I started drinking when I was 18; right away I knew I found a way to escape reality and feel better about myself. My problem quickly escalated when I found liquor; which became a friend to me. I drank from the bottle to escape life’s problems. I grew up in a good family; my parents did not drink. I was raised in a good church; it was never my intention to become an alcoholic. I saw an alcoholic as someone who got locked up; that wasn’t me.
I moved down South and became friends with kids who also drank. I quickly escalated to someone who would drink until I blacked out. I didn’t know how to stop; I would drink until I couldn’t remember anything. I was trying to escape my past and forget my mistakes that brought me shame and guilt. Before I knew it, I was running with a drug dealer who had lost his license and needed transportation to do his deals. I was rewarded with drugs and alcohol every night. I knew there was no hope for me if I stayed in that area. I knew I had a problem but would not admit it; I moved to Pennsylvania and my problems moved with me.
I eventually met the love of my life and we got married; although I continued to drink. My ex-wife would call me a dry drunk; if I had no alcohol in me I was worse than when I was drinking. In 2005 we bought a house in Mechanicsburg, and I felt inclined to give to my new community. I joined the firefighter company and became a fireman. I saw a lot of death and destruction; alcohol again became a way to escape reality.
My alcoholism led to the termination of my marriage; this is when my drinking became extremely heavy. I became a “closet” drinker and tried to hide it. One night after a hard bender I drove to the firehouse to help clean up after a call. I almost got t-boned, and I knew I could have lost my life. I became somewhat ready to admit I had a problem and admit I needed help. Around this time was my first time in AA, and my family helped me find a rehab that was faith based. I did ninety days there, and I was “cured.” I thought I could be a social drinker, but I was wrong. An hour after I got out of rehab I went back to drinking. I started drinking heavily again. I eventually connected with a chapel and moved into a halfway house for guys coming out of prison, I was the house manager. I managed to stay sober through service work and AA. I stopped working the program and turned back to the bottle. Long story short, I became homeless and was in a rehab and psych unit for weeks.
I found a fresh start in Shippensburg which is where I live now. I became serious about recovery and went to AA faithfully. I dove in head first and got involved in service work. But, my drinking did not reach its end; I would relapse twice in a years’ time. Each time I was near six months sober I drank. But I quickly returned to AA and saw people that have what I wanted, a happy life.
This is why I am sharing my story. I just celebrated six months sober. I open and setup for weekly AA meetings, and I am involved with younger members in AA. I know I have a long road ahead of my filled with ups and downs, but I have gotten reconnected with God; I am confident if I stay connected to him daily I can stay away from alcohol.