My story is much the same as any garden variety drunk; if I was conscious, I was drinking. Like a lot of drunks, I thought only other people were alcoholics. I even felt sorry for them as I would pass them at 9:00 am oblivious to the fact I’d been drinking since 6:00 am. Those poor, wretched souls. I had never hurt anyone but me and a couple of cars due to my drinking. The emotional damage I had inflicted on the people I love never occurred to me. My “bottom” was not dramatic either. It was just a very slow crawl through the life I’d created.
I would like to say I had a lucid moment and got myself into treatment, but I can’t. After all, I wasn't an alcoholic. But, when given the choice between rehab and no more bi-weekly paychecks, I greedily chose the former. I assumed I would be the brightest drunk ever to enter a treatment center. After all, I wasn't an alcoholic.
On my way to rehab my wife took me to a hospital for detox. Much like my drinking, detox was a few days of which I remember very little. It left me physically and mentally drained. Maybe I was ready.
My first experience in treatment at New Hope Recovery Center was the discovery that I was not alone in thinking I was the smartest kid in booze school. On my first day we were asked a very interesting question: "Have you ever tried to stop using drugs or alcohol using your own willpower?" Followed by, “how’d that work out for you?” I realized where I was and considered the question rhetorical. Obviously, I hadn't done such a hot job of managing my own decision making. At this point I was being offered help for a problem I didn't think I had. However, detox had relaxed my contrarian tendencies - but I didn't become a believer instantly. My first thought was “what’s the catch?” Well, there was only one: I’d been asked to have an open mind. No one was trying to force feed me. Instead, I was being offered a platter of suggestions that had worked for other drunks, leaving the decision to me to try or not. My history of basing my decisions on what they could do for ME, right now, might not be appropriate. Open mind? Maybe worth a shot. It was and it is.
Sobriety has never asked me to consider anything that isn't reasonable or in conflict with plain common sense. At the risk of sounding like a cheerleader, I can honestly say, I've never had the opportunity to enjoy life as I do today. But as I said, sobriety suits me.
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