This blog has become a haven of sorts for me. It’s the place I come to for many different reasons, it’s where I can come when I am lonely, confused, happy, or simply when I have something to share. I relate to the title of an alcohol recovery podcast I listen to called “Home” (highly recommended), this is a home to me, a safe place, a place where I am understood and where I seek to understand more about myself, others and this strange yet rewarding life of sobriety from alcoholism.
I am in my 9th sober year from alcohol without relapse. I had to do a double check when I counted how many years it has been since my last drink because I don’t count the days the way I did during my first year of sobriety. For the sake of sharing, I got sober alone, I didn’t go to A.A or any other group. As I think over the last 9 years I realize that I have forged my own path of recovery that has worked well for me.
So 9 years have passed since my last drink, I have grown older, and often the thought passes my mind “How on earth would I do all of this if I was still drinking?”. I have kids who are getting older, teenagers, how would I look my kids in the face and tell them not to do something that as an alcoholic I used to do. This is the era I am in, raising teenagers into adults and I honestly thank my lucky stars every day for my sobriety as I go through this.
As I get older and I look around at those I have known over the years, the obvious problems of alcoholism are plain to see. Failed relationships, pain, difficulty doing life sober and jugging alcoholism, unfulfilled lives, health issues, mental issues, death, the list goes on. There is nothing new here when it comes to alcoholism, it has been ruining lives for as long as people have been recording the problems surrounding it and then some.
What do I tell my teenagers who are curious to try alcohol and do what their peers are doing? I tell them what I know, “that in life, problems will come to you as you make your way through life, don’t give yourself problems by indulging in something that makes you feel so good so soon, it’s too good to be true, ultimately you will pay the price if you happen to the unlucky one who is easily addicted”. Of course my teens believe that they know it all, have all the answers, can handle what comes their way and blah, blah, blah but I continue to remind them to take care of that fragile brain that is not yet fully developed and they are going to need firing on all cylinders to make it through this lifetime. I want to go further, take them to see an AA meeting room, hear the stories, introduce them to some of the homeless alcoholics, beaten wives, devastated adult children of alcoholics and so on but of course I don’t, in time they will see enough of it.
I look back to my teenage years when it all began for me, I often wish someone had been able to make me stop and see sense, I am not sure it would have been possible, but I think if someone had really taken the time out to understand me and help me I may not have gone through all that I did. It’s hard to say I regret my past because I know that I am who I am today because of my past, and I like myself a whole lot more today than I did years ago, I like my life as it is today more than ever before, so much has changed for the better.
Should everyone stop drinking? No, I don’t think everyone has a problem with alcohol, I have seen many people drink responsibly, at least I have not seen any outward disfunction that has risen from their drinking but I can’t be sure. I have noticed that some people simply don’t need alcohol, they just are naturally sociable and function well without it, What I tend to see is how people use alcohol as medicine for this life or for celebration, but mainly I’ve seen how a lifetime of preferring alcohol over family and other healthier pursuits has led to loneliness and a solitary less meaningful life, I have seen that parents have damaged their child’s life through not being able to focus on parenthood because alcoholism takes precedence. I have seen children of alcoholics grow older with a multitude of issues stemming from alcoholic parents and I know what affect my alcoholism has had on mine and the lives of those closest to me over the years. I have also seen that I am one of the very few that make it to the other side.