My Recovery From Alcohol
First of all, let me start out by saying that I am terrified to share this to so many people and put myself in the limelight, or be accused of seeking attention, or that I picture people rolling their eyes at me while getting this notification, which probably doesn’t even happen. Secondly, I am proud. Thirdly, I want to a beacon of light and hope to others. The latter being of the utmost importance to me.
Today is my 2-year-anniversary.
It was two years ago today that I was airlifted to Hershey Medical Center in Pennsylvania with severe liver failure and was given a 25% chance to live. I only remember bits and pieces during the initial 12 days, because I was heavily sedated in the ICU. However, picture being stuck between dream and reality for a while, and you’ll understand why I scolded my cousin for trying to sell vacuum cleaners to the nurse or asking the staff member if my girlfriend and I could get a hotel room for the night so we could have some “alone time”.
I can joke about it now, thankfully. Between the amber-colored urine and having to call in my smoking hot nurses to wipe my arse and sponge-bathe me, I learned very quickly that dignity, while the wonderful staff tried so hard to maintain it, was a bit hard to come by. Waking up to the most polarizing election of my lifetime with an unexpected winner, was surreal. The amount of visitors, half of which I don’t remember, was pleasing. I’m not going to lie, being waited on hand and foot wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever experienced 😉
Alcohol had taken over my life. I knew it. I realized I had a problem when I began drinking at work. But, my motives were actually good. I wanted to function like everyone else – function like I didn’t have a racing mind that severely plagued my capacity to be a worthy, competitive employee. I drank to cope with a severe anxiety disorder that began in 2004 and never really relented. Alcohol slowed my mind enough to feel normal and fit in with society.
Little did I realize, I had a lot of psychological trauma I hadn’t processed in the past 14 years. Little did I realize, my self-esteem was poor, my self-identity was shot, I had not adequately addressed my mental illnesses and past familial anguish. I had been thrust into homelessness 4 times by my own family over minor conflicts and normal family problems. I had few friends, trusted nobody and had a drug that could numb me long enough to feel an ounce of happiness and a few hours without racing thoughts. That feeling easily became my addiction and it didn’t take long to develop a 24-hour need to drink alcohol, hold a buzz, and avoid withdrawal, which ultimately led to my near-demise.
It’s hard to open up about alcoholism. And even though I don’t wear that identity, there is a sense of shame I feel. But, at the same time, I have a duty, a bigger meaning and a higher calling after staring down death. I barely made it out alive from addiction, but I did, and that’s what matters. That’s where I can make a difference. And even though I fear being judged, as most would, I know the majority of this audience are people that actually do like me, respect me, and value me. My “tribe” as a great friend from Idaho, often says.
See, the happy ending isn’t here, yet. There wasn’t an ending at all. It was the beginning of a second journey.
I am now on medication for anxiety and depression. I see a counselor regularly. My liver has mostly returned to normal and I haven’t had a drop of alcohol in two years. And I have a hell of a story to tell. But, most of all, I am a testament that recovery from alcoholism or addiction is possible. I look forward to telling this story the rest of my life and letting folks with addiction know that there actually is hope for a better life, no matter how dark the day looks.
Happy 2 years to me. Cheers!