I took my first drink when I was 16-years-old. I skipped school and drank a bottle of Southern Comfort with a friend.
After being sick for a whole day, I vowed never again to drink. Besides, my entire life had been spent in and out of different foster homes because my mother and father were addicts. I didn’t want to be like them. I didn’t touch a drop of alcohol until six years later.
I had just gone though a difficult break up and my “best friend” was going to show me how to “have a good time.” I didn’t have a couple beers and socialize that night…I jumped head first into a bottle of rum and got sloppy drunk. It was a “can’t stand up on my own, don’t remember half of that night” drunk.
That was the beginning of my downfall.
In August 2000, my daughter was born. The most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I had spent all my years up to that point feeling abandoned by my mother and father – and holding in an unbearable amount of resentment.
I swore I would never leave her; I would be a better daddy than my father could ever be. I was 17 years old, still in high school and had no job. Even though I was so young and had so much against me, I was twice the man my dad had been.
But that wouldn’t last long…
A month after my 22nd birthday, I was at the bar five nights a week and completely wasted. I talked myself into believing that I didn’t have a problem. I hadn’t been drinking long enough. I wasn’t old enough.
One year later I had my second baby on the way. I had also acquired my first OWI conviction. I was drinking more heavily than before and more frequently. My relationship was extremely strained. My girlfriend’s family hated me. They recognized what I refused to acknowledge – I was an alcoholic.
In 2009, my 3rd child was born. I was still in the same relationship, but there was no life left in it. I was extremely depressed – all the time – and continued to drink almost daily. My dinners usually consisted of a 6-pack of Budweiser and a liter of Jagermeister. By now, I had another OWI conviction and flunked out of college. I blew all my student loans in the bars. I was fighting to keep my electricity on and pay the rent. I was losing friends left and right. It seemed that nobody was interested in hanging out with the guy that only wanted to get fucked up and embarrass everyone.
I was really beginning to feel alone…I often thought about suicide. How much better life would be without me in it. I wouldn’t be able to disappoint my family anymore. I couldn’t hurt my poor children anymore. Eight times I attempted suicide. The last attempt landed me in intensive care for three days. I thought that was my wake up call…my rock bottom.
I was wrong.
In late 2011, my sons’ mother decided to leave for good. I had gotten sober six months prior. I didn’t handle her leaving well – not at all.
I tried again to drink my pain away. When I woke from my drunken slumber, I would try to drink that pain away too. I spent the next two years drinking myself to dangerous levels. I was in and out of the ER; I was admitted many, many nights into detox with a blood alcohol content (BAC) well over .30.
I was completely lost and helpless. My daughter wanted little to do with me. My sons saw the only father they had ever known…drunk. I wanted to die. I was tired of fighting.
In April 2012, while driving home after drinking all day and night, an officer attempted to pull me over. I decided I was going to try to outrun him. I made it less than a quarter mile before I lost control of my car and wrecked. I ended up with a 3rd OWI conviction. This time the judge decided to teach me a lesson and sentenced me to nine months in jail.
I thought: ‘This is it. I am done drinking for good.‘
A year and a half ago, I had my sons for the weekend. I was preparing dinner and thought I could handle just a drink. I woke the next morning in detox. My children were in protective custody.
I absolutely hated myself. How could I let this happen? I love my kids more than anything in this world. How could I do this to them? Who the hell was that guy staring back at me in the mirror?
I have caused so much devastation and destruction in so little time. I have hurt so many people that I care about. I changed so much over the last 11 years that I don’t know who I am anymore. I can’t even remember who I was. It took me almost losing my children to finally realize how damaged I was and how dysfunctional my life had become.
I’ve lived in my own prison, my own hell for so long that I forgot what it felt like to feel good. I need that to change. My children need it to change.
I am taking back control of my life. I’ve realized that every day I have an opportunity to live right. I CAN live healthy and happily. That is the life that I truly want. And I deserve it.
Today, I am 12 days sober. I have a long road ahead of me – one I will travel the rest of my life. But today I am happy. I am content. I am sober.