Staying sober and being committed to long-term recovery can seem like a difficult task. However, finding and maintaining long-term recovery is possible if you prioritize your sobriety, follow direction and remain open-minded. In this article, I am going to explain my personal journey of recovery and how I was able to stay sober and committed to my alcohol recovery.
Alcoholism: My Beginning
When I was growing up I seemed to be a normal kid. I played with my friends, participated in sports, spent time with my family, and did most normal activities associated with children. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I realized I was bodily and mentally different from others. This bodily and mental difference was not obvious until alcohol was introduced. And then, when alcohol became present, I realized how different I truly was.
The first time I drank, I felt like I had found the love of my life. I was warm, fuzzy, and incapable of experiencing fear. I felt free and happy. I was not thinking about any of my insecurities, as the alcohol had immediately removed all concerns. This was, in my delusional mind at the time, the key to success in my life. I was soon to understand how wrong I was!
Alcohol Strikes Back
After that first time of drinking, I became engulfed with finding other opportunities to experience the feeling that was produced by alcohol. I managed to finish high school and was accepted into a state university. It wasn’t until I entered college that I experienced freedom from my parents and had the option to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
College is notorious for partying, and that is what it proved to be for me. Beyond the typical dorm room drinking games, frat parties, and usual binge drinking weekends, I separated myself from my fellows by a few key points. Number one, I was almost always getting blackout drunk. Number two, I was unable to attend social events without drinking. Number three, the obsession to drink filled my everyday thoughts.
After a few years in college, I started to notice some unusual things. My friends did not want to go out with me anymore. It was like they were embarrassed by my behavior (can you believe that?). My grades fell dramatically, as I was spending all my free time drinking copious amounts of alcohol instead of studying. I was fired from all the part-time jobs I had because I wouldn’t show up on time.
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Things Get Bad
I failed out of college after three years. My drinking was responsible for this, but I was incapable of admitting I had a problem. After I left the college town that I had given three years of my life, I returned home. I had to live with my parents because I had no money, no job, and no degree.
Things quickly went downhill when I got back home. After a few weeks, I found a job at a cookie factory. But, I was fired after a month for showing up hungover (For the third time). After a few years of the same repeated cycle, my parents kicked me out of the house. I was then homeless. I had no home, no job and no money to buy more alcohol.
After years of couch surfing, part-time jobs, and illegal activities, the only thing that was consistent in my life was alcohol. All my money was going towards the next drink. I had to drink in the morning to get out of the house, in the evening to relax, and at night to sleep. I was more or less always drunk.
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Sober Living begins
It wasn’t until I was incarcerated for the fifth time that I realized I had a serious problem. Most normal people cannot understand how, after repeated job losses, homelessness, incarcerations, and failed relationships, I couldn’t understand my alcoholism was the cause. But, as an alcoholic, I have a delusional mind. And this delusion was blocking my ability to admit my problems.
While in jail, for my repeated DWI’s, I was approached by an outsider who brought AA meetings to the prison. At first, I was hesitant to attend. However, after realizing you got candy by attending the meetings, I started to go. Months later, I started reading the big book, going through the steps, and learning more about my disease.
I was released a few months after my initial introduction to AA. I was then in the free world without a pot to pee in. I was nervous, afraid and ignorant of how to live properly. But, I believed I could make it if I followed the simple steps outlined in the book of recovery.
The Real World and Sober Living
I was doing great the first few months upon my release from prison. But, as time would prove for all alcoholics when we stop attending to our alcoholism, things got worse. And they did get worse. I relapsed and went right back to rock bottom.
Thankfully, my parole officer recommended this place that focused on alcohol recovery. This place was a sober living company that showed alcoholics and addicts how to properly integrate into society, find jobs, attend meetings, and most importantly, how to be happy and sober.
My Life Today
Today, I have over four years of continuous sobriety. This long-term recovery was not always easy. But, one thing I can tell you with absolute certainty is that if you want long-term sobriety, you must focus on the solution every day. This means going through the steps, working with others, and spreading the message of recovery.