I drank alcoholically for 30 years and now I don’t.
In the beginning, I was a guts for alcohol even though I didn’t get my hands on it very often. I was about 13.
Weddings were good, because a.) it was okay to let the kids have one or two sips…it’s funny even! And b.) if you’re as clever as me you can easily get your hands on three or four by asking different aunties, uncles and older cousins.
Then there was Dad’s stash, which you could secretly pinch one a day, or two when he was already drunk before he would notice anything was missing.
I impregnated my first lover and we, being good Catholic kids got married at seventeen. Four days before the wedding I got my drivers license so that I could borrow Dad’s car from the reception and take my new wife to our Wedding Night Motel (drunk).
My Dad never seemed to be an alcoholic because he told me that only men in the parks were alcoholic and he was a drunk. Drunks don’t drink in the morning or alone. So he worked night shift and had lots of booze drinking friends. One was too many and a hundred wasn’t enough!
It didn’t even seem strange when my big sister gave him a mug that said, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…”.
The one thing I did know about him though is that…He thought I was stupid.
Now, I know this is not the case – it never was the case, but I was a kid and when I would do something that upset him, and he would say, “Michael, are you stupid or something?” – I’d just figured that he thought I was stupid or something.
Mum was my protector and I was hers.
The envy that that little sentence caused was worthy of another chapter. My nickname with the siblings was “The Brat”.
Mum and I would visit Grandfather or Nana on weekends, and watch Audie Murphy and Debra Kerr movies on Sundays. We’d study the form-guide together on Saturdays and go to the races. Dad was at the club most weekends. Or sleeping off the night shift from the week gone by.
After I got married and dropped out of University, sales seemed to be the way to go for me, an introverted squash player and stamp collector.
This was my big break into the world of serious drinking. In my first full-time job (I had worked in hospitality and cleaning part-time in university) I was made a Field Manager and given a team of canvassers after 7 weeks. This allowed me to sit in a pub for half the day with other ‘managers’ and drink after work on Fridays until I would drive home pissed to my new, beautiful wife and son.
Yada, yada, yada…
Business failure after business failure ensued and there was never any connection made between my love of alcohol and my uncanny knack of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, with too little money and too many excuses.
In 1997 I changed towns and started drinking full-time. My second (wife) followed me with the other four kids in tow, and I spent nearly a decade drinking myself into a grave.
When I came kicking and screaming into AA in late 2005, I got a brief glimpse of what the problem was and how ‘I’ could fix it. It took me two and a half years and five attempts to realize that I could not do it on my own, and finally, with the help of some friends, I began my sober journey.
This is the story that got me into a happy, sober and frickin’ awesome life.
Now, I am ten years away from my last drink and I write about addiction. I do it because I can through the media of this marvelous webinet thing.
I do it because I want to help others who have a similar pain and who want my solution.
And I do it…
because I have a responsibility to give back to the world that I live in – it’s the rent I pay for the blessings that I enjoy every day.
This story was prompted by Anthony Metivier. I am doing an online course of his and Jonathan Levi, and he told me that if I want to help others I have to write my story of pain and relief. For if I can recover from a seemingly unending story of pain and failed recovery than others might like to hear it and learn from it.
Maybe someone JUST LIKE ME can benefit from my struggle.
Maybe there is few of you – you can recover too.
You will recover if you do what I have done.
If you like the feel of this article and are thinking you would like to give sobriety a go, try my FREE 5 part course, “Stop Drinking – Start Living”.