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Voices for Recovery

Frank Ryan (05/18/2012)

I’m in recovery from alcoholism, and have not had a drink since December 20, 1977. This is not my accomplishment alone – a number of people and places contributed to my recovery.

My family still can’t tell me which came first – a drink of alcohol or a step. At the time, they thought it was cute when I would crawl around and take sips of beer from cans on the floor. They did not think it was cute when I got drunk at age 13.

Serving in the Navy did not change my drinking or thinking, and at times, I lived in the street. After a brief trip to the Norris Clinic in 1977, I promised myself I would not drink, and for the next 5 months, I didn’t. But eventually, I told myself that I had earned a drink. I drank a small bottle, which turned into another bottle, and the next thing I knew, I was in another state. The only thought I had was there had to be a better way to die.

After friends found me, I returned home with them and entered the Norris Clinic again. The clinic and my friends played a trick on me – while I wanted a better way to die, they taught me a way to live. It was a slow process that included going to treatment and meetings, finding a sponsor, and for the first time, taking suggestions.

We all have to face life’s problems and learn to cope without alcohol or drugs. I had to face the loss of my parents, a wife, son, and grandson without the use of alcohol. I also faced the serious illness of my second wife, almost losing her. The list of problems that come along might be endless, but it is about life.

I now have a family, children, and grandchildren who not only love me, but respect me. I’ve had a career for 30 years and have not been fired. I have been able to gain self-respect and the respect of others. Changing my whole life was not easy, but the end result was well worth it.

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