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Old 02-02-2016, 08:25 PM   #1 (permalink)

Join Date: Oct 2009
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Thank you Sober Recovery!

I received an email from this forum tonight. I had mostly forgotten this forum existed, but in four days I will have 6 years of sobriety. And I owe it and my life to Sober Recovery.

Here is my story as I wrote it in 2011 on another forum...
I always felt different than everyone else as a child, and never really fit in. I was shy and fat, and had few friends. That started to change the summer before I started my senior year in high school. I worked at a fast food joint and when the closing crew got off work at midnight we headed for the lake where we partied, and swam until 3 or 4 AM. Then we would head back to town and take over one of the Denny's-like restaurants and laugh until almost dawn. All of this I did sober because I was a good kid and followed the rules. A couple of my new friends made it a goal one night to get me drunk. It was great! I was actually mad when I realized how great drinking was. All this time all those adults had been drinking and telling us kids how bad it was, and if we drank we'd end up dead for any number of reasons. All those after school specials depicted anyone my age that ever touched alcohol to immediately turn in to a raging alcoholic who couldn't function without a drink. I called bull **** on that. Drinking was wonderful. I loved the way it made me feel and I set out to do it as often as I could!

It didn't take long before I was a daily drinker. Even though I had been introduced to alcohol by this somewhat tight knit group of co-workers that I hung out with after work, I quickly started hanging out with one particular co-worker whose mother would buy us beer and leave it waiting for us in his apartment over their garage. Every weekend found us heading back to his house after work, and on school nights, I'd shotgun a few beers I stole from my dad’s fridge in our garage. I never drank before school or work, but I did take to smoking pot before those events. Life was good. I went to school, worked two jobs (about 54 hours a week), partied daily, and still had money.

Around the time I turned 21, I stopped smoking pot, booze was now legal for me (shots of Jose Cuervo washed down with Bud was my drink of choice) and my career required occasional drug testing. Pot was always a take it or leave it thing for me anyway. I'd smoke it for months, then just get bored with it and not even think about it for a month or so. My career took off and before long I was making tons of money, and spending most of it on booze. I worked hard and I partied hard. I always knew in the back of my mind that eventually I'd have to cut down on the drinking, but figured I'd just grow out of it. After all, wasn't it normal for college age guys to party half the night every night? I always figured as long as I could make it to work in the morning, and as long as I was a success, then I didn't have a problem.

Some years later I married a girl who I thought drank as much as me. Turns out she was just trying to keep up with me. I got tired of being away from home for work and changed careers. I no longer made nearly the money I did before, and decided we needed to cut down on our drinking. Besides we both became Christians and while we don't think drinking is immoral or sinful, we did believe that drinking to the point of drunkenness was, and we certainly drank past that!

We tried all the usual methods we alcoholics try. To name just a few methods we tried, 'just having a few', 'just drinking beer', 'just drinking wine', 'only drinking on the weekend', 'joining clubs and making obligations that we couldn't drink until afterwards'. Nothing worked. Drinking just beer resulted in drinking a 30-pack a night instead of a 6-pack to wash the tequila down with, drinking wine ended up in drinking 2 1.5 liter bottles and heading to town for tequila. Not drinking until after club meetings just meant not getting to bed until 3 AM instead of the 10 PM I had trained myself to be in bed by in order to make it to work at 6 AM.

Eventually we decided we just needed to quit drinking. At first our dry spells would last weeks or even months, but inevitably I would come home with a bottle to 'celebrate' something. Or, someone at work would **** me off, or she'd **** me off, and I'd 'need a drink'. Every time we quit drinking, the dry period would be shorter than the last time. Every time, I would have a little less hope than the last time, that this would be the time I quit for good. The periods on the wagon got shorter and shorter until I never went more than a day or two without giving in to the temptation, and finally the last year or so of my drinking, I never missed more than a night of drinking at a time, and that was maybe a once a month occasion.

I would wake up in the morning feeling fine (I never got hangovers anymore but did for the first time in my life start having occasional ‘black outs’ of the night before) but remorseful for the money I had spent on booze the night before. I would swear off drinking for good, and pray to God that he would take this addiction from me. By noon I’d be thinking about a drink and telling myself that I wasn’t going to buy a bottle. After work I’d punch out and stand at the entrance to my work just flat arguing (silently) with myself about stopping for a bottle. Sometimes co-workers would ask what I was doing and I would tell them I was trying to remember if I need to get anything for dinner or not. I remember one of the arguments I used on myself was, “You’ve failed every other time you tried to quit, you’re just going to fail again. Why are you making yourself miserable putting off the inevitable, just get a bottle and at least you can be happy tonight. You can quit tomorrow.”

I don’t know how many times I had that argument with myself, and even if I would win the argument and drive home without stopping, it would only be a matter of a few hours at home before I would find some reason to get upset about something and storm off, back to town, to the liquor store. I had prayed for God to keep me from taking that next drink and then turned around and bought the drink myself so many times that I was embarrassed to talk to God anymore. I just knew I was a failure and week willed. I mean, how hard is it to NOT do something? Yet I failed every time. I was embarrassed to talk to God because I thought that I must just not want to stop drinking. I thought that if I really wanted to quit I would have had more will power.

Then I started having a pain in my side, sort of a cramp like feeling. I noticed it in bed when I turned over. At first I thought nothing of it, and then when it didn’t go away I thought it must be some sort of hernia. Eventually the pain kept getting worse and was accompanied by a perpetual case of the runs. I finally did some research on the internet and determined it was the beginnings of the second stage of alcoholic liver disease (the first state has no symptoms), and was more than likely reversible if I quit drinking.

This was it I figured. This was the point where I really had no choice but quit drinking or die! I couldn’t believe it, it had come so suddenly. After all those years of trying to and wanting to quit, I now absolutely had to quit drinking. My wife and I talked about it, and this time we really meant it. This time we were done drinking, for good!

The next afternoon found me drunk again! I was devastated. For all I knew drinking could kill me in a month or two, and here I was drinking again. I went on this way for a couple of weeks, quitting “for real, I swear”, every day or two, only to end up drunk the next day. Eventually I gave up. I realized that I was powerless over alcohol and I was going to die. The only choice I had now was if I was going to keep drinking until my health failed and I couldn’t work, and started piling up medical bills to leave for my wife, or just kill myself now.

I would like to say I chose to commit suicide out of some heroic effort to spare my wife the medical bills, and debt that I would end up leaving her with, but while that was part of my reasoning, my real motivation was the fact that I realized that anything short of locking myself in a motel room and drinking myself to death (if I could) would eventually result in some hospital or institution physically preventing me from drinking, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to die an alcoholic death while sober!

So, one night, we got liquored up, and after my wife passed out I started searching on the internet for ways to kill myself. I wanted it to be painless, and I wanted it to look like an accident. In the process of typing in different search strings, I ended up on an addiction recovery forum like this one. I read introduction posts from others like myself, who were baffled by their inability to stop drinking, and I read replies by people who seemed to have the same problem but had found a way to sober up.

Most of these people replying were Alcoholics Anonymous members, and they were like a light bulb in my head, “Duh! I forgot about AA!” I thought. I had mentioned AA to my wife before and she didn’t want any part of it, so I dismissed the idea. Now in this time of redoubled effort to quit drinking, I hadn’t even remembered AA existed. I thought, well if I’m going to kill myself, I might as well attend an AA meeting first. Long story short, I spent the next couple of weeks lurking on that forum, and eventually got up the nerve to post a much briefer introduction than this one.

I mentioned the part about my wife refusing to try AA, and someone said to me, “Just assume your wife is going to be stinking drunk every day for the rest of your life. You need to quit drinking for yourself. Who knows, maybe she will follow your example.”

Well I finally did it, after a couple of weeks of reading that forum, and a few hours of posting and reading replies, I went to my first AA meeting on a Saturday afternoon while my wife was at work. In that hour I found that I had found my new home, where I belonged, and others understood exactly what life was like for me and who I was, even if I didn’t!

The rest as they say is history. I’ve been in AA for almost two years, and have been sober for almost 19 months! That’s about 570 days in a row! Shortly after coming to AA I finally recovered from the runs. I had had them for about 5 – 6 months, and had lost about 70 pounds in that time, all awhile eating anything in site! I truly owe my life to Alcoholics Anonymous, the people in my home group, my sponsor, the many people who started that other forum and the ones who posted on it, and most of all to God and His grace!
In case you didn't figure it out, that forum that gave me the courage to go to my first AA meeting was Sober Recovery.

I did as close to 90 meetings in 90 days as I could, and I did that a few times in a row. I even posted on here about the possibility of AA being an obsession. Eventually drifted away. Despite doing service work and being actively involved, I just kind of got bored with it. I still maintain some contact with the group, well kind of. I see a few around town and the DCM tells me when they are out of meeting schedules which I update and print for them. But I don't go to meetings. It would feel kind of wrong if I went these days. Sort of like saying, "I'm not part of this group but I'll show up once in a while to hear you spill your soul then go back to my life."

Anyhow I'm not here for that. I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for being here when I needed you and saving my life. I love my life these days and hope maybe I am sharing some hope and experience by posting this.
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Old 02-02-2016, 08:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
Behold the power of NO
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What a great story Jesse. Thank you for checking back in. I joined SR when I was already a few days sober and this community has been a very important part of my recovery. Like you, I started with AA but then I switched more toward mindfulness and Buddhist base recovery.
I am a double winner myself and I was just curious: Did your wife make it?
"Nobody realizes some people expend tremendous energy to be normal." Albert Camus
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Congratulations Jessee
I lay aside the battles within my own mind, and grant myself peace.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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That's wonderful, Jessie. I'm so glad for you. I hope your wife made it through as well!
"Having made what you know to be the correct decision, never ever question that decision." - Allen Carr
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:44 PM   #5 (permalink)

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My wife never tried AA. She came to the social events but never a meeting. Though I don't think she is an alcoholic. She mostly quit without much effort, she will have a beer now and then, though she is a bit too fond of margaritas when we go to dinner. It's ruined a couple of special occasions for us. But que sera, sera.
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Old 02-02-2016, 11:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Your story made me happy.

Thank you.
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Old 02-03-2016, 05:38 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you for the update Jesse.

Congratulations on 19 months!!

You should post in our Stories of Recovery.
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Old 02-03-2016, 06:26 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Congrats on your sober time! Thanks for posting a message of hope.
I'd rather live in my car with my dogs than live in a castle without them.

Dogs may not be our whole lives, but they make our lives whole.

Don't wait for the Last Judgement. It takes place every day. -Albert Camus

Find the good and praise it. - Alex Haley
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Old 02-04-2016, 04:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Congratulations and thanks for sharing Jesse
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Old 02-04-2016, 04:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Congrats from me too Jesse

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Old 02-04-2016, 05:03 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Very inspiring.
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Old 02-05-2016, 11:20 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Congratulations Jesse
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Old 02-07-2016, 07:39 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Hi, Jesse-

Congratulations!!! Thank you so much for posting your story. You have risen up from the depths; really incredible!

"The voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes, but in having new eyes."

--Marcel Proust
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Old 02-29-2016, 04:26 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Congratulations Jesse, what a fantastic post
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Old 02-29-2016, 04:29 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Great story, Jessie.

Congratulations on six years of sobriety. Well done.
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Old 02-29-2016, 04:29 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Congratulations Jesse!
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