When I signed up for the Listserve years ago, I certainly didn't think my turn would find me in rehab, but here I sit. I imagined writing about so many things that I would've had a difficult time choosing only one, but today my choice is easy. I'll try not to bore you with me. If you're short on time, please skip to the end.
I didn't think I was an alcoholic. I guess no one does. Maybe that's the biggest sign we are? I didn't drink every day. I didn't have withdrawal symptoms. I could go weeks without any alcohol. Alcohol never affected my job. I was always active and in good shape. I was a social drinker, right?
Sure, I also had some great times while drinking. Alcohol allowed me to come out of my introvert's bunker and talk to girls and generally socialize. I don't regret most of the conversations I've had at bars. And I've had some pretty great adventures that I probably wouldn't have had sober.
That was the good, now here comes the bad.
I lost relationships because of alcohol. I spent nights in jail because of alcohol. I alienated friends, underachieved, isolated myself, made stupid decisions, wasted money, wasted opportunities, slept through beautiful sunrises, etc., ad nauseum... I became a person I didn't like, maybe even hated.
Four months ago, I grabbed my pack and walked into the woods, planning to never emerge. After a few weeks of drinking, thinking, drinking, being numb, drinking, drinking, drinking, I finally was ready to end it. For once in my life, alcohol intervened in a good way and I awoke alive, with only a bruised neck to show for it. I promised myself that I'd stay sober on the next attempt.
Before I was able to try again, the Gods intervened. Three weeks later a friend drove me to the psych ward and a week later I was in rehab.
Here's some things I've learned:
*There are lots of people who drink more than me. They're alcoholics.
*There are lots of people who drank less than me. They're alcoholics.
*I'm an alcoholic.
*Alcohol is a symptom of a disease, not the disease itself.
*Quitting drinking is like taking cold medicine for the flu. It won't hurt, but it won't cure you until you address the cause.
*Addressing the cause requires you to explore things about yourself that aren't fun.
*I drank because it distracted me from things about myself and the world that I didn't like.
*I still don't like those things, but now I can address them and eventually change at least some of them.
*Ego is the enemy.
*Love is the answer.
*The Truth will indeed set you free.
My only regret about being in rehab is that I didn't come here 20 years ago. I can't do anything about that. What I can do is be a better me and hopefully pass on some painful lessons so someone else doesn't have to learn them the hard way.
If you want to know more about my struggles, my journey, rehab or just want to talk to someone who will listen and probably understand, write me! Please take care of yourselves so you can take care of others.
I'll finish with a quote I use to remind myself it's never too late to do something good.
“Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end.” -- John Lennon