When you hear about someone with a drinking problem, you’re anticipating a crazy story about shots of Fireball and rounds of drinks at the bar. But there are people (like me) who have drinks after work or with dinner every day. I’m not a “crazy alcoholic”, I’m actually pretty mature about my drinking. I don’t go out to bars, but that’s not because I’m middle aged and growing my gray hairs. I just don’t like the scene, and would much rather drink at home.
One morning, I got a call that my sister was in the hospital in critical condition. It was a 40-minute drive to the hospital, so we hopped in and drove. When we arrived, we were notified by the nurses that she was in a car accident but she was stable. I was freaking out because, well, she was my sister, heck she was my only sibling, and I wasn’t ready to lose her.
The doctors put her through surgery that day and my wife and I were in the waiting room. I told my wife that I was going to step out to catch a breather. I went outside and walked across the street to a convenient store (convenient, huh?). Looking around, I saw mini bottles of alcohol, bought a few, and walked back to the hospital.
I was looking in the mirror of the hospital’s bathroom as I grabbed one mini bottle from the plastic bag. I looked at myself and then at the bottle, thinking of how I’ll feel when the sweet taste of Malibu Rum hits my body. Finally, I opened the bottle and swallowed the entire thing. I washed my mouth out with the water from the sink, and then splashed water on my face to wake myself up more.
Looking at the empty bottle I chugged, I thought, I‘m not an alcoholic, but I don’t remember a day that I haven’t drank. I don’t drink all day, every day; just in moderation, every day. There’s no way I have a drinking problem.
Ever since my mom passed away last year, life without her has been really hard. And that’s when I started to drink every night to cool down and relax.
I didn’t know addiction could start at such an old age for me. I’ve been a casual drinker since I started drinking. It was easy for me, I knew how to be a social drinker. What I was never told was drinking as frequent as I did when my mom passed away could make me dependent on alcohol. Dependent in a way that I couldn’t not drink. A year ago, I would only drink in the evening, during dinner time. I would have two or three beers or glasses of wine depending on my mood. It eventually grew into a bigger dependency, and I started drinking a little before dinner. At this point, I start drinking in the mid afternoon and I don’t stop until I pass out in the evening.
My wife constantly told me she was worried, thought I had a drinking problem, and wanted me to get help. And up until now, I am finally admitting I have an alcohol problem. I didn’t have a rock bottom situation, but I realized that I’ve drank every day since my mom passed away. And not just that, but it’s progressively gotten worse with the amount I drink and the time I start drinking.
I mean, it was, a little for me. To finally admitting to myself and my wife that I have a drinking problem, and actually calling detox programs and getting a date to admit myself. But the whole process was so easy. A lot of it has to do with my insurance because if I didn’t have insurance I would be paying out of pocket which could add up. I called a few programs before I called New Start Recovery. The facilities that I called had waiting lists that I really didn’t want to wait for. I called New Start, they ran my benefits within an hour, called me back and said I could come in any time that day.
At first, I stuck with just detox. I thought since I’m old enough with experience and common sense, that after I’m detoxed I won’t feel triggered or would drink again. That was a lie to myself. Relapses make you stronger, right? I entered myself in two more times in the course of a year. It was an adjustment realizing that I could never drink again, after being a normie for so long in my life.
My last try at detox I decided to do residential care as well. The people at New Start kept encouraging it, but I was so stubborn in my ways. But I gave in when I realized I needed more help than just detoxing for 7 days.
If I had to redo my experience, I would pick New Start in a heartbeat. They REALLY cater to your individual needs, they make you feel included in everything and the on-site chef is amazing.They also have an alumni program every week that I attend, as well as their open fellowship meeting that I attend regularly as well.
I’m not a failure because the disease of addiction got to me. I’m not a failure because I relapsed a few times before being sober steadily. In the end, I am sober, I am healthy and I am a recovering alcoholic.