As I come up on one year of sobriety I wanted to be able to share some of my feelings about the struggles that I have had and to share some of my thoughts. I wasn't sure how to go about it, so I figured, why not write a blog?!
On December 31st, 2013 I took my last drink. Not because I wanted to quit, but because I had failed myself and my family for the last time. I knew I had to do something to change the way I was living my life. I was tired of disappointing everyone close to me, I was tired of being embarrassed, sick of feeling guilty and of feeling like complete shit all the time. I knew if I had another drink that I would lose everything in my life that I cared about and I had way too much to lose. In the end I knew this decision couldn't be for anyone else and that it had to be for myself. I decided that enough was enough and it was time to leave alcohol behind. This may sound easy for some but changing my lifestyle took everything in me to make sure I did not fall back into my old ways.
Throughout the past year I have had to learn how to socialize with people in public without the crutch of alcohol and that the person I was the past decade under a constant drowning of alcohol was not the person that I really am. I am not the stupid things or terrible choices I made, I am a human being who cannot mix life and alcohol. I had tried and failed for years to regulate my drinking even though for the last few years, legally I should not have been drinking in the first place. This never worked for me and it took a long time to finally figure out why. I am not and never have been a social drinker, not even when I was a teenager when drinking was the “cool” thing to do. I drank for comfort, I drank when I was depressed, I drank in celebration, I drank to socialize in public and I drank to get drunk. I always found a reason to drink no matter the circumstance. Even still today I would love to have a drink or two with my buddies, I know that this is not an option for me and I have accepted that.
In all reality, bad things happened to me when I drank and I should have wanted to stop sooner than I did, but I just couldn’t. When bad things would happen to me in the past I always felt like it was the end of the world and drinking was going to be my answer for everything. (Even though drinking is what generally caused all my problems.) Now, I feel more prepared if something bad were to happen and that I am able to handle it in a healthy way. My past attempts at quitting were never much of an attempt. I lied my way through treatments, did what I had to do and ended right back where I started because I was too proud, arrogant and or selfish to change the way I lived my life.
Knowing what I know now is completely terrifying to me in the fact that I myself didn't even know who I was. Even with the judicial system breathing down my neck and many sad, lonely nights in a cold cement cell, I could not stop the path I was going down. I went a few months without a drink here and there, never getting very far because deep down I knew this wasn't something that I wanted or that it wasn't going to last. Now that I am sober, less bad things have happened since I stopped drinking alcohol which has made my personal life much more enjoyable for everyone in it. I am now present and thankful for each day and could not imagine life any other way.
Even with all my ups and downs I am happy to know that throughout my journey my close friends have stuck by my side and left their judgement at the door. It is obvious that when you make a choice to stop drinking you will run into difficulties with friendships along the way. Some will judge, some will understand and some will still offer you a drink. It really does show you who truly cares about you and for that I am thankful.
I have realized that I was toxic to everything around me when I was a heavy drinker. I made it a point to ruin every relationship that I ever had just because I was messed up. Because I was messed up it meant to me that my relationships had to be just as messed up. I have lied and cheated my way through many people that I have hurt and I know some of these things are unforgivable. I did not think I was able to be in a healthy relationship because it was not what I deserved. I cannot take back the things that I have done, I can only be present today and prepare for the future. I have learned through all of this that I can be in a healthy relationship and because of my patient, understanding, caring wife I now know that for sure.
Sobriety has been a life saver for me, without it I would probably be back where I spent those cold lonely nights years ago or even worse. Thanks to my family, my friends, my church and most importantly my wife and my son, I today am a better man than I ever thought I could be and I couldn't be any happier for this.
I did not write this for myself or for a pat on the back for being sober. I wrote this for anyone that needs to hear it, anyone that may need to make a change in their life and just needs the courage to do so. Life is good but it is also short and it is worth living as yourself, so don't waste it!