Making A Difference

I learned during my seven years of alcohol abuse that if you don’t keep an eye on your life, it could very easily be taken away from you. I owned my own business and had an amazing family, but it still wasn’t enough. I walked around all the time with this depressive numbness. I just felt sick, nauseous and regretful that I’d not done more with my life. Sure I was monetarily successful, but that came at a great personal cost. I felt like I was missing a lot of life in order to play the part of businessman, father, and husband.

I started withdrawing myself from my family and coworkers, and relying on alcohol to numb me even more. I’d go on day trips by myself, never letting my wife and kids know where I was. I’d disappear for weekends at a time, and come back moody and sullen. I was scared, and had no idea what was wrong with me. As the years went on, and my marriage started to deteriorate, my ex-wife started looking for the exit. There was infidelity, screaming, dishonesty and everything else that makes a marriage go bust. My kids wanted to live with her full time, but I was the one who’d be paying for it. Eventually, we divorced, and I got an apartment across the street from my store.

My divorce signaled the beginning of the end for me. A lot of people consider rock bottom to be one event that signals that they’re no longer in control of their lives; for me it was a year long succession of events during which I lost most of my money, had to close my business, suffered from a paranoid isolation and didn’t want to know anybody. Alcohol was no longer working the way it used to for me. In the beginning my drinking helped to numb my feelings of depression. But eventually, I started to physically hurt in my stomach from all my heavy drinking.

I finally got so depressed that I made up of my mind to just end it all and go out in style. I went down to Palm Beach, Florida with a hastily thought of plan of going into the ocean and not coming out alive again. I waited until it was later in the day to get out of my car from the municipal parking lot. I tucked my bottle in my beach bag and started towards the steps that lead to the beach. At the beginning of the walkway I saw a homeless man with his two young children holding up a sign asking strangers for money. Now, this was not the first homeless person I’d ever seen, but for some reason I’ll never forget this image — it was probably the look on his kids’ faces that got to me. I felt overcome with emotion and offered him a hundred dollars and set him up in my hotel room for the night. I immediately felt better than I had in years. I started to think that maybe helping people might be the thing that was missing in my life.

The next day I decided to check myself into the best Florida alcohol rehab I could find. As fate would have it, I found a place right in the Palm Beaches and took it as a sign from above that I was meant to be here so I could get help for my drinking. The medical and professional treatment staff were really amazing and all my therapists were very supportive to me throughout my stay with them. They treated my alcoholism and depression as two related entities, which I learned later that they are. Although the detox process was not fun, it was not as bad as I have heard it can be at some other rehabs.

After I successfully completed my treatment and was able to prove to my wife and kids that I could remain sober, they recently accepted me back in their lives again. It has been 18 months since I went to rehab, following the boardwalk revelation that changed my perspective about life and what a difference we can make in others and ourselves.

Pete B.
Independence, KY