Josh Alcohol Really Is A Drug
Like many people, I began drinking in my teens. My friends and I drank and we drank every weekend without a word of caution or raised eyebrow from the adults in our life. It was fun going to parties and ditching school to drink beers or whatever else was available. I did this every chance I got, and it continued on that way throughout high school. I didn’t think it was a big deal, I was young and young people like to party, right?
Looking back now, I can see that there were signs that it was indeed a VERY big deal, but I just didn’t see them back then. I had no idea that alcohol is considered the most dangerous drug in the world. There were distinct differences between the way me and a few of my friends drank and behaved as compared to most others.
When I went to a party, I mostly looked forward to the alcohol. Sure, I wanted to hang out with my friends, but really, I wanted to drink more than anything. And, I didn’t just want to drink, I wanted to get drunk. I would start drinking, and I would continue drinking until there wasn’t anything left to drink, or I passed out, whichever came first.
Also, I wasn’t much interested in doing other things, like going to games or the movies, I just wanted to know where the party was. Some of my friends got annoyed with me because of it. I stopped hanging out with them.
That really should have been a sign to me that there was a problem, even back then. When you put your using in front of friends and family, that is a big red flag that you have a problem. Unfortunately I didn’t want to admit yet, that I had a problem. In the back of my mind I questioned why I did this. Normal people don’t do that even if they drink.
Things got worse.
For awhile, it actually seemed like it was okay. I drank every day, but it wasn’t a “big deal.” I stopped getting wasted and just started drinking a few beers every day when I got home from work. I was married and had started a family, so I wasn’t going out all the time anymore. I would drink in front of the television every night until it was time to go to bed. That’s what everybody else does, right?
Then I got divorced, and my drinking escalated. I started binge drinking again, and I started doing things I knew were crazy, like drinking and driving. I had always judged people for doing that, especially since becoming a parent, but pretty soon I was doing it all the time.
I was getting sick all the time and showing up to work hungover. I lost my job and my place to live. I started to sink lower and lower, and was no longer spending time with my kids. I pretty much only hung out at the bar, with other people who were just like me, sitting around, getting drunk and blaming everything on our exes. In the end I felt as if I was reliving a movie everything stayed the same nothing changed. Each day was repeat of the previous.
It wasn’t because anything worse happened. I just got tired of the day to day life of a drunk. I was tired of waking up feeling horrible, tired of my family’s disappointment and tired of getting kicked out of bars and sleeping on friend’s couches. Something had to change.
I checked myself into a detox facility, and from there I went to a 30 day program. I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner, really. We all have our own path, though, so I can’t think about that. I did a lot of work on myself, and got introduced to meetings. I found a sponsor, and made some new friends. I moved into a clean and sober living house and found a job.
Looking back, I can see how from that very first drink I was hooked. I wanted more.
My life in recovery is full and I am happy to be sober. I am grateful for what I learned in treatment and for the twelve steps. I have my kids back in my life and a great job.
My life is actually better than it ever was, because sadly once I started in my addiction, it pretty much took over my life from day one, and I was just a kid. I didn’t even really know what it was like to not be controlled by substances. It had been that way since I was barely out of middle school.
Now, I can wake up and not wonder how long before I can start drinking, or worry about getting pulled over, or having to deal with family members who are worried or angry with me. I just enjoy my life, which is all I ever wanted to do, really. It’s a shame I didn’t really know what that meant until I got sober.