I am a textbook case for the genetic disease of addiction. I don’t have any inciting incidents or trauma that induced my addiction. I was raised in a stable household by a loving family. However, because I also come from a long line of addicts, I’m genetically predisposed to it. I was 13-years old when I first tried alcohol at a friend’s house and those few shots of liquor were all it took to trigger the disease. By the time I turned 15, I was fully in the grips of both drugs and alcohol. I remained addicted for 26 years...
I functioned more or less during those years. In spite of multiple alcohol and substance-related arrests, financial and legal issues, I somehow graduated from high school and college. I even got into graduate school; although, I was unable to complete my degree there because of severe and suicidal depression brought on by acute alcohol abuse. My life was more or less an ebb and flow of alcohol and drug addiction management. I would function and succeed for a while only to be brought down when the disease overcame me and I suffered some sort of alcohol or drug-related incident.
It never occurred to me that I had a problem. Even if it did, I denied it. Meaning, I knew that alcohol and drugs were creating issues in my life but I always thought this was due to my own mismanagement. I thought I could and would quit when I really needed to. Ultimately, I refused to accept that the situation was beyond my control and therefore the cycle continued.
I was 41 years old when I finally and truly broke the cycle. A 3rd DUI gave me the choice of jail or rehab; I was fortunate enough to have the resources to choose the latter. This was my rock bottom. Rehab, I felt, was my last opportunity to decide between living sober or dying drunk. Furthermore, I came to the realization that I couldn’t succeed on my own. This humbling is what allowed me to accept and utilize the help I needed.
After 90 days of intense inpatient rehabilitation, I returned to work and life. In rehab we began the work of the 12-Steps and afterward I continued to attend weekly meetings and work the program. Still, I had obstacles to overcome. I left rehab still on probation, with no vehicle and a suspended driver’s license, as well as smothered in legal fees and fines. I kept faith, though, and trusted the process. Soon, the promises began manifesting.
After successful completion and termination of probation, I applied for and accepted a high school English teaching position in a new town and relocated. There, I was able to pay off my legal obligations, reinstate my license and purchase a new vehicle. Eventually, I was able to pursue my lifelong interest in running.
At my first trail race, I was introduced to Mike Martinez and joined up with Runners4Recovery. Aside from the fellowship I found, which is substantial, I also have been able to perform service work through the organization. Inspired by those efforts, I have even started a recovery blog which I intend to use in conjunction with my training for and running of the Keys100 next year to raise awareness and resources for addiction recovery.
The promises are real and we do recover. Recovery is not only possible, it is inevitable if we are honest and thorough with our efforts. It works if we work it. I am a testament to fulfilling life beyond addiction.
Sober Since 8/16/2018