Where would I be?
When you get sober, as much as you’d like to forget your past and pretend it never happened, it’s very important to remember it. ALL of it. Our screw-ups will one day become our biggest assets. If we forget the pain we caused, the embarrassment, the turmoil and havoc, it will be easy to go back and repeat the process. There is a saying among us, “We do not regret the past, nor do we wish to close the door on it.” That could not be a truer statement. I don’t kick myself in the ass for my past anymore. I learn from it. Where would I be if I had not gotten sober????
In order for me to answer that question, I MUST remember where I was and how bad it got. I justified my actions for a great many years. When I finally got down to the wire, I realized that I truly was a monster when I drank. I became a liar, an egotistical & prideful fool. I cared about nobody but myself and as much as I tried to lie to myself, my life was nonexistent past the bottle. I hurt so many people; my wife, my biological son, the group I was with, my extended family I’d come to have. Everyone that crossed my path. The reality of it was, I was a walking tornado that destroyed everything in my path. When I first got sober and the reality of it all hit me, I was mortified. I wanted to run and hide. But I’ve found over the years that remembering where I was is important to where I’ve managed to go and if I wish to continue that journey, I must use my past actions as a shining example of how bad I got, how unmanageable my life was and where I never want to go back to.
I use my own experiences as examples to others. I do so without shame or embarrassment because I know in my heart of hearts that I’m NOT that person anymore. I was a sick individual at that time and as a result of that sickness, I did a whole lot of crazy shit that I normally would not have done had I been sober.
Where would I be, had I not gotten sober? The very first answer to that question for me would be “Dead.” However comma….if I wasn’t dead, I’d be on my way. I’d also be alone, miserable, hopeless and bitter. My life would be unmanageable to say the least. I have absolutely NO DOUBT that had I not pulled my head out of my ass when I did, I would have surely lost everything near and dear to me. My wife, my friends, my family my health……..EVERYTHING. I would have been the “Walking Dead” until such time God showed mercy on me and put it all to an end. That may sound over exaggerated, but please believe me it’s not.
Although I didn’t drink every day, I was a binge drinker which means when I did drink, I couldn’t stop and I would consume an insane amount of alcohol. My face and hands would swell because of the amount I’d consume. It was nothing for me to drink a gallon of whatever (usually, Vodka at the end) all by myself, and drinking home alone became more and more of a habit. Black outs became a constant thing, not just every now and then. My wife would find me passed out in strange places all over the house even though I started out in the bed. I was not a stranger to pissing in my pants during a binge either. Now you might be saying to yourself, “OMG I would never admit that!” Why not? These are the lengths that my alcoholism had taken me. I have to remember it all. If I allow myself to hide it and pretend it never happened, I’m right back into living in denial. Denial is what got me there in the first place. Why would I share something like that? Because if you’re reading this, and any of it sounds familiar….If you know someone that can relate to this OR if you can relate to anything I’ve said at all, than I’m hoping that you will come to realize that you’re not alone. There IS a way out, and it IS possible.
As disturbing as my past may be, I’ve come to accept it. I’ve also come to embrace the changes I’ve made. That person that I was will always be within me somewhere, but if I keep my past fresh in my mind, I can continue to do what needs to be done to ensure I never become that person again. By talking about it, by teaching, by working with others who are where I used to be I will continue to move forward and not backwards.
There are parts of my past that I can even laugh about today. Hell, if you can’t laugh at yourself, there’s a problem. It means you’re still stuck in that reality rather than the present. It may not seem like that at first, but in time, you can and you will. I almost destroyed myself, but by the grace of God, I picked myself up and I’m here today. My mission is to try my best to help others and it is my honor to be able to do so. I don’t live in my past anymore, but it IS important that I revisit it and never allow myself to forget.
September 30, 2014
AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist