I was born at an early age, drank alcoholically from the first beer, used recreational drugs (and some not so recreational), eventually reaching the point where none of that stuff was fun any more. It was just work: work to stay supplied, work to juggle my reality and everyone else’s, work to keep people from finding out (I thought), work to simply live — and life sucked. Somewhere along the line I married another addict, and for several years that sucked too. There was no question in my mind that I had a problem, I just didn’t know the problem had a solution.
Finally, I was unable to keep all the balls in the air, and the world came tumbling down in the form of foreclosures, evictions, pawn shops, beat up old cars with all sorts of garbage on the dashboard, and eventually professional disgrace and the threat of losing my job.
Like many men, the job thing was the last straw for me. I knew that my wife and I would be living behind the dumpster at the Golden Arches within days, and I agreed to go into a residential treatment program. Two weeks later, my wife entered treatment at the same facility. The rest is not history, it’s more of a miracle.
Now, thirty-odd years later, I’ve had the opportunity to make most of the mistakes that folks can make in recovery, apart from actually picking up a drink or a drug.* Among other things, I’ve learned that relapse occurs before we pick up — that actually using just makes it official. I’ve worked in the recovery field. I’ve had the good sense to realize that it wasn’t for me, and got out of it. I’ve hit a lot of meetings, talked to a lot of alcoholics and addicts, and learned some of what they had to teach me.
And my wife? She got her degree in Social Work, Magna Cum Laude, at age 50, and her C.A.P. (Certified Addiction Professional — with international endorsement) a few years later. She’s also a Certified Mental Health Professional. She has worked in the field for many thousands of contact hours, and specializes in addiction (of course) and grief therapy.
We should both be dead, but we made it out the other side.
Please hang around. If you feel like reading my stuff, fine, but whatever you do, keep coming back. Don’t die. Please!
Yours in recovery,
*I use alcoholism, addiction, alcoholic and addict interchangeably. They’re the same disease, and we’re all just bozos on the same bus. That’s the first thing you need to learn.
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I’m glad you made it through, Bill!