it’s my story and I’m sticking to it

it’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

My story is probably not unlike others, yet it’s different in its own way, especially the recovery portion. Like many, drinking started out to be a social, fun, the right thing to do, type of entertainment.

I didn’t really have any problem with it for several years. I was an addicted two step dancer and while dancing, I could hold it pretty well. That era ended and I moved on to other things. I started my own business and it failed.

I managed to survive financially with a great deal of work to pay back my mistakes. For some reason without me realizing it, I fell into a state of depression but if you asked me, I was as happy as anyone could be. Bull! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out after the fact and get on with some serious recovery, which is the most important thing.

Not realizing my depression, which I always thought depressed people were silly and weak, I started slowly sliding into a state where the drink became more popular to me.

I even didn’t enjoy going to bars with a bunch of friends. I had rather go to a quiet bar and drink alone. Boy, doesn’t that sound like trouble on the way? And it was. It became enjoyable for me to go to bars where I didn’t know anyone and make some new drinking acquaintances and maybe pick up a girl if I got lucky.

I did get lucky several times and though at the time I would marry any one of them. That was a game of Russian Roulette in the making. I did this for several years, still not realizing my depression. Believe me, you can be very depressed and not know it.

I eventually landed a great job which provided some extensive travel, most of which was alone, you know, my preference. I visited at least one bar in an airport or two in every state in the union, plus Germany.

Boy, was I on a roll. Great job, loose expense account, Corporate American Express in my pocket, traveling to Canada, Mexico and all over the U.S. I had a very responsible job in management and I did it well. You might say I was a functioning alcoholic. At this point, depression was the last thing on my mind. I was having a great time!

Slowly I started to feel that something was wrong but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I was still making good money, traveling, holding down responsibility, but something was wrong.

It wasn’t until after I became sober that I could actually see the problems I was having. This situation I think, could belong to any and allot of alcoholics.

To shorten my story, I lost my great job. I was told that is was do to job elimination and downswing. Ha! I knew in my own heart that I was not being told the truth. I knew is was because of my drinking.

What a shame to lose such a great job which was over alcohol, which was over depression, which was over the fact that I didn’t know. Sound familiar? If you are an alcoholic, don’t worry, if you decide to sober up, you can have the same realization I had.

I was devastated over losing my job. I thought my world had come to an end and it was all over for me but the shouting’. I stayed pretty well medicated for a while.

I decided to take a vacation and went out west. On my way back is when I realized that I did have a serious problem. On the flight I ordered my usual, and I started to drink and it took both hands to get the glass to my mouth.

I was shaking so bad that I almost spilled the drink. I figured out then that I either needed a drink very bad or I have tortured my body to the breaking down point. On August 28th, last year, I was sitting at my computer surfing the net, when a very strong sense came over me.

I started to do some real thinking and I don’t mean “stinking thinking.” I wanted to find out what was wrong in my life so I took a hard, honest look at things. Even though I did lose a job, I never got a DUI or had a wreck, never lost a house or family, and never had been to jail but I was still miserable. I had to find out why.

I knew I couldn’t if I kept drinking because I was polluting my ability to reason. I decided I was going to make some changes in me. I sat the glass down and said, that’s it, no more alcohol for me. Then I said, “God, you’ve got to help me with this, I can’t do it by myself.” I sincerely asked God for help and I it. I was ok with it the first 48 hours and then the 49th hour came.

What an experience. I’ve heard of the DT’s but didn’t have any idea what it was all about. I started detoxing at home and LSD couldn’t be any different that what I experienced.

For a period, I lost my mind. I hallucinated, fabricated, imagined and did the strangest things. I didn’t know the mind was capable of some of the things I thought, said, and did. I was never a violent drunk, rather a very peaceful one unless someone made me mad and the alcohol magnified my rage, but I never hurt anyone.

Fortunately, I had someone close to me who talked me into going to the hospital. By that time, I didn’t mind. I thought I was going to die and at times wanted to. It was an experience I never, ever want to have again.

I went through recovery at a major university hospital to the tune of $5200.00. Of course that was a drop in the bucket compared to the money I spent on alcohol.

Boy, I wish I had that back. I finished my inpatient and outpatient treatment and while there started to attend AA. Like most people, I wasn’t really very sure about this arena, but I attended at every opportunity.

I made time for it. I must say, it was well worth the time I spent and still spend there. AA didn’t teach me how to stop drinking, it pointed me in a direction to learn how to live without drinking. Next month, August 28th, 1999 I celebrate one year of sobriety and it’s been the best of my 51 years. There is life after alcohol.

The story is factual and now here goes my opinion and it is mine alone. What worked for me may not work for you, but I think it will. The 12 steps are invaluable and are a very simple program to follow as long as one doesn’t make it a science or business or try to complicate it. I know alcoholism is recognized as a disease by practically everyone even the AMA.

I’m not totally convinced that it is a disease and I have my reasons for questioning that. You see, as innocent as it was I used alcohol as a fun thing. I always said I wouldn’t trust a man who wouldn’t take a drink.

Now I don’t trust me if I do. Alcohol is a drug and can alter the brain processes like many other drugs can. I won’t take codeine because it alters my thinking like alcohol and I do crazy things.

Am I a codeinic?

I don’t think so. Alcohol is a sociably acceptable chemical used my many to let their hair down, relax, forget the troubles of the day and so on. If it’s used for that too often the body becomes physiologically dependent on it and tells the old brain that it is needed.

Then the brain falls in line and starts thinking that it also needs it. The before you know it, BANG! you’re stuck in a trap where all the body functions think it has to have it to get by.

This is what I call “total addiction trap,” the one I had. I even became a planned drinker always making plans to never run out especially on the weekends. Alcohol becomes the crutch we use to deal with the things we don’t want to. It covers up the mysterious depression that we can’t recognize.

It is also a progressive fatal journey. My recovery began with a decision to stop killing myself and try to fix my life. I asked God for help and it was there. I became very honest with myself and started working on the problem areas in my life and started seeing some real fixes taking place.

I knew that things weren’t going to change to suit me so I had to make some changes to be able to deal with all the stresses, nitpickers, unfairs, financials, medicals, deaths, accidents, and all the other things that life deals out to me, you and every single human being on this planet from the beginning of time until it’s all over.

AA has been good to me and it really made a difference in my life. I didn’t stand on the outskirts and watch, I got very involved with my home group and have made some of the finest “real” friends that can be found anywhere. But, over time I felt that I needed something more. I won’t say I outgrew AA but I did want to take my recovery to the next level. I believe that I have gone from the basement to the top floor in my recovery and staying sober is simple for me.

There are some very good reasons why. I’m at the point where some things I hear in meetings go against my grain and I have to work on acceptance all the time. Everyone doesn’t feel the way I do and I have to be willing to accept that. I here allot that “I found God”, well He was never lost in the first place.

He’s everywhere you want Him to be. I hear, “While growing spiritually in this program”, and then the next breath is GD or other trash language and I can’t for the life of me make the connection.

In order to honestly grow spiritually, you must start with cleaning up your act. To take the name of God in vain is to ignore that which is holy and snatch the entertainment for that moment. Some people think it’s impressive to swear in a group of people.

Sorry, I can’t do that. Foul language demonstrates the presence of a limited vocabulary and often in rebellion not even knowing what there is to rebel about.

I believe AA was created by Bill W. in a fashion to be a generic approach to spiritually without offending those who think they don’t want to hear that God stuff…

Well, I believe the God stuff and had rather do that and get there, and find out that it wasn’t true than not believe it and find out that it was. I know you’re probably getting board with this so I’ll try to draw it to a close. My recovery is simple and is based on a few simple things.

If I keep my faith in God, ask him for strength do deal with everything life has to offer, bad and good, and I try my best to embrace each day with a positive attitude and not fall victim to negative thoughts, ask God to let me help someone today, show kindness and try to be a good person, I believe I’ll make it.

I won’t need any kind of drug to help me deal with things. My cat is sick, my x-wife wouldn’t let me have the kids this weekend, my car broke down, my boss made me mad today, that SOB pulled out in front of me and the list is endless.

Life is a parade of little snags. Deal with them! The best defense against drinking is a good offense.

Make the right plays. Life is about 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. Don’t react to it, act upon it and it will get easier and easier.

My real story is found in the book of Proverbs, chapter 23, verses 29 through 35. Read it and see if it’s not allot like yours. It’s my story and I’m sticking to it. May God bless all the alcoholics in and out of recovery. I remain……….sober.