Saturday, February 20, 2016

Thoughts on 27 Years of Sobriety

Well, 27 years of sobriety are in the books and it's on to year 28....

A brief recap....I started drinking at an early age in the Spring of 1976 and I was fourteen at the time. It was a beer or two here. Enough to catch a buzz. My first drunk when I had a complete six pack was the night the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns played an epic 3 overtime game in the 1976 NBA Finals. I watched this at a friends house and after the game ended I staggered home.

As time went on I developed a good tolerance for beer and later hard alcohol. I was going to school at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda MD during this time and I used drinking as an escape. Beer was my drink of choice and it tasted good. As someone who was pretty shy, I was more outgoing when I had a few beers under my belt.

Without going through a long drunk-a-logue, I'll sum up that the alcoholic behavior escalated as I went through high school, picked up steam as I went away to college. Along the way, I dabbled with various drugs. Once out of college and I was on my own with a little income, things really started spiraling out of control. I was headed for an unfortunate ending.

From 1985 to 1988 I was an out of control mess. I could not slow down and as a result I was getting into trouble. I even lost a job. While drinking started out fun, I wanted to be the most drunk, the one who was talked about like " Man, what a partier he is!"

That was fun for awhile but later things started falling apart and can be best summed up in this photo:

The bottom came for me February 19, 1989. I went to a Maryland basketball game with some friends. We were all pretty much still drunk from the night before so getting back into the groove wasn't hard. We snuck in flasks, mixed bourbon into our cokes and continued the party during North Carolina's trouncing of the Terps. We ended up at the 'Vous in College Park MD for beer, later a friend's house for more drinking.

Next I knew I was on the floor of my old bedroom at my parent's house when I awoke up February 20, 1989. I had blacked out and my friends deposited me there. My Mom drove me to my apartment, maybe there were three words spoken the whole time during the drive. I slept off my hangover and later awoke in tears around 6:00 PM wondering where just where the hell my life was going.

The long, hard stare in the mirror scared the living shit out of me and it was there I decided at age 27 to slowly begin to pick up the pieces in my life.

With the help of Alcoholics Anonymous, family, friends (you know who you are) and determination, I listened, slowly participated in the program, slowly shared my story. Listened for once in my life and shut up. Gradually I understood..built up sobriety time..felt comfortable to talk to others. One day at a time...It works if you work it.

I post this because I want folks to know where I was. I hope maybe this gets passed around to folks who I don't even know who are suffering to read this and understand there is hope. Please, please feel free to reach out to me or anyone if you want to seek help. I am open and honest about alcoholism and my sobriety because if I can make a difference to one person, today, tomorrow, any day, this is worth it.

1 comment:

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