I would never share a personal part of my life unless it may benefit another. I believe it’s relevance may resonate with some. If it does there is hope.
Five years ago tomorrow I came off my last drunk. My journey into sobriety began seven years prior to that in New Zealand from leaving my then home in Australia after failing a marriage and a good life. My decline into chronic alcoholism slowly twisted my mind into darkness. I became violent and unpredictable in blackouts which frightened me.
Contemplating ending my life, full of anger and frustration at my failings the thought of making it all stop had become appealing once again. I had to stop drinking but didn’t know how. I began seeking a spiritual solution as it seemed to be the only hope left.
My fear of sobriety was overwhelming, my inability to stop was destroying me. That year a failed stay in a drying out clinic just reaffirmed what I already knew by that point. I was beyond human aid. I was in the grip of a compulsion that I had no mental control over. I hated myself for what I felt as a weakness in me. When I started I couldn’t stop and I couldn’t leave it alone.
The fear I experienced around sobriety was that my mental health would quickly decline without the crutch of alcohol. Sobriety brought mental tension, anxiety anger and conflict that I would always eventually turn back to alcohol for relief of. It had been the solution to my mental suffering for years. I have spent years in the mental health system and couldn’t face going through that wringer again.
The next seven years was littered with failed attempts at sobriety, in and out of AA meetings looking for a spiritual solution that seemed to have been lost within a now largely made up fellowship of amateur therapist and people with other problems. I was back in the mental health system, detoxes, a year on a remote island in the hope that in solitude I would find peace, nights in police cells, psychiatric evaluations and homelessness.
Medications brought a little temporary relief but the pain always got to much to sit with and I would return to the bottle. Its what I did. I couldn’t get off the roundabout. My great hope was that I would one day get a handle on my drinking, that I would drink like normal people. That thought became an obsession it itself.
My life revolved around obsessive thinking and compulsive drinking. Earning enough to drink while struggling to find balance with work and hold a job down in order to earn the money for alcohol and keeping it in my system for some sort of perceived sanity.
The last 18 months I convinced myself I had discovered that balance. But my mind was slowly sinking back into darkness and thoughts of suicide. I worked and drank, that became my existence. I had a couple of friends but couldn’t be honest about the suffering that was eating at me. The memories of my past and my conscious were getting harder to blot out.
Five years ago tomorrow after coming around in the morning I started drinking. I sat in my flat and poured a rum and coke. I sat and stared at it, I hated what I had become in my head. There was no peace, no relief anymore, I realised in that moment that where I was would be where it all ended. I was never going to get free from alcohol on my own will power. I had run out of fight, justification and excuses. I couldn’t live another day in my head. I was beaten daily by reminders of the hurt I had caused others through my self centred existence. I had tried everything to be a decent human being but the fear and anger that my ego fed on didn’t allow me any consistency in myself.
It was a rock bottom like I had never experienced, the pain overwhelmed me. I prayed in tears for help, for strength I couldn’t muster. My own darkness had brought me a desperate need for light. An experienced followed that left me shaken and uneasy. After a time got up from my knees and poured the drink away. I have never felt the need to drink again, the obsession had left me, I had been freed in that moment.
I began looking within a twelve step fellowship for a recovered alcoholic who would be able to show me how to remain recovered and to live by the spiritual principles it’s original members discovered and put into print back in the late 1930’s. It wasn’t an easy search. But I eventually found a man who had some answers, who had recovered himself. My life has never been the same since. Two months after getting sober I met Stacey. She has never known me drunk.
Tomorrow I will wake up with the triplets and begin another day with my family in the life I didn’t believe was possible or that I would ever reach.
Frankie always gets me a cake with a candle to celebrate with me that I don’t drink anymore. It’s a strange thing to celebrate really but it’s what she likes to do.
I don’t look back at my sobriety with a sense of achievement, I’m not one to pat myself on the back. A supernatural power of love did what I could not and removed the anger that fuelled my alcoholism. My only job has been to grow in the spirit of love that replaced it. All credit goes to God’s grace, without which I wouldn’t be here now. Recovered from alcoholism and living a life beyond anything I could have imagined.
If you believe that you may be experiencing the two symptoms that make up alcoholism, an obsession to drink coupled with a craving beyond your control whenever you take a drink – don’t hesitate drop me a message, I can offer you a solution. Or at least point you in the right direction of help.