I was an alcoholic before I took my first drink



It’s been too long since I’ve done a post. I want to take the time to thank you for pushing yourself to do something positive about your drinking today. It’s not easy to say, “No, I don’t want to drink today.” It’s not easy to slow our minds down when we have racing thoughts. So I want you to slow things down if you are having racing thoughts today. It’s ok, the wheels in my mind are spinning constantly with worry more than anything. I just can’t help it. I’m an alcoholic and that’s just the way things are for me. But I pray and ask God to relieve me from self so my mind can rest easy each day.

I needed to write today for one simple reason. My mind is being consumed with selfish thoughts and not having enough in life. I’m able to relax my mind when I write and I hope my post helps ease your mind too.

It was about mid June 2009 when my girlfriend, now wife, was driving me to New Beginnings Treatment Center in Waverly, MN. I had just gotten another DWI and that was the last night I had a drink. It was June 4, 2009. I was living in a shit-hole apartment in a northwest suburb of the Twin Cities. I had just moved in the beginning of May on the third floor. I enjoyed my overnight stay in the nice warm confines of my jail cell. I’m being facetious of course about enjoying lying on a hard steel cot with a pad as thin as a coffee filter. I was released in the morning and had no car to get home as this was confiscated by the authorities. I had a cell phone but no one to call to pick me up except one friend at the time. I called him and asked for a ride to my apartment. I explained my situation to him, he reassured me I’d be ok and that he would do what he could to help me. He was working and couldn’t pick me up until later in the afternoon.

It was about 6-7 hours later as I sat on a bench outside the jail when my ride finally arrived. I didn’t have any money so I couldn’t call a cab. I guess it was the first moment of many that my life was going to be different. I accepted what was, and just kept thinking how humbling it was to sit on a bench all day watching people of all walks of life come in and out of the facility. As you can imagine, I had plenty of time to reflect on where I was and how I had gotten to this point in my life. I didn’t question anything. I sat in silence thinking about what life was going to be like going forward. And to be honest, I didn’t have the first clue. I just “knew” it was going to better than what I had left behind the night before.

I had returned to my apartment and couldn’t wait to take a hot shower. I was half way through my shower when I heard a loud pounding on my door. I couldn’t figure out who would be knocking on my door when hardly anyone knew where I lived. I yelled that I was coming and to give me a minute. I opened the door and it was my landlord. He didn’t look happy and handed me an eviction notice saying I had 10 days to move out. I told him I was going to get him the deposit I owed him for moving into the apartment, but he said it doesn’t matter at this point. I was so ashamed and demoralized. I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. I thought to myself, “Could it get any worse?”

The answer is YES! It can always get worse before it gets better.

My girlfriend was working and I didn’t see her until the next day after I arrived from coming home from jail. I felt I let her down as she was with me when the DWI happened. She begged me for her to drive. But once again, my alcoholic mind rose to the occasion and convinced her that I was fine to drive. Sound familiar? (shaking head)

She called me and told me she was on her way. I was looking forward to seeing her. She knocked on the door and I let her in. I informed her I had been kicked out and didn’t know what to do at this point. I was thinking she would hug me and tell me it’s going to alright and we’ll think of a place for me to stay. But that didn’t happen. She didn’t hug me, but looked me directly into my eyes and asked me with all seriousness, “So, are you ready to get some help?” This was a defining moment of the beginning of my journey into recovery. The reason being is that was exactly what I needed someone to say to me. I was needing help but didn’t know where to find it or how to get it. My answer to her was immediate and certain. I said (with happiness and determination), “You’re fucking right I am!”

The roads were unfamiliar to me as we were on our way to treatment, no different than the roads I was about to travel on my journey of recovery. We finally arrived at the facility. I can remember it so vividly like that of a great childhood memory. I can still say today that, “I wanted to walk through those doors” that so many alcoholics and addicts fear. The only fear they really have is that they don’t want to let go of their disease. It’s as simple as that. Alcoholics and addicts can’t stand people telling them what to do or how they should do things. I’m no different. But the real difference was that I “wanted” people to show me how to live a better life than that bullshit, depressive, life sucking, soul sucking lifestyle that is called alcoholism!

I wanted someone to show me how the recovery thing is done.

And without questioning why it’s done the way it’s supposed to be done.

I put my arms down, palms facing outward, and at a slight angle to my sides as I walked into the facility. Like that of giving yourself up to the cops to surrender. Some of you may know what I’m talking about? I’m explaining metaphorically however, what was going on in my mind. I wasn’t literally doing this physically. This is how it felt in mind and throughout my body that I wanted all the bullshit to end.

I had finally and fully surrendered.

So there I was sitting with the intake person who was a woman. I was performing what they call a “Rule 25”, which allows a person to get help even if they don’t have insurance. I don’t remember much of the questions she was asking, but one question stood out from all of them. She asked, “Are you willing to share your entire history of your use?” Meaning, to describe the beginning of my drinking up until this point. I replied saying, “Absolutely, you can have it all. I’m done.” This caught her by surprise it seemed. She could tell I was serious and I was! Many alcoholics and addicts are very sneaky to say the least about hiding their use. I’ve been there, done that too. We want to keep the door open to get high, plain and simple. I wasn’t ready before and many others have been in the same boat. It’s a sad cycle but very real. We lie to keep our disease, we lie to keep the lie going, we lie to keep ourselves sick. I was too tired to be sick anymore.

A revelation happened when I was describing my using history and it happen fairly quickly while I was spilling my guts.

I realized I was an alcoholic before I took my first drink.

You might be saying, “What do you mean?” The simplest way I can answer this is that I finally got 100% honest with myself and who I was, an alcoholic. A person, a human being that can NOT drink normally, period. I still can’t believe it myself when I think about that moment. I thought about the very first time I wanted to drink to get “drunk”, not just to drink. You see, there is a huge difference here. I realized that I was programmed to be a drunk from the start because I wanted to know what it was like to get drunk and “feel” drunk. Make sense? No? Let’s look at it this way. Does a normee (non-alcoholic) tell themselves they want to get drunk when they want to go out and have “a drink”? No, they literally can say they want to go out and have a drink, or two and be fine with that experience. Or, does a normee plan on getting drunk every time they know they’re going to go out and have a couple of drinks? Never!

I realized that my mind is programmed differently with regards to drinking. Simply, I drink to get drunk because I like to get drunk. I like (or liked) the feeling of escaping from the world and not having to face my problems. Unfortunately, if you’re like me the problems only grew over time.

I had nothing left to give to my disease. I was tired. I was broke. I was broken. I was a man with nothing to offer to anyone. By the grace of God (my higher power) I hit my bottom. I was ready. I was ready to be renewed with something, anything that was better than my last shot. I didn’t know what to expect except that I knew I didn’t want to drink anymore. What a miracle this was and still is for me to say this! Seriously people, do you know what a miracle this is? I came from the depths of hell and I’m typing in a damn blog for you right now. How is that possible? Don’t think this recovery stuff is bullshit, because it has saved my life. It has given me a new life. And it can for you too.

You have no more fight left in you if you’ve reached the point of no return like I experienced. So put your arms down and surrender like I described earlier. It’s much easier to quit the fight than continue a fight you will never win. YOU WILL NEVER WIN AGAINST THIS DISEASE! It will pound you and pound you until you can’t make it out, or you will die.

I pray for you today, that you will find the unknown roads to your recovery and have faith that you too can find what thousands of alcoholics and addicts have found in recovery. A new life of peace and serenity. A new life where you can look back at the roads you traveled with your disease and also roads filled with great memories of living in recovery.

So I ask you, “Are you ready to get some help? – How will you answer this question?

God bless,

Derek L.

One Comment

  1. Thanks, great article.

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