From Isolation to Fulfillment
I got drunk for the first time when I was 19. I loved it so much, I went back to the same place and got drunk again the very next night.
From then on, if I was drinking, I was drinking to get drunk. I never drank with dinner or just to be social. The idea of drinking without the object of getting drunk was -- and is -- as foreign to me as going to an airport, buying a ticket, and sitting on the concourse watching planes take off and land without ever boarding. I now know this is referred to as "the phenomenon of craving" which is not present in non-alcoholics.
A couple years later, I was introduced to marijuana, and I became a daily marijuana smoker. I also tried lots of other drugs -- various forms of cocaine, hallucinogens, cigarettes -- but I never used any of those on a regular basis. I did occasionally abuse prescription pain pills.
Although I was never a casual drinker, it took a long time for my drinking to become a problem. When I was in my early 30s, for reasons I don't understand, I became a daily drinker. Sometimes, I drank at bars and in social settings, but I began to drink alone at home every night. It was in this time that I got a DUI.
My daily drinking began to take a toll. I was constantly hung over and my work suffered. My apartment became a pig pen and my self worth dwindled to nothing. I got thrown out of several bars, including one that required a trip to the ER. I fell backwards through a glass-top table. Most humiliatingly, I began to regularly urinate on myself when I passed out at night.
For me, the "bottom" came when I found myself drinking in the morning. It had been my habit to pass out in the living room every night, and when I came to, I would put whatever was left in my cup back into the fridge and go to bed. Eventually, however, I began to finish the drink when I came to -- early, like at 4 or 5 a.m. Then I began to pour another. When I found myself watching "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" and drinking vodka and orange juice at daybreak, I knew my drinking was unsustainable.
I wound up in rehab, and then in AA . I had been to AA a few times because of my DUI and one previous attempt to stop drinking, but this time my life had become so unmanageable I was willing to do what my counselors at rehab and the other people in AA suggested -- go to meetings in a regular basis (daily to begin with), get a sponsor, read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, pray and not drink.
One day at a time, it has worked for me, now, for more than 4 1/2 years. I still go to meetings almost every day. I still have regular contact with my sponsor, and I help others in the program by sponsoring them. I have lots of friends who don't drink or use drugs (and Id have some who do). I do not miss alcohol and drugs at all.
My life is more full and meaningful than ever before. Life is not perfect . In sobriety, I have suffered the deaths of a close friend and my mother. I have lost relationships. I have had all of the problems that everyone has and I have not drank or used drugs.
I was a daily-drinking, pass-out, pee-on-myself drunk. If I can get sober, anyone can.
This Story of Hope was created in celebration of recovery and to let families know that there are pathways to hope and healing. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families who are struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page so that families know where to turn to for help, and that there is always hope.