I grew up feeling different from others. I was always the kid that other kids made fun of and was horribly uncool. My home life was a bit dysfunctional, but not as bad as it could have been.. Mom had issues with mental illness and my Army Officer dad was strict but not around much. This all lead to a shy kid with little social skills.
When I started drinking in high school I immediately loved it. It coincided with my coming out as gay. I made friends and was able to relax and develop some social skills, only when drinking. Those were the days of disco and I had much fun dancing with the other gay guys and feeling a “part of” for the first time in my life. Booze was my friend and I was enjoying life.
Little did I know the booze that gave me such courage and social skills would nearly kill me. From age 17 to 24 I drank frequently and in excess, flunked out of college, lied, cheated, stole, was suicidal, even spent a night or two in jail, and become a monster of a miserable human being. I reverted to the shy kid with no social skills and was a daily drinker at home alone. At age 24 I went to a 7-week rehab and immediately drank when I got out. Didn’t learn a thing. Eventually after several tries something clicked and I became a faithful member of AA racking of 6 years of sobriety during which I became an RN and a born-again Christian (my sprititual life tends to lean towards other areas, and I can no longer claim to be a Christian, although the life of Jesus continues to inspire me). Life was really good and things had finally turned around for me.
When I moved to Florida I decided to ditch my program and started drinking again. I forgot that I was an alcoholic and wanted to be “normal” and thought I could handle it. Two years of drinking later I found out I couldn’t. After a blackout where I woke up the day after Thanksgiving, I cried out yet again for help and have been sober 11 years since.
I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be clean and sober. I have so such a gratitude for life and health. Sometimes that shy insecure guy is there, but for the most part I’ve changed 100% for the better.
Each day I thank God that I’m sober and pray to stay that way. I can not for one moment deny that if I drink again, I will become addicted again and I may not make it back this time.
I still go to AA meetings, usually once a week, and I surround myself with recovering alcoholic friends (but not exclusively) to keep me accountable. I love talking to and helping other alcoholics in recovery. I realize there are many ways to get sober, but AA is the one that worked for me, so I’ll stick with them.
Being sober isn’t always easy, but life isn’t easy. Nothing has ever been so bad that I haven’t been able to make it through sober the last 11 years.
I could go on and on and on and write a book, but I’ll spare the reader, and if you’ve read this far, I’m thankful.
I would love to hear from other nurses in recovery about your story and journeys in recovery because it will help me. I encourage you to make a post with your story.