It’s been awhile, and I’m sorry, I’ve been mad busy lately. That’s what happens when you get sober……you get busy living life. I’ve heard it said that if you can reach your five year mark without relapseing, than your chances of relapse are far less. I don’t remember where I heard that, but it always stuck in my head. The last time my own sponsor relapsed, it was around the time of his fifth year. Needless to say I worry and do my best to stick to my recovery program like glue. I’ve got one month to go before I reach that five year mark and I gotta admit it’s kinda scary for reasons I don’t quite understand as of yet.
Five years doesn’t seem like a long time to “normal” people, but to someone who suffers from any kind of addiction will understand me when I say it’s a huge deal. There’s a part of me that feels like it all just seemed to happen yesterday, and then there’s another part of me that feels like it was a life time ago. I’ve been thinking about the very beginning of my journey into sobriety lately. I guess that’s kinda normal. The first few weeks I was very angry. I wasn’t one of “those people” I tried to convince myself. I wasn’t sure what was going on, I was confused and yes, even afraid to some extent. Then I think about the day I saw the video tape of my last drunk. The image of my swollen face, my glazed eyes, swollen hands and insane behavior. I think about the devastated & defeated look on my wife’s face which was a direct result of a comment that I had made. I swear I could actually hear her heat break at my hands. That did it. I felt my body drain of denial and the reality of it all hit me like a ton of bricks dropped from the Empire State Building.
Then I’ll think back even further and I realize that although I was physically there, I missed my son’s entire childhood. I think about what I put him through and the damage I’d done over the years. It’s been almost five years since I’ve gotten sober, and it STILL mind boggles me at the amount of alcohol and drugs I’d consumed over the years. How many times I came close to over dosing. I often wonder how I still have my liver and never got alcohol poisoning. The pure insanity of how out of control I was for so long and how I never saw it still blows my mind.
People think of alcohol as being harmless. I hear a lot of “If it was so dangerous why would they sell it in the stores?” That’s the same thing as an addict who is addicted to pain killers saying, “I’m not addicted, the medication is prescribed to me.” Looking at it with a sober mind it sounds completely crazy, but when you’re in that addicted state of mind, it makes perfect sense to me. I used to pride myself on having control of my cocaine addiction. I would say that my body had an inner alarm that would go off when I’d had enough. When I started to vomit, that was my body’s way of saying, “You’re done for the night.” And I was proud of that!!!! It wasn’t until I got clean that I realized that vomiting is the beginning of an over dose, and I’d done that quite a lot in the years that I partook in that pleasure.
Twenty-eight years of drinking and drugging had taken me to my lowest of lows. It lead me down to the pits of hell and held me captive there. Today I’m as free as a bird. No obsession, no compulsion and no desire to bring that demon back to life. I am blessed that I got out when I did. Had I kept on, I honestly believe my actions would have surely killed me.
It starts out being fun; you’re going out and having a good time but the progression of this disease is very sneaky and dangerous. Before you know it, you’re sucked in. Nobody is exempt from the disease. There’s no way of knowing how it’s going to hit and when it’s going to strike. That’s the way it works. By the time you start to think you might have a problem, you’re already sucked up into the madness. If you can’t go out and have a good time without getting loaded, you may want to ask yourself why that is. Alcoholism and addiction causes a lot of wreckage not only to yourself, but to all those close to you. You lose much more than you gain. For one nights worth of what you call “fun” you’re losing relationships, childhoods, trust, respect, your sense of self worth and self respect and at times, you lose your life. You lose much, much more. Ask yourself if it’s all worth it at the end of the night.
AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist