My Alcohol Struggles
Before I go any further into my story I’d like to explain the type of Drinker I had become.
There are different types of Alcoholics, some need to self medicate and have a need for Alcohol 24 hrs a day and there are the Binge drinkers which is the category I fall into. During the years that I drank I’d always find excuses to party and have a good time. Alcohol had become so ingrained in my life that every chance I had to have a beer I’d have it. I always had beer on hand just in case someone stopped by and wanted one, lol! I always worked and strived to be the best at whatever I did, and along the way I had earned a lot of accolades for my achievements but after work or on the weekends I played hard too! Once my Ex wife had been promoted to Vice President of her company and they gave her the promotion at a very fancy shindig. Well I was pulled aside by some of the husbands I had come to know and they were members of this fancy establishment so we ended up in the Club House smoking Cigars and having our share of Drinks. I remember that we went back to the Club house because it was the night the Heisman trophy was given to Eddie George. Well hell that was cause for celebration in its self, laugh out loud! When all of the hoopla had ended after they announced Eddie the winner, we had to return to the party. CRAP! I had a blast with my buddies but MAN!!! I failed my Wife!!! Since this was such a formal deal they went around the room and took pictures of everyone and when we received ours, there I was with a Pie eyed look! My wife looked Beautiful and professional and there I was a wreck….nice right?
I know I might be all over the place in this blog, but years of drinking are hard to condense into a short article. So with that being said, I right ow, sitting here righting this, am realizing a lot of things about my life! What I realize about the dinner situation I just shared with you is that I was very unhappy with where I was in my own life! Even though I had received awards for being the an outstanding employee or for setting records in the company, I still knew deep down inside I was better than where I was in my life! My wife’s career was taking off but I was being held in check and being told that I needed to keep the job I had for security reasons, while all along I wanted to do some crazy great things!
Alcohol seems to find those of us who feel unfulfilled, sad, empty or lonely and is more than happy to lead us to believe it can fill whatever void we might have in our lives. It can’t be done!!! We may escape for a minute but when we sober up our problems are still there but only FESTERING!
OK back to my story.
After my 2nd DUI I continued to drink as if I had never had an issue. Beer had grabbed a hold of me so tight that I thought I had become a professional drunk driver. Just the sound of that and having to write that makes me want to puke!!!
Yeah that was me…. The guy out there swerving down the road. Ya want to hear something absolutely crazy? I have friends that still risk it and their like “Dude you just have to make sure you use your turn signals, drive the speed limit and get home before dark”. WHAT? Even though I still have friends like that I’m also proud to say that I have friends that have joined me in giving up the sauce!
Now we have our coffee hour!
In the spring of 2012, after being in business 12 yrs., I decided to run a couple of ads to grow my customer base. What started out as a couple of ds ended up being four that all hit at the same time, even though that wasn’t the plan. Man we were on TV, we were on the front page of the Life section of the newspaper, A nice colorful flyer was mailed out, and I did a promotional add that wasn’t explained completely to me and caused me to operate in the red for the first half of the year. My company, in just two days acquired 350 new customers. On top taking a loss from this one particular add agency, quite a few of these newly acquired customers didn’t pay what was agreed upon in the add either. I was losing my Ass!!! I still had to cover payroll, fuel, & materials without cutting corners on our product and service! Sooo everyone, I’m proud to say, was taken care of correctly, the Customers and my Employees. I was able to put my head on my pillow every night and know that I was still operating in an ethical manner! And REALLY REALLY I’m very proud of the fact that I didn’t have to jeopardize my integrity. During this whole time I was SCARED to death! The nights of putting my head on my pillow in my own home were drawing to an end if I didn’t do something financially, I had fallen 7 months behind on my mortgage. Everyone was telling me to file bankruptcy BUT I just don’t have QUIT in me! Well, since I had learned at a young age to use drinking as a coping skill, I started leaning on Beer for all of the wrong reasons and found myself hanging at a local bar almost every night. I just wanted to be around someone… anyone!
My drinking continued but I kept my head down and worked my ass off to recover and I did. It was August before I could get caught up but I did and stayed current for a month or two until I found myself falling behind again due to winter. I used to stock pile money during my busy time to carry me through until the next season, but since I had operated in the red for so long, due to the spring adds, accruing money was impossible.
While all of this going on, my Mortgage lender was calling and sending people by my house leaving letters and taking pictures of my home. I applied twice to get relief on my mortgage and to have them restructure my loan to only be denied. A little while later, after I had temporarily recovered, they stop the foreclosure procedures. The ripple effect though, caused from my poor business decisions on the marketing, and was still causing me to fall behind again. It wasn’t long before I found myself behind a few months on payments, but we were still grinding at work to try and recover, the only problem is that I have to put a lot of money out up front in materials with the hopes it will come back in with payments from customers. I couldn’t just quit!!! During this time my drinking was escalating and to make things worse, I hired my nephew who had just returned from a couple of deployments to Iraq and he was dealing with his own issues and guess what? He loved to drink to escape and….. He also loved to smoke.
So now I have a drinking buddy and now he’s introducing Pot back into my life. Holy Crap if things weren’t already bad enough! Well after I made my new hire, I was able to turn some responsibility over to him so that I could get other things done to generate more of an income. Well it wasn’t long before I again recovered from the deficit on my mortgage….. but at what expense?
During this whole process I was losing any bit of dignity that I had left. I hated myself!!! It was so bad that anytime I’d drink or drink in excess my Daughters, bless their hearts, would remind me how much I would hate myself the next day. I had had a pretty good life up until some poor decisions and drinking started to take me down. I had now become a regular at a friend’s house whose motto was we drink till the beers gone not to mention he too was fond of the stuff that Killed Elvis! Things got so bad that when my nephew would show up, there were a couple of times I gave him some clean clothes and told him to shower and we went to the movies because we were hung over. NEVER, NEVER in my life would I have ever dreamed I would do something like that! I was going down the toilet, I was growing very tired!!! We kept pressing ahead and, like I mentioned before, I eventually got caught up again on my mortgage just in time for me to implode!
My Daughter had moved back in earlier in the year but she was working a lot so we didn’t see each other much but one night when she was there, I came home from getting my Buzz on and I walked in grabbed a beer and head out to my local hang out. As soon as I left my driveway she called me and asked were in the F?$& I was going? So I turned around and came back home. My brain had left the building! I had turned into a Total failure! Every day it seemed as though I operated in a fog and a state of denial.
On the 24th of October I headed into town to get some supplies for the company and afterward I stopped at Roosters to have wings and a couple of beers. After I finished my wings and beers I was ready to leave when my neighbor came in. He kept sliding me tall beers and I wasn’t refusing them. After a couple of hours I left and headed home but instead of going home I went to my local watering whole. Ya see, that’s what I did, once I got started I didn’t want the party to end. Sucks! Upon arrival at my local establishment, I was automatically shut down…. No way could this be happening! These people were my friends I thought……I was right and that’s exactly why they shut me off. I had never had a cross word with anyone at any bar before, but on this particular night I did! I stormed out and drove back to my place to realize I had lost my phone. I called the bar I had just left and they said they couldn’t find it , so what did I do…..I grabbed my Daughters small dog put on my slippers…that’s right slippers, and drove all of the way back to Roosters to get my phone. So I walk into Roosters with my buzz on and wearing slippers just to find it was a wasted trip. They didn’t have my phone. In leaving the restaurant for the second time, I took an unfamiliar way home and came upon a 90% corner and after a quick drunk assessment, I thought, since there were no oncoming cars that I should try to swing wide and try to save my Jeep from rolling. What I didn’t realize was that on the far side of the road, there was a pretty good drop off that when I went into it my Jeep rolled a few times before coming to a stop on its hood in the middle of the road with gas leaking all around me. I could hear people screaming I smell gas, I smell gas and one lady near the car asking if anyone was alive. I’m very ashamed to say that as I hung upside down in my seat belt, I asked God to just let me die. At that point in time, I was exhausted, tired from the fight with drinking and knew that things were going to get pretty bad! In looking back though, I believe that, that night God reached down and grabbed a hold of me and said ……what you are about to go through is going to hurt quite a bit but you are going to come out of this a MUCH better Man!
So after the Ambulance took be to the hospital, the State Highway Patrol was there to greet me. She explained to me all of my rights but I just didn’t care anymore! I conceded to whatever test they wanted to give me, I just wanted to wake up from this nightmare!!! I even admitted to all of my guilt because I was SCREAMING for HELP!!! YA see earlier in the year around late spring and early summer, I was attending AA meetings. Nobody knew but me. I would attend but I had a real hard time saying I was an Alcoholic. See in my mind I wasn’t anything like those poor losers that couldn’t handle their booze I was just there looking for tips on how to manage my drinking. You know something that could help me cut back a little. NUTS but that’s the way your Alcoholic brain thinks! So what I did was attend a meeting, meet some people, and then shoot over to a friend of mines fine establishment and sit on the patio and listen to outdoor music. Nothing wrong with that right? WRONG?…..remember….once the party started with me it was game on. Oh yeah….then I had to get home!!! GET the picture? It was a vicious cycle. And to top it off, I hated myself the next morning I was miserable.
During the time that the Law enforcement officers were there, my Daughter who was living with me showed up to see this TOTAL train wreck of a man!!! I can’t even capitalize man in the last sentence since I was barely able to still call myself that. I worked hard all of my life and had worked hard for the previous 13yrs to grow a family business that revolved around Character and Integrity. Over the last year of two, I somehow maintained the company’s reputation but I myself was a fraud! I never ever let any of my customers know about my personal life other than bragging on my Daughters!
What my Daughter had to witness that night had to have been terrifying, God bless her! She witnessed me (a chill just came over me as I write this, it’s hard!!!) hit rock bottom!!!!! I was a blubbering mess! I didn’t know what I was going to do or what was about to happen but I did know it wasn’t going to be easy especially since I had just loaded the prosecutions gun! I just wanted my life back! I didn’t care how I would get it. I was Scared to Death about everything I at that point in time had been reduced to SCUM! Alcohol put me here and I had nowhere to go but up.
OK now it’s time to Atone for what I had done.
After all of this happened, I couldn’t afford any hired help so I was on my own. I did the best I could to bring the year in but I started to fall behind again on my mortgage and if that wasn’t bad enough I ended up In January the following year, having to do 15 days in jail followed by 90 days of house arrest. So the spring of 2013 was very interesting to say the least. After the accident I really began to lean on God. I put all my faith in him that he had a purpose for my life and it wasn’t over yet. I knew now that without Alcohol interfering in my life the sky was the limit. I just had to get through what laid a head.
My faith grew stronger and stronger as well as my physical and mental state. Up until the accident I had a membership at LA fitness and went religiously even though I’d drink in the evenings. After all of this took place, I no longer could drive to the gym so I sat down with my bank statements and figured up how much money I was saving by not drinking and going out all of the time and came up with enough money to put a full blown gym in my basement where I currently hang out a lot!
The day following the accident, one of my Daughters clients, who was in her 1st year of sobriety, reached out to me and offered to take me to a Sunday morning AA meeting where she introduced me to someone she thought would be a good sponsor for me. After the meeting, she walked me over and introduced me to this gentleman who I thought looked awfully familiar. After he said the same about me, we had realized we used to be drinking buddies over the years at a Bar there in Dublin. Weird right?
Anyway he invited me to breakfast at a restaurant right there near the meeting were we both got to know a little bit about each other. As the conversation went on, he obviously noticed my diluted thought process. See, even though I was screaming for help, my sick wharped mind kept coming up with this total Bull Shit about everything. I’ll NEVER forget this because it was the best thing anyone could have done for me. He, in front of quite a few people in the restaurant, said to me loudly enough for all around us to here, “When you’re done F%$*&#! Wasting my time let me know” and he started to get up and leave. WOW! I literally started sweating and got teary eyed. Right then and there, I was PUT in my place! BAM! Thank God for this Man because that was the only thing that was going to work. I, after my accident, wanted more than ever to quit, but without that comment, I don’t really know how well I’d have done. After our meeting, the young lady that took me to my first meeting attended a few more around town with me all times of the night and day. I went to as many as I could find and initially found a home at a 7:15 AM meeting in downtown Dublin. This is where I cried, was consoled and made great friends! Some of the great phrases shared with me came from this group. What I was quick to notice was that there was a papery of professional people in this room. Most movies or shows like to paint a picture of dark room’s basements or whatever with the dregs of society, well that’s just not the way it works. Just Know THIS that Alcoholism is nothing to be ashamed of. There are a lot more people than you can even imagine that are battling this disease every day! The Sunday morning meeting I attended on my first day is where I can be found every Sunday. It’s very upbeat and I like to remind everyone in the room that, there is a huge % of the population that wants what we have, so don’t be ashamed, be PROUD that we are BAD ASSES getting our lives back! We can now enjoy the simple things in life, a simple fresh breeze, a sunrise, a great conversation with someone, waking up in the morning and feeling like we did when we were kids AND being able to let OUR INNER LIGHT SHINE without it being obstructed from Alcohol like a lamp shade!
In late spring 2013, after falling behind again earlier in the year on my mortgage, my 3rd attempt to work with my mortgage company to have them help me save my home was a success! I got so used to the FedEx guy delivering my bad news that I just grabbed to the envelope off the door and walked into the kitchen. As I pulled out the letter. It read “We are happy to inform you that you have been accepted”. You have no idea!!! My knees almost went out from under me! While I was drinking, it’s odd that nothing on the application had changed. The only difference is that I quit drinking and maintained my faith in God! God definitely has a plan!
He Definitely showed favor on me that day!!!
Most people drink because deep down inside they are running from something. PLEASE listen to me! By hiding behind alcohol your problems don’t go away they only fester and get much worse.
Since I’ve been Sober I’ve had to face my problems head on. That may seem like what I should have done all along, but some of these problems got pretty BIG! Aside from Dealing with restrictions that were put on me and my ability to run a business, like Yellow plates on my company vehicle and limited working hours. I’m also facing some Tax issues that have piled up over the years. I currently have attorneys and people in place to help with this stuff but as soon as I thought I was seeing light at the end of the tunnel, other hurdles were thrown at me. After two years of a 3yr suspension on my license do to my 3rd DUI, I was doing as well as possible, just enough to stay afloat with the business and my personal life. Just recently though, all of the stars aligned and I found myself in a violation of my driving privileges. I was pulled over due to my spreader for work obstructing my yellow tags and then one thing led to another. There are requirements that I have to abide by to maintain my privileges and I was confused on something’s. I put my driving privileges in my glove box with the intentions of NEVER needing to pull them out for anything.
I’m a little over a year away from being through this and I can only put my FAITH in God as I’ve done all along.
I Will Persevere!!!
The piece of advice that worked best for me was:
Worry about where you feet are right now! Not the future or the past, make the current moment your best!
If you are reading this and think that in any way you may be heading for trouble or you’re currently struggling with drugs or alcohol. Please know that God DOES have a plan for your life! There are just forces in this world that will do anything and everything to prevent Your Beautiful light from shining!
The only way to defeat Darkness is to Shine more Light!
Your Beautiful light is desperately needed in this world!
BE A BAD ASS and reach out for help, it’s all around you!!!
All of the things you are feeling and thinking that keep causing you to stumble and fall are TOTAL deceptions!!!
Please believe that at one point I didn’t think it was in any way shape or form possible to give up Beer! Are you kidding! Everyone around you doesn’t drink and as a matter of fact, you’ll find that fewer people drink than what you think!
So the idea that drinking helps you fit in or be cool is Total BULL SHIT! It doesn’t!
And Oh Yeah all of the football commercials, Beer this, and Beer that….. Screw them! Let me tell you, now I can watch a game and still have my wits about me so that I can go out and enjoy the rest of the day. If you think getting obliterated at tailgate parties and what not is cool, think about this.
Not all but quite a few people are just going down to tailgate as an excuse to self medicate….hmmmm?
I’m just trying to drive the point across that you don’t have to drink to fit in. As a matter of fact, I can recall when I used to drink. I’d look at the guy not drinking and wondered how he did it because in all actuality, that’s what I wanted to do but I just didn’t think it was possible. Guess What It Is! I remember when I stood next to a Police officer at one of my AA meetings and he shared his addiction to pain pills and his path to recovery. He told me, you’ll look back in a year from now and laugh. Believe me right then and there I wanted to believe him so bad! Well here I am 2yrs later and although I’m facing some things in my life that are repercussions of my drinking days, I’m doing Sober.
I TRULY love you with all of my heart and want nothing more than to see you smile again!
Don’t overwhelm yourself, do it a day at a time you’ll get there.
If I can do it, Honest to God, so can you!!!