Voices for Recovery
My experience with alcohol started at 17 when I shared a quart of vodka with my best friend. We consumed it in less than a half hour, an episode when perhaps the seeds of alcoholic drinking were sown. When I entered military college, I quickly fell in with an experimental group of cadets. There were warning signs that there was danger ahead, but my blinders were still on. When I got married, drinking was for the most part social. It was not until I hit a single life again after my divorce that my drinking and drug use went into high gear.
For about 5 years I became a running fanatic, and I can recall some friends asking me what I was running away from. I often scoffed at them, telling myself they just had no clue. However, it was me who had no clue. I went from a chubby 214 pounds to a borderline anorexic at 138 pounds. At age 30, a new group of friends introduced me to cocaine and the downward spiral was in full speed.
After some time, I stopped using cocaine, but my drinking began to escalate. I essentially replaced one drug for another. Drugs and alcohol ruined me financially, physically, and spiritually. My reputation went from a man admired for his brain and running prowess to someone that people joked about behind my back. I never gave my employers my best even though I did not get fired in any of the many positions I held. My alcoholism never brought me to rehab or a DWI, although this may not have been the case had I continued down this path. My tenure in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) (http://www.aa.org) began on August 28, 1989, a date that will live in my own infamy. Fortunately for me, I have not had a relapse. I know that I have been blessed to remain sober to this day more than 23 years later.
To coin an old phrase – my life has changed in oh so many ways. I never wake up with a hangover or remember what I might have said the night before that might have been misguided. At the end of most days, I can lay my head down and fall asleep knowing that I have given the world my best effort. In sobriety, I was able to earn a second college degree in psychology, and I am currently enrolled as a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) in training and hope to finish that certificate by the middle of 2013. My intention is to become an alcohol and substance abuse counselor because I know that my experience can be a wonderful way for me to give back to the sober life I now live.