze was having an effect on me. I was needing the drink to feel normal.
I tried to quit several times and I failed every time. At some point I started lying about my drinking to both friends and family who started expressing their concerns. I realized I had to stop or things were going to get really bad. Some would say that things were already really bad but I still hadn’t injured or killed anyone. I hadn’t gotten a DUI. I hadn’t done any jail time. I was still married and still had custody of my daughter. My liver hadn’t failed yet. I knew though, that any of these things could have happened at any point if i didn’t stop immediately. Tomorrow could be the day my “bottom” would be defined by serious tragedy. I reached out to a sober friend and asked him to ask me to come to a meeting with him. That way I could say I was just there to support him and didn’t have to admit to everyone that I had a problem. Little did I know that admitting my problem would actually set me free and become the first step to my eventual recovery.
I started going to AA meetings but for the first three weeks I continued to drink. I wasn’t fooling anyone but myself and one day the lies became too much. I made a deal with my wife that I would give it one more serious try. I gave her a breathalyzer and asked her to make me blow into it any time she thought I was drinking. We agreed that if it ever registered more than zero point zero zero (0.00) then I would check into a rehab. I was scared to death of a rehab because. I have a business to run and family to support so being in rehab would be like going to jail for me. Looking back I am ashamed I was not more motivated by other things but an alcoholic often does not see things clearly so I have to cut myself some slack. Regardless of what motivated me, I went to a meeting on July 21, 2017, took a new welcome chip, and decided that would be the first day of the rest of my life.
What am I like now:
As of today I am 421 days sober and I do it one day at a time. I am active in AA and enjoy both attending and being secretary at meetings. Having commitments and being of service has helped me stay focused. I am currently on my eighth step and looking forward to finishing the all twelve so I can sponsor someone else. I want to give away to others what was freely given to me.
Before I quit drinking I did not think it was possible to stop. Now I find it hard to believe it took me so long to make the decision to stop. I no longer crave booze or even think about it on a daily basis. There are times when it does enter my mind if I am stressed or mentally exhausted. I know that is normal for someone like me who used alcohol to cope with those feelings for so long. Fortunately I don’t experience those feelings as often now. When I do I am able to use the tools A.A. has provided to cope much better than I did in the past.
I realize after reading this I might sounds like a cheerleader for A.A. but I am simply telling my story and what worked for me. I understand there are other ways to get sober and if they work for someone else then that is great. I would never tell anyone else what they have to do. I am just here to share my own experience and let others take from it what they want. I would like nothing more than to inspire someone else to get sober or help motivate someone to stay sober. If anyone has questions I am happy to answer them. Feel free to post them here or send me a private message on this site.