I often think about the me I was compared to the me of today and it doesn’t matter how long I’ve been sober, it still shocks the hell out of me. If you’re reading this and knew me back then, you already know. If you are reading this and you only know the sober me, trust and believe I was a hot hot mess to say the very least.
WHEN I WAS DRINKING;
I was EXTREMELY egotistical, self centered, selfish, manipulative and full of anger. To lie was second nature to me and I didn’t care who I stepped on to get what I wanted. I became unreliable and extremely unpredictable. I definitely had narcissistic characteristics that would make most people projectile vomit once they spent enough time with me. I was cold and uncaring to most everyone unless they had something I wanted or needed. Toward the end, it wasn’t uncommon for me to pass out wherever I dropped and wake up with piss pants and no memory of the night before. I would find a way to justify my behavior no matter how bad it was and actually believed my own crap. It also wasn’t uncommon for my wife to have to undress me and remove my contacts at the end of the night, AFTER she had to pull me out of the truck and drag me into the house of course. Let me not forget forget her having to do that on our wedding night of all nights! I can’t count how many times I’d embarrass her and everyone else and Vicki would be left to make up excuses and try to clean up my mess. Little by little my friends were getting sick and tired of being sick and tired. They started to avoid me the minute they saw me pick up a drink more and more. I would fight with the people who showed concern and would tell me I was out of control. My son and my parenting took the back seat to my party life and I dragged him down the sink hole with me every step of the way. You would think that any of what I’ve said so far would be a wake up call but it never was. I started hiding my bottles at home while I was drinking them, stole my wife’s credit card to go buy it. I would stop at this over priced liquor store across the street from my house, not to buy my booze because they were way over priced, but to buy the .99 cent airplane bottles to drink on my way to the ABC store where everything was cheaper! I surely did! I saw absolutely nothing wrong with any of it. I wasn’t the one with the problem, everyone else was. In my mind, the world revolved around me and that’s all that mattered. But behind closed doors, I couldn’t look in the mirror at my reflection. I was full of self loathing, anger and pure hate. Even then, it never occurred to me that it was all the booze that was causing all my problems. I boosted myself up and made me to be someone I wasn’t because I couldn’t face the truth of how I felt, nor did I want other people to see it. The worse I felt, the more I drank. All my answers came by way of the bottle. It made it easy not to take responsibility for my actions, it made me not care about anything, it made me numb.
In sobriety, I have discovered “Humility” rather than “humiliation” and I’ve learned the difference between the two. I find pleasure and peace putting others before myself. I’ve joined the human race and although I may not always succeed, I do my best to do the next right thing on a daily basis. I’ve been spending the past four years discovering the real me and am no longer afraid to do so. Realizing that I don’t have to pick up a drink in an attempt to solve my problems has given me a freedom I can’t really put into words. I’m no longer consumed with rage, resentment and uncontrollable fear. Today I appreciate things that most people take for granted such as the colors in the sunset, a quiet morning on the porch with a cup of coffee, waking up. It’s almost as if I’d been wearing blinders my whole life and someone took them off. Suddenly I was seeing everything in full color. My life is not perfect today, but it IS manageable. I have learned to live life on life’s terms, accept things for what they actually are instead of what I want them to be. My sobriety has not given me my life back, it’s given me a life, and one I can be proud of. I’ve faced my demons, made my amends and dug my way out of the sink hole. My marriage and relationship with my wife is actually better than it was when we got married.. I can look in the mirror today and actually like the reflection looking back at me. I actually and genuinely care about others today. I have no problem doing for others without wanting or expecting anything in return. The world doesn’t revolve around me and I’m okay with that. I’m humble enough to know that no matter what I accomplish on this earth, I’m no better than anyone else and the ONLY time I should look down on someone is when I’m leaning down to help them up. Looking back, I see how many times I should have been hospitalized, put in a padded room or dead and my higher power was looking out for me even back then. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for helping me through it all until I was able to help myself. Today, my worst day sober is 1,000.00 x’s better than my best day drunk. Truth is, if they ever came out with a pill that would allow me to drink like a normal person, I wouldn’t take it. I don’t miss anything about it. I love my life the way it is today. I may not be where I want to me, but I’m right where I’m supposed to be. In the words of “Tim McGraw”, I ain’t as good as I’m gonna get, but I’m better than I used to be.” Most importantly…..I’m alive.