I can’t explain at what point my alcohol addiction got so out of control. The more I reflect on it, the more I realize it has slowly crept up and taken over different areas of my life in phases. High school and college seem like such a blur, but I know that is where my alcohol addition began. Like many people my drinking at first was for social reasons. My social drinking soon became binge drinking when I was started partying with friends. But after college when my friends and I got older, got jobs, got married (some started a family), they were able to stop their binge drinking and just drink socially again with their significant others. Unlike my friends, I was never able to stop my dependence on alcohol, and my alcohol addiction got even worse. I started having trouble at my job, and it began affecting my job performance. I remember intense mental cravings to get to my favorite pub as soon as possible right after work. Then it became a lunch break beverage (or 5), and eventually I needed to start my day off with some coffee and a hefty splash of whiskey.
In a matter of time I was blowing deadlines at work, missing meetings, and appearing “visibly intoxicated” around the office. Getting suspended and eventually laid off only gave me more time and an excuse to pursue my alcoholic hobby, along with totally minimizing my desire to get another job and get along with my life. Next on the list to go was my girlfriend. She kept warning me that I was drinking too much, had an alcohol addiction and had to make a choice between her and alcohol. My alcohol addiction made the choice for me; it told me that she was the problem, and she had to go. Strangely, during this whole time, I never really felt depressed or like I was losing control. Alcohol filled the void in my life perfectly, and even though I knew I was drinking like a sailor more with each passing day, I never considered it an issue.
Fast forward 3 years and I literally couldn’t even start the day without downing a fifth of rum, at the ready on my bedside table drawer. Arrested development had long set in, and I was living the life of a hermit working only enough odd jobs to support my drinking habit. My alcohol addiction was essentially a vacuum in my life, a vacuum with no off switch that simply inhaled every dollar and possession I had to support it. I was beyond the point of looking back I thought, and far past the point of starting over. Totally defeatist and full of self-pity, I gave up on everything. And right when I needed it the most, my family hit me with an alcohol intervention.
By the end of it I was almost speechless with emotion and found myself realizing the nature of my addiction from a completely different angle and clear perspective. The only words I could utter were, “Okay, I’ll go for alcohol addiction rehab.” A few days later I was at Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches in South Florida. There, I was able to slowly recover, one day at a time, my old sober self whom I thought I had lost forever. I was surprised and encouraged that so many of their staff had once been in my shoes and knew exactly what I was going through. These staff members had succeeded in sobriety and were living examples inspiring the rest of us. The most valuable lesson I learned at BHOPB while being treated for my alcohol addiction was that none of us is beyond the point of no return and there is always hope. There is no such thing other than what we dictate our mind to accept, and that the saving of one and recovery of the old pre-addiction-self is never truly lost. One only needs to relocate that person, and help to stand them up and dust their self off before resuming one’s life addiction free.