“I have been sober 9 years, 4 months and 11 days. I started drinking when I was 14. I am 53 now. I finally quit when I got tired of feeling like my life didn’t mean anything to anyone, including me. I was suicidal and homicidal. I started drinking when I was so young because I didn’t fit in and felt like I belonged on the Island of Misfit Tots. Drinking allowed me to socialize without being self-conscious and I thought people liked me when I was drinking. I also had a full beard in high school and looked much older. I could buy liquor and beer so everyone wanted me around. Alcoholism runs in my family.
I quit drinking and wasn’t used to dealing with me, but I believed there was more to this life than the way I was living. I was a functioning alcoholic and working as upper-level management responsible for sales teams in several states. As long as I was beating expectations and overachieving I didn’t have to deal with my problems. Success made up for the shame and self-hatred because at least I was good at something besides drinking. I thought I couldn’t be an alcoholic because I didn’t live under a bridge. I lived in a nice house, had a good job and good kids. I thought everyone drank like I did. Instead, I found I was foolishly drinking.
I come out here by myself to pray and meditate and have God time. If I don’t do that, my day gets real squirrely real fast. Meditation is prayer and the time for God to give me answers. This whole God thing was new to me. I thought God was fire and damnation and I found out he is loving and compassionate. He is so gracious. It is mindblowing that he would love a drunk like I was.
Psychic change has to occur if you are going to be clean and sober. That comes from God. Through meditation, I have found acceptance and willingness to look at the other person’s side. Understanding instead of being understood. Be a follower when needed and a leader when needed. Let go of the ego because that is a powerful thing and it held me back from having a personal relationship with my God. I see God in everything now.
The easiest way for me to stay clean and sober is to work with other alcoholics and drug addicts through Alcoholics Anonymous and to help them like other people helped me. Helping other people is the ultimate high. To see the eyes of the person as they understand and want to change.
I can’t change what I did in the past. I can’t make up for the pain and suffering I created in other people’s lives. I thought it was just hurting me and I didn’t care about me. Now I get up every day and meditate and thank God for the breath of air and letting me have one more day to think clearly and live my amends. I wish I could make amends to my father who died 10 years ago. He never saw me sober. I am a totally different person now.
I had a stroke a few years ago and started having seizures. The doctors won’t release me to work. After the stroke, I started walking along the beach looking for pieces of glass to make mosaics. I love bringing the broken pieces and colors together to form one attractive body. It keeps me from going stir crazy because stir crazy is when I want to drink. Relapse is not an option. I have gone through too much to ever go back to drinking again.
I don’t have the questions I used to have about life and pain. Because of AA, I have the answer to a happy, joyous and peaceful way of living. I now have a passion for living and I can search within my heart and know all is right in my soul.”