For Me

Although it seems obvious enough, it took me years to realize that alcohol recovery is a matter of making a commitment to get clean and putting 100% of yourself behind those commitments. It’s something you have to live with and monitor every single hour of every single day. Even when you think you’re strong enough to relax the reins on your recovery, you still have to be careful. Anything, an unforeseen tragedy, a bad break-up, problems at your job, anything can put you right back on the bottle; this is something I learned first-hand throughout my 11 years as a “functioning” alcoholic.

Let’s examine the word “functioning” as it relates to alcohol abuse. People use that term to describe alcoholics that go to work, raise families and go about their daily lives while abusing alcohol. I’ve got a reality check for anyone who wants to throw that term around: if you’re relying on alcohol to get you through the day, you’re not functioning properly. Even if you think you’re getting by, alcohol won’t let you get by for that long without making you pay the price. Eventually your drinking and your life will collide and when it does, God help you and the people you love.

The first time I went into alcohol treatment, I had been drinking heavily for three years prior. I thought I caught it early enough and really didn’t think that I had a problem to begin with. Treatment was court-ordered, so I really wasn’t doing it for myself. I gave a half-hearted effort and got half-hearted results. Three weeks after I left my program, I started drinking again. I thought that since I had no license, there was no danger of me running afoul of the law anymore. For the next six years, my drinking progressed and became worse than it had ever been before.

The next time I attempted treatment, it was because my girlfriend gave me an ultimatum—again, it wasn’t for me; rather through fear of losing her. Can you guess what happened? About a week after I yessed everyone to death and went through the motions to complete the program, I decided alcohol as more important than her and started drinking again. She left me soon after. At this point, I started drinking even more out of depression and longing. This continued for about a year, during which I thought about killing myself more than I thought about taking another shot at addiction treatment.

Until I entered alcohol rehab purely for me, I couldn’t stop drinking. Eventually I took a long, hard look in the mirror and realized that the party was over and I had to do whatever was necessary to get my life back, even if it meant becoming someone else. I’m 39 years old now and have been sober for a little over four years; but one of the things I will never forget is the crushing feeling of defeat that comes with relapse. To me, this hurts worse than any withdrawal symptom.  

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ron C. 

Contact the National Alcoholism Center anytime toll-free at (888) 515-7704 or through our online form for our recommendations of the best alcohol treatment centers for you or your loved one!

Alcoholism treatment should never be attempted in your home or without medical supervision at a professional licensed treatment facility.