Voices for Recovery
Looking back on my addiction, I believe I was born an alcoholic, or at least had the addictive personality as part of my genetic make-up. I grew up in an upper-middle class family who was very supportive and not overly strict. My problems didn't start until I was an adult and completely capable of making my own poor (and wise) decisions. After College, I wasn't ready to grow up and be an adult but didn't want to stay in school either. I chose to start my career and party heavily like I did in school. Soon enough I was unable to stop drinking despite my willingness and need to do so. I found my life quickly falling apart. Calling in "sick" to work was become a usual occasion. Relationships dwindled, responsibilities were no longer being taken care of and I had picked up my second DUI charge and was facing six months in jail. This did nothing to slow my behavior down. I began drinking daily and would often go on bender’s for days and sometimes weeks. Not eating, drinking water, or maintaining any sort of personal hygiene. This became “the norm” for me and when I would run out of alcohol or was too sick to continue drinking, I would end up in hospitals and detox units with extreme withdrawal symptoms.
Alcohol withdrawals feel like the worst case of flu or food poisoning you can imagine, coupled with sever tremors. I would shake so violently that I could barely walk and had to have medical personnel feed me and hold my glasses of water to drink because I was unable to do so from the severe shaking. I even suffered seizures as a result of the detoxing. I was completely unable to manage or maintain any sort of responsibility in my life and was getting closer and closer to a life in prison, institutions, or death before the age of 30. During all of this I managed to get arrested yet again for being drunk in public and a trespassing charge. With all three charges I was sentenced to fifteen days in jail and five and half months on house arrest. Once on house arrest I quickly relapsed and violated my terms of probation. During my sentencing for the violation of probation I requested the judge place me in jail for the full six months as this was the only way for me to maintain any sort of sobriety. I was on a work release program which allowed me to attend a 90 day intensive outpatient rehabilitation program and attend meetings while serving my sentence. I was more desperate than ever at this point. Sick and tired of being sick and tired being unable to stay sober on my own, I was willing to do anything to get sober.
That’s when my life turned around. I stopped placing blame on everyone and everything else for my addiction and behaviors and began taking responsibility for my own actions. My attitude and lust for life completely changed and I started to live life on life’s terms, not only my own. Everything I had taken for granted I now saw for its purity and goodness. Family became important again as did myself and my own way of life. I realized that my problems with addiction weren’t the result of the drinking, the drinking was the solution. It was my thinking that was the cause of my behaviors. Although it has been the hardest thing I have ever had to go through, life couldn’t be better. My career in Finance and Accounting is back on track and in full swing, I’m back in school obtaining my MBA and I am seeing life through a whole new set of eyes; sober eyes. It was a re-birth for me. I still have to continue with my support in meetings with other alcoholics weekly and am always weary of my mind starting to drift back into the deepest darkest places. Identifying that my mind has a natural tendency to do that, I’ve been able to catch it before it slips down that dreaded path again and remind myself, using the tools that I have learned through my own sobriety and support groups, to change my ways of thinking in order to maintain my sobriety. I will always be an addict, which can never change. But my ability to control it is in my hands and I only have to take it one day at a time. It’s hard to ask for help, but it was the best thing I could have ever done for myself. I now reach out to other alcoholics and addicts in similar situations. The mind has an incredible ability to heal itself; you just have to let it do so.
Marc Blackman-Albuquerque, NM