I grew up in a 1st generation Italian family in New Orleans, Louisiana. From as far back as I can remember, I had been given sips of homemade wine that my grandfather made and sips of beer. No one ever thought anything of this in a negative way. At family gatherings, the adults would want to play cards after dinner, so we, the young ones, would get a bottle with wine and Coke or 7-Up to help us sleep. At 12 years old, I went to a birthday party and was introduced to Sloe Gin and 7. My world changed. Before the night was over, I was on the only boy on the dance floor and immediately became the most popular boy in school with the girls. From there things escalated until I was 36 years old.
I was a jock in school and would cut back during football or baseball season. After high school, I tried college and flunked out after one semester because I partied more that studied and usually could not make classes. I joined the Marines and learned how to really drink like a "man". After the service, I tried college again and lasted one semester again for the same reasons as before.
Along the way I developed a "Valium Deficiency" which was hidden from all who knew me. There was an everlasting trail of broken relationships, hurt and insane behavior. My self-centeredness was as destructive as it could be. After two broken marriages and many broken promises to friends and family I decided one night while on a binge to end it all like "a gentleman.” I died that night and woke up in ICU at a local hospital and was angry that "I couldn't even kill my self right". My dad was right, I was a loser.
On the 4th day in ICU, one of the doctors came into my room and told me "I think you have an alcohol and drug problem and I think we can help you." I was confused because no one had ever told me there was help. I was told many times, by my recently estranged wife and family, that I was losing my mind and would be locked up in a mental institution for the rest of my life.
My life changed that day on January 29th, 1982 and I have been free of my Addiction since then. I will be clean and sober 28 years this coming January 2010.
I was transferred to the in-patient program, which this doctor was associated with, as soon as I could be released from ICU. I am a miracle of Recovery because of that doctor, who cared enough, my God, my 12-step recovery program and family support.
If I could get sober and clean, I know anybody can. TREATMENT WORKS.
I have since gone back and graduated from college and graduate school.
Today I work as a Licensed Addiction Counselor.
Recovery does Work.