I really have to trace it back to what was happening back in July of 2008. My drinking had escalated to the point where my wife just couldn’t and didn’t want to deal with it anymore.
Now before I go on to tell you what happened at this time, it’s important to give you a brief history of my drinking progression up to that point. As I’ve stated previously, I think that for many people, the reason why
you initially drank and the emotional state that you were in, are often radically different than where you were on both of those fronts by the time you seek help. My conclusions on my personal path regarding these matters didn’t really crystalize until after I stopped drinking.
When I started drinking/drugging as a 12/13 year old, I believe anyway, that is was to reduce a social anxiety that had pretty much been a part of my makeup for as far back as I can remember. I was an
extremely late developer as a result of having been born premature. I had speech issues as a little boy and when it was time for the adolescent changes that occur with all boys at the beginning of their teen years, I was quite simply, behind the 8 ball. I looked, acted and actually was physically way behind my
contemporaries. It made me extremely self-conscious and caused a feeling of inferiority. The very first drink I ever consumed (well maybe in was the 2nd or third that night) took those feelings away more or less instantly. I had found, or so I sadly thought, the answer to my quiet discontent. It became my lifestyle of choice and as a result I totally stunted normal growth in every other aspect of maturing. I didn’t pursue any extracurricular activities even though I showed great potential in quite a few of them. Academically I did just enough to get by and even then I’m not sure how I got through with the minimal amount of effort that
I put forth in school. I didn’t develop self-sufficiency, responsibility, ambition, empathy, social skills, or an appreciation of what living life as an adult entailed. As a result of all that, the social and all around anxiety that alcohol initially relieved, was actually exacerbated by lack of development in all of those areas.
So now we fast forward back to that July of 2008. My mental state at that time had progressed to that of a quiet desperation accompanied with varying degrees of depression. I had barely made any friends since we had moved to Maine a decade earlier. I hadn’t developed or pursued any hobbies or passions. I lived vicariously through my wife and my children. We hung out with her friends and I attended our children’s sporting events, scouting expeditions, etc…without developing much by the way of personal outside
interests. I didn’t care for my job all that much and the pressure to bring in #’s (Sales) always added to the
stress that I already felt.
So basically I wasn’t living, I was just going through the motions and pretty much dreading day to day existence. I sincerely LOVED my children and thought I loved my wife but in reality I never really developed
the skills to be proficient in an intimate relationship. So I drank to self-medicate and cover all of these underlying issues. It got worse and heavier over time. I wasn’t a yeller, a hitter or any of those abusive things. I would simply consume so much alcohol that by the time 9PM or so arrived, my body just conked out and I would pass out on the couch, crawl to bed at some point and get up for another daily repeat of the same.
In my wife’s own quiet desperation to find relief from this unfulfilling existence (totally my fault and I will never try to say otherwise), she started seeing a therapist who also as it would happen to turn out, was a
HUGE supporter of AA and 12-Step Rehabs. His advice to her and the ultimatum that was then presented to me was that in order to “possibly save” our marriage I had to do the following 2 things; 1-go to a 30 day in-patient rehab and 2-I had to move out of our house upon my return and “prove” to them that I could stay sober for a year on my own and then MAYBE, reconciliation was a possibility.
So even though I was thoroughly unhappy in every way, I didn’t want to lose my children or her at the time. So off I went to Minnesota and the country’s oldest and probably best known rehab; Hazelden. Now I had tried AA and the 12 Steps before and it didn’t work for me. You probably know why by now but in a nutshell it 1-Felt all wrong (and was) and it didn’t address ANY of my underlying issues that were outlined above. None of that changed in Minnesota either. That being said, I did feel “great” when I left there to come home. Of course I felt great; I hadn’t had a drink in 30 days (actually more because I quit a week before going), I was eating and exercising well and had made a bunch of friends.
So when the plane landed and my wife picked me up, I honestly thought that she would have a change of heart, see how well I looked, felt and acted and would give me a chance. It didn’t happen. I got home and packed a suitcase and moved out the next morning. Not exactly the loving and nurturing environment that one would think one needed upon leaving an inpatient stay.
Anyway, I was determined to live up to the bargain and prove myself to my family and Dr. Bob. My demise was inevitable for the following reasons;
*1- I was made to feel like a leper whenever I went to visit my
children in our home. My wife treated me with a cold and hard indifference that
was embraced by my kids as well. I don’t blame them at all, how could they have
*2-Daily attendance of AA was a condition of “our deal” and as I
said, it didn’t work before and it wasn’t going to work
*3-My underlying conditions and issues had not been addressed and
naturally they once again resurfaced with even greater velocity and
So I fought the good fight for a few months until all of the above drove me to a F it attitude whereby I just threw my hands up or rather around the bottle and didn’t look back. It was a steady slide down and culminated in May/June of 2010 where 3 huge events brought me to a precipice.
1-My divorce was finalized so any chance of reconciliation and
ever living with my children again was off the
2-I was laid off from my job. They said it was because my teeny
little department just wasn’t generating enough revenue but truth be told, the
fact that I smelled like a vodka factory HAD to have something to do with it.
They were just the nicest company and people ever and I believe they really just
wanted to show kindness and not go there.
3-May landlord decided that he and his fiancé were going to move
back in and that I therefore had to move
So there I was, essentially homeless, jobless, and loveless with very few job prospects in the Maine economy and brand new alimony/child support payments that were due in a matter of weeks. I was as low as I’ve ever been and just giving up and letting a sad conclusion take its course was an easy and very seriously considered option. The other option, however, embracing life and CHANGING everything was the other one. I’m here so obviously I wasn’t ready to pack it in yet. I still had a glimmer of hope. I knew that I wouldn’t make it where I was. Having been originally from the NY City area my prospects for finding employment in a reasonable amount of time to fulfill my financial obligations were about 1000 times better there. Plus, I had a place to go with family to get my feet underneath me. Then when you add the pain of living in the same town as my kids and their wanting absolutely nothing to do with me, the decision to leave wasn’t all that hard. I was no good for anybody there at that point and I saw it as my only viable option with a chance of success.
So I packed my car with my few meager belongings, bought a half gallon of vodka and headed south. This was July 2nd, 2010. I knew that my last drink would be on July 4th. Why, because it had to stop for any chance of success and I figured it was as good a day as any and gave me 2 days to taper down. July 3rd I knocked it down to about a pint and then on the 4th about the same culminating with my last drink ever----A yummy scotch on the rocks standing on the deck of the Sagamore Yacht Club. I raised my glass to the air, looked at my mother and her best friend and said “Cheers, we’re done here”.
That was it, I made a choice. Now the journey began. I was right about the job market because within a month I found a well-paying sales rep job in the advertising specialties industry which afforded me the ability to move into my own apartment shortly thereafter. I took the time to look back at my life and figure out some of those underlying issues and address them, learn, mature, grow. I read anything and everything about psychology, human nature, addiction, philosophy and existentialism, religion, etc…. I haven’t stopped
doing that ever since. Evolving, growing, understanding, etc… is a lifelong process and the day we think we’ve got it all down is the day we stop the path to enlightenment.
I’m a work in process. Aren’t we all? My life today and since that July evening a little over three years ago has been nothing short of amazing. I’m engaged to the love of my life. I’ve revisited those talents that I never developed in my youth. I’m a better athlete, guitar player, father, lover, etc… than I ever was before. I consume life with a passion and joy that I didn’t know existed. I empathize and truly listen to and care about my fellow man. I am NOT an alcoholic anymore…..I’m just me and happy at that.
Peace to you all