My recovery began in a church – where I walked in drunk, and hopeless. From there, after twenty years of drinking daily, I finally found myself in a detox and then residential treatment. But it wasn’t as simple as that:
I started drinking “late” by many alcoholic standards, I was out of high school and alcohol seemed to be the wonder drug that made me fit in. I found myself at ease in social settings, and able to relate to others on a much more comfortable basis. It was in short order, that I began drinking daily – a routine that would continue for a decade and well past the point of no return.
At first, you couldn’t have told me I had a problem, then – when by all appearances, I already couldn’t stop, you still couldn’t have told me anything. My bills were paid, my rent was paid, I had a job – I DIDN’T HAVE A PROBLEM! But I did: And it began to manifest itself in financial problems, then two divorces and an ever-escalating depression.
By then end, and after two failed attempts at treatment, I found myself homeless – living from a car that held every possession I owned. A car, that remained only because the finance company couldn’t find it. I bounced from couch-to-couch, until actually being homeless: living in a tent, illegally camping wherever I could. I still – even at this point – couldn’t get a drink out of my hand. The physical addiction to booze created withdrawals that would start within hours of stopping. I would wake to horrible shakes, that could only be calmed after the first or second drink. I had lost more than 80lbs and at six-foot tall weighed a measly 134lb. In addition, I was willing to try anything to feel better - and began expanding my usage to cocaine, and methamphetamine - though alcohol remained my drug-of-choice.
It was here, that I walked into that church – desperate, and knowing that something had to change but self-resigned to the fact I might just die the way I was. Either way seemed acceptable as the thought of staying the same was no longer a life I could live. It was, in my strong belief, the hand of God that guided me through the next few weeks and found me in a detox, with pancreatitis and an enlarged liver, on a journey that would take 10 days before I was stable enough to transfer to a residential treatment facility. I was broken – but more importantly, and as cliché as it sounds – I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
The next sixty-days spent in residential treatment changed my life. Not only because of the amazing people I met, and a staff that took recovery seriously, but because I was ready and willing to do whatever it took not to go back. I listened, I read and I worked a program of recovery – at first learning to do so in the safety of that residential facility knowing it (if I allowed it) would carry outside those walls. And it did.
More than two years now (2 years, 4 months and 12 days as of this letter) I continue to grow in my recovery, practicing daily the principles and steps that saved my life. My marriage is stronger than ever, my kids are back in my life, my company is taking off and my life has been given back to me. Pried from the grips of addiction, and taken back from the darkest days that allowed me to compromise my self-respect and self-worth, I live today because of recovery. It isn’t a random word, or even an action – it’s a lifestyle. A lifestyle that not only saves lives, but makes them better.
Today, I proudly proclaim my place in the Recovery community – as an example of what the practice and principles can do for anyone. It is a remarkable and unexplainable gift – Recovery – and it gives itself to anyone willing: May you find the same peace and prosperity, health and happiness that I, and millions of other have found, by practicing it.