I’ve never held anyone at knife point, begging for beer money. I’ve never woke up in the morning with the shakes and sweats, and the only cure was a long swig from one of the whisky bottles surrounding the bed. I’ve never put my family out of house and home due to my alcoholic ways. I’ve never underwent rehab. I’ve never lost my children to family services over my addiction. I’ve never been unable to hold down a job because of it.
So I must not really be an actual alcoholic. Yay! Or wait a minute… am I??
I have felt lost and not in control at times in regards to alcohol. I have seen my intake double (possibly near triple) over the past year and a bit. I have been addressed by my teenage son that I needed to stop. I have fought on countless occasions with my wife while under the influence, even involving police involvement. I have quit jobs largely in part to the daily hangovers and the illusion that I can easily find more work, just as easily as I can stop drinking.
I had literally, for the past decade add a year, been telling myself, “Tonight’s the last night”. It had become the biggest, baddest bad habit I’ve ever had in my life. Financially, I wasn’t even in a great place that I could, per say, afford it. I would just act like it was a near daily staple, just like bread or milk, but not.
It held such a dark side. I wasn’t okay with it. I had it inside me that it wasn’t necessary and I shouldn’t be doing it. I had it inside me that the hangover, the money spent, the hiding it from my children, the not caring about my job performance wasn’t worth the only good part of it all… the couple hour escape that it provided. I wasn’t stupid. But all those cons never once outweighed the one pro and I was stuck.
At one point, I came close to losing my wife and it involved me at an all time low.. a night in the drunk tank. My eyes were open 11 years ago but reality was never quite so biting as it was that night and the following morning. I remember walking home through the heavily falling snow, no longer having a wife and missing the first day of a new job. I remember the dread of telling my family and others knowing how bad I screwed up. I remember crying out to God; just bawling my eyes out on my hands and knees, feeling so empty.
My life is back on track since that bottom. I am sober now, as is my loving wife and we are heading in such a good direction. Education, meetings, church and church family, family and friends support has been instrumental in me finally being able to let go and walk away. God being our anchor has paved the way and will spell success for us every day, one day at a time. Easy times ahead? I wish but then again, steel sharpens steel so I choose not the easy road.
Life is life. A few steps ahead then a bunch back. The good with the bad and all that jazz. But somewhere in between, I can at least look at myself in the mirror and no longer lie, convincing myself “last time” over and again. Now, my reality can officially declare the last is truly in the past.