It really is amazing how quickly alcoholism can change everything. Everybody else may see your decline in slow motion; but when you’re buzzed all the time, you think everything is fine. You think everything is going alright, and then, slowly but surely, people start to distance themselves from you and everything that was good in your life starts to slip away. For my own part, I had no idea of the kind of impact that alcohol was having on my life until it was essentially too late. It was only after looking back with sober perspective on my alcoholic past did I realize how much I hurt people and myself.
All I can say about the start of things is that I liked drinking. For a while, I was able to keep my drinking at arm’s length and live a normal life. After a while, however, everything just started to meld together. When you live what people would call a normal and functioning life, you are able to separate certain things like social drinking, from other areas of your life, like your career and your family. When these things start bleeding into one another, you know you have a serious problem. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch it in time, before it does any real damage.
As for me, I didn’t realize it and I almost lost everything because of my drinking. I was 34 years old and still acting like I was 21. My wife grew tired of it, my kids suffered because of it and my boss just plain wouldn’t tolerate it. For about a year after everything started going south in my life, I really wondered what everyone’s issue was. I hesitate to be so simplistic as to say that I just needed to “grow up”, but I think that might have been a large part of the problem. It was like I was emotionally stunted.
When I knew it was time to give up drinking and move on with my life, I thought I could just stop cold, like it wasn’t an integral part of my life. After my third relapse and a series of horrible withdrawal symptoms, I decided to check myself into alcohol rehab in Florida. Now, let me say right here that, while your success in recovery is ultimately up to you, it helps to have the right treatment facility in your corner. It was part research and part luck that I happened upon my rehab program, and I never looked back once I did.
I had my first breakthrough after detox and it was actually a pretty scary experience; it was the first time that I was able to see what I’d done to my loved ones with a clear head and a sober perception. Since I’ve completed treatment, I’ve spent every waking hour trying to make it up to my family and make amends with others wherever I can. I’ve also become very serious about the therapy process and am determined to be the best person I can be, regardless of my addiction history.