Written By: Tim C. | Sobriety Date 10.28.16
I was born in central New Jersey weighing 4lbs, feet first, and a few weeks early – my mother was hoping for a girl. Naturally, I came into this world with the need to have my way. I had a normal childhood with two loving parents who were not alcoholics. My dad would enjoy a beer after work, mainly as I recall on summer days. To my knowledge, I don’t think I have ever seen him drunk around me. I have two brothers and one sister, also not alcoholics. I could fit into any group I wanted to. Whether it was the skaters, the smarter kids, the crazy kids, loners, or popular – it didn’t matter.
My first “drunk” was around 13-years-old, and it was a blackout. I remember the bottom of a trash can, which pretty much sums up my 20s as well. I like to convince myself I made it through high school without drinking much, but the more I think about it, the more I remember the early signs of alcoholism. I was a maintenance drinker and needed alcohol from the minute my eyes opened until I passed out again. I tried hard not to let anyone know I was drinking. For the most part, I held onto jobs, had a steady girlfriend, and most people wanted to be around me. After three DUIs and later a drunken moped accident, I still was not even close to the rock bottom where I needed to be to quit drinking for good.
When the doctor was drilling holes into my skull telling me I was going to die, I looked at him like he was the crazy one.
“Surely this guy is looking at the wrong chart. I just have a few drinks after work like everyone else,” I thought to myself. I lied, cheated, and stole every day. I stole time from my family and loved ones. I cheated death more times than I deserved, and I lied to myself every morning in the mirror by telling myself there wasn’t a problem. My anxiety was out of control, my depression was too much to handle. I lost the concept of time, patience, and sanity. It felt like I was wearing concrete shoes on the bottom of the ocean abyss. My family didn’t really want me around anymore, and relationships were ending – I didn’t care. All I cared about was the next drink and the drink after. People tried to get me to quit for a long as I can remember. The bottom for me is when people stopped asking me to quit because everyone gave up. They were waiting for me to die, and I was wishing for the same.
I woke up one day in a fog as usual. I was officially sick and tired of being sick and tired. I don’t remember too much of what happened, but I do remember calling a friend who was a year or so out of treatment. I tried to get him to get me into treatment up North, but it didn’t work out. I remember calling my father to ask if I could stay with him, but he said no. I was out of options and hope. My phone rang, and it was Lakeview Health calling. Still to this day I have no idea how they got my number, but they had a solution.
I went to treatment for 58 days, and it would ultimately save my life. I learned alcohol was only a symptom of my disease. I learned coping skills and how to live life sober. I met people I still consider some of my closest friends to this day. I learned how to love again, and most importantly I learned to love myself. Buddha once said, “you yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. What lies behind us and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Lakeview opened the door to Alcoholics Anonymous, which helps me live my best life every day. With the help of the steps of AA, I enrolled in college, started a new job, and got married. I am not sure if I could ever express to Lakeview how much they impacted my life. All I can do is the next best thing – one day at a time.