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Thread: My Story

  1. #1
    and I'm an alcoholic. Jesse's Avatar
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    My Story

    I always felt different than everyone else as a child, and never really fit in. I was shy and fat, and had few friends. That started to change the summer before I started my senior year in high school. I worked at a fast food joint and when the closing crew got off work at midnight we headed for the lake where we partied, and swam until 3 or 4 AM. Then we would head back to town and take over one of the Denny's-like restaurants and laugh until almost dawn. All of this I did sober because I was a good kid and followed the rules. A couple of my new friends made it a goal one night to get me drunk. It was great! I was actually mad when I realized how great drinking was. All this time all those adults had been drinking and telling us kids how bad it was, and if we drank we'd end up dead for any number of reasons. All those after school specials depicted anyone my age that ever touched alcohol to immediately turn in to a raging alcoholic who couldn't function without a drink. I called bull shit on that. Drinking was wonderful. I loved the way it made me feel and I set out to do it as often as I could!

    It didn't take long before I was a daily drinker. Even though I had been introduced to alcohol by this somewhat tight knit group of co-workers that I hung out with after work, I quickly started hanging out with one particular co-worker whose mother would buy us beer and leave it waiting for us in his apartment over their garage. Every weekend found us heading back to his house after work, and on school nights, I'd shotgun a few beers I stole from my dad’s fridge in our garage. I never drank before school or work, but I did take to smoking pot before those events. Life was good. I went to school, worked two jobs (about 54 hours a week), partied daily, and still had money.

    Around the time I turned 21, I stopped smoking pot, booze was now legal for me (shots of Jose Cuervo washed down with Bud was my drink of choice) and my career required occasional drug testing. Pot was always a take it or leave it thing for me anyway. I'd smoke it for months, then just get bored with it and not even think about it for a month or so. My career took off and before long I was making tons of money, and spending most of it on booze. I worked hard and I partied hard. I always knew in the back of my mind that eventually I'd have to cut down on the drinking, but figured I'd just grow out of it. After all, wasn't it normal for college age guys to party half the night every night? I always figured as long as I could make it to work in the morning, and as long as I was a success, then I didn't have a problem.

    Some years later I married a girl who I thought drank as much as me. Turns out she was just trying to keep up with me. I got tired of being away from home for work and changed careers. I no longer made nearly the money I did before, and decided we needed to cut down on our drinking. Besides we both became Christians and while we don't think drinking is immoral or sinful, we did believe that drinking to the point of drunkenness was, and we certainly drank past that!

    We tried all the usual methods we alcoholics try. To name just a few methods we tried, 'just having a few', 'just drinking beer', 'just drinking wine', 'only drinking on the weekend', 'joining clubs and making obligations that we couldn't drink until afterwards'. Nothing worked. Drinking just beer resulted in drinking a 30-pack a night instead of a 6-pack to wash the tequila down with, drinking wine ended up in drinking 2 1.5 liter bottles and heading to town for tequila. Not drinking until after club meetings just meant not getting to bed until 3 AM instead of the 10 PM I had trained myself to be in bed by in order to make it to work at 6 AM.

    Eventually we decided we just needed to quit drinking. At first our dry spells would last weeks or even months, but inevitably I would come home with a bottle to 'celebrate' something. Or, someone at work would piss me off, or she'd piss me off, and I'd 'need a drink'. Every time we quit drinking, the dry period would be shorter than the last time. Every time, I would have a little less hope than the last time, that this would be the time I quit for good. The periods on the wagon got shorter and shorter until I never went more than a day or two without giving in to the temptation, and finally the last year or so of my drinking, I never missed more than a night of drinking at a time, and that was maybe a once a month occasion.

    I would wake up in the morning feeling fine (I never got hangovers anymore but did for the first time in my life start having occasional ‘black outs’ of the night before) but remorseful for the money I had spent on booze the night before. I would swear off drinking for good, and pray to God that he would take this addiction from me. By noon I’d be thinking about a drink and telling myself that I wasn’t going to buy a bottle. After work I’d punch out and stand at the entrance to my work just flat arguing (silently) with myself about stopping for a bottle. Sometimes co-workers would ask what I was doing and I would tell them I was trying to remember if I need to get anything for dinner or not. I remember one of the arguments I used on myself was, “You’ve failed every other time you tried to quit, you’re just going to fail again. Why are you making yourself miserable putting off the inevitable, just get a bottle and at least you can be happy tonight. You can quit tomorrow.”

    I don’t know how many times I had that argument with myself, and even if I would win the argument and drive home without stopping, it would only be a matter of a few hours at home before I would find some reason to get upset about something and storm off, back to town, to the liquor store. I had prayed for God to keep me from taking that next drink and then turned around and bought the drink myself so many times that I was embarrassed to talk to God anymore. I just knew I was a failure and week willed. I mean, how hard is it to NOT do something? Yet I failed every time. I was embarrassed to talk to God because I thought that I must just not want to stop drinking. I thought that if I really wanted to quit I would have had more will power.

    Then I started having a pain in my side, sort of a cramp like feeling. I noticed it in bed when I turned over. At first I thought nothing of it, and then when it didn’t go away I thought it must be some sort of hernia. Eventually the pain kept getting worse and was accompanied by a perpetual case of the runs. I finally did some research on the internet and determined it was the beginnings of the second stage of alcoholic liver disease (the first state has no symptoms), and was more than likely reversible if I quit drinking.

    This was it I figured. This was the point where I really had no choice but quit drinking or die! I couldn’t believe it, it had come so suddenly. After all those years of trying to and wanting to quit, I now absolutely had to quit drinking. My wife and I talked about it, and this time we really meant it. This time we were done drinking, for good!

    The next afternoon found me drunk again! I was devastated. For all I knew drinking could kill me in a month or two, and here I was drinking again. I went on this way for a couple of weeks, quitting “for real, I swear”, every day or two, only to end up drunk the next day. Eventually I gave up. I realized that I was powerless over alcohol and I was going to die. The only choice I had now was if I was going to keep drinking until my health failed and I couldn’t work, and started piling up medical bills to leave for my wife, or just kill myself now.

    I would like to say I chose to commit suicide out of some heroic effort to spare my wife the medical bills, and debt that I would end up leaving her with, but while that was part of my reasoning, my real motivation was the fact that I realized that anything short of locking myself in a motel room and drinking myself to death (if I could) would eventually result in some hospital or institution physically preventing me from drinking, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to die an alcoholic death while sober!

    So, one night, we got liquored up, and after my wife passed out I started searching on the internet for ways to kill myself. I wanted it to be painless, and I wanted it to look like an accident. In the process of typing in different search strings, I ended up on an addiction recovery forum like this one. I read introduction posts from others like myself, who were baffled by their inability to stop drinking, and I read replies by people who seemed to have the same problem but had found a way to sober up.

    Most of these people replying were Alcoholics Anonymous members, and they were like a light bulb in my head, “Duh! I forgot about AA!” I thought. I had mentioned AA to my wife before and she didn’t want any part of it, so I dismissed the idea. Now in this time of redoubled effort to quit drinking, I hadn’t even remembered AA existed. I thought, well if I’m going to kill myself, I might as well attend an AA meeting first. Long story short, I spent the next couple of weeks lurking on that forum, and eventually got up the nerve to post a much briefer introduction than this one.

    I mentioned the part about my wife refusing to try AA, and someone said to me, “Just assume your wife is going to be stinking drunk every day for the rest of your life. You need to quit drinking for yourself. Who knows, maybe she will follow your example.”

    Well I finally did it, after a couple of weeks of reading that forum, and a few hours of posting and reading replies, I went to my first AA meeting on a Saturday afternoon while my wife was at work. In that hour I found that I had found my new home, where I belonged, and others understood exactly what life was like for me and who I was, even if I didn’t!

    The rest as they say is history. I’ve been in AA for almost two years, and have been sober for almost 19 months! That’s about 570 days in a row! Shortly after coming to AA I finally recovered from the runs. I had had them for about 5 – 6 months, and had lost about 70 pounds in that time, all awhile eating anything in site! I truly owe my life to Alcoholics Anonymous, the people in my home group, my sponsor, the many people who started that other forum and the ones who posted on it, and most of all to God and His grace!
    Sober by the grace of God since Feb. 6, 2010
    Que sera, sera.
    May God bless you and keep you as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny,
    Jesse

  2. #2
    Crowd Heckler MrMarty51's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesse View Post
    I went to my first AA meeting on a Saturday afternoon while my wife was at work. In that hour I found that I had found my new home, where I belonged, and others understood exactly what life was like for me and who I was, even if I didn’t!

    And,so it seems,was the way I felt about My first meeting,absolutely unexplainable,My feelings even before that first meeting ended.

  3. #3
    poster mas voluminous
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    I felt much the same but had a different reaction--terrified that they could guess what I was down deep. It took a lot of practice and some daring expose's before I found out that I did not need to be so embarrassed about what I was. And I'm not that any more. But then maybe I never was.

    Humility is knowing what I am---And what I'm not. I had a very inaccurate perception in the beginning. I thought I was basically good but misunderstood. Now? Basically good like everyone else and fairly average.

  4. #4
    Crowd Heckler MrMarty51's Avatar
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    Good one Lance.

  5. #5
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    Thanks I enjoyed reading this post

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Lance B. View Post
    Humility is knowing what I am---And what I'm not. I had a very inaccurate perception in the beginning. I thought I was basically good but misunderstood. Now? Basically good like everyone else and fairly average.
    that's good news Lance, keep it up! :)
    "There's nothing wrong with being a loser, it just depends on how good you are at it."

    - Billie Joe Armstrong

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