Out of the Darkness
As quick as I am approaching two years of sobriety, I am just a quick to see how miserable I was when I always had a bottle around. The years after my second and third DUI were some of the toughest of my life, because I was so overwhelmed with the desire to drink, yet I knew every time I drank I was getting closer to losing my freedom and more importantly, my wife and my son. If I lost them I had no clue where or what would happen to my life because that could really of led to my drinking spiraling out of control. I am going to share something that I have never shared with anyone before and I do this so people know that no matter how much a person may seem ok on the outside, on the inside they could be hurting more than words are able to describe.
It is hard to capture in words how tough a time these years were for me, as I really didn’t want to drink anymore, but I felt like life was not worth living without alcohol. I knew how much damage it was doing to me physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially, yet I was consumed with desire to drink and when I wasn’t drinking I was planning the next time I would. And when I was drinking I was lost in my own selfish alcoholic world. I was unable to live in the moment at all because alcohol constantly pulled me from it, whether I was drinking at that moment or not. For the first time in my life I reached a point where suicide entered my thoughts on a semi-regular basis. Thankfully I never gave them serious consideration and I knew that wasn’t what I really wanted, but I started thinking on a regular basis that I would just rather die. As much as I loved my son and wife, and the rest of my family, I desperately feared that I could not be the husband, father, son or brother that I wanted to be because alcohol would always be my first love and first priority. I was engulfed in a space of darkness, I lived in a black hole and it was driving me insane wondering how I would ever be able to get out and be freed from that pain.
At the end of my drinking, I was a liar. I lied mainly about my drinking and I just wanted to believe that I was likable. If I was likeable, then it wouldn’t matter that I didn’t like myself. In the end, I knew I didn’t want to admit the need to change, because that would mean admitting I was an alcoholic; something I wasn’t ready for. When I did put the alcohol down, I felt worse than before, alcohol had been the solution to my life, and without that solution, I didn’t know the answer. I thought that my pain and depression would go away when I put the bottle down but it didn’t, in all reality it became worse because I had no escape and I had to face reality head on, sober. When I made the decision to become sober, this did not all of sudden solve all of my problems and take away the depression and hurt that I had. I wondered how I'd manage without the escape of alchohol, the ability to completely leave my conscious self and the rest of the world for awhile. I have been able to manage and I do not wonder anymore, I just do it, which is good enough for me.
One of the biggest surprises about sobriety is that I actually like having to be more present and I hate missing any sort of milestone that my children have which if I were still drunk, I would of missed them all. The longer I stay sober, the less I feel connected to that guy who hated himself so much he wanted to die. I barely recognize that guy and sobriety has given me many gifts that keep me busy, and I am beyond grateful. There are days that are still cloudy and not surprisingly, the occasional thought of a drink slips in. I find these days I don’t recoil from those thoughts as quickly as I used to. The fear of becoming who I once was doesn’t hit me immediately anymore. But inevitably, something happens. It may not come in the form of a reminder of how bad it was then, but I somehow remember how good my life is now. Because, even on the bad days, my life is really, really good. I have this life because, against my better judgment, I changed the person I once was and, God willing, I will never have to go back.