Decades of Addiction

At what point do you stop? At what do you finally say enough is enough and get yourself the help you need? If you’re like me, you’ll let alcoholism take you to the brink of self-destruction before finally gathering the strength to fight back—don’t be like me. Alcoholism grows. Make no mistake about it; it’s a living thing and eventually it will become stronger than you if you let it. For me alcohol first presented itself as a casual friend. As time went on, I relied on it more and more to get me through the bad times in my life. After all, what are friends for, right?

By the time I was 30, alcohol had taken over my life. The worst part was, I didn’t even realize it. I would go about my business, live my life and continue to make my way in the world, but I always seemed to want a drink. I guess I was predisposed to alcoholism, but I never saw it coming. As time went on and I tried to start a family, alcohol became an increasingly dominant influence in my life. I started drinking earlier and earlier in the day, all the while telling myself that I was just drinking because I wanted to, not because I needed to.

As everyone who suffers from alcoholism knows, after a while you start to trade little bits of your normality to rationalize your drinking. It starts with telling yourself things like: “I can have the occasional drink at 10am if I’m not doing anything else” then you say things like: “I can have a little drink or two before work” then it’s something outrageous like: “I can drive buzzed because I know what I’m doing.” Eventually my alcoholic compromises nearly killed me; but they also forced me to see that I had a problem and that I needed help in the most urgent sense of the word.

When I got to treatment, I still wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing there. I don’t think anyone is 100% confident that they’re going to make it when they enter a program.  The best alcohol rehab centers make you strive toward recovery and eventually help you take ownership of yourself and pride in your sobriety. I was lucky enough to land in a program where my care team really wanted to see me get well and succeed in my recovery. From the horror stories I hear at my AA meetings, it could have just easily gone the other way.

I’m 44 years old now and some days I feel like I was born yesterday. Recovery has proven to be the great equalizer in that it instills a newfound sense of humility. Although I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs, I can honestly see that I’m one of the luckiest people alive…because I’m lucky to be alive. Every morning I wake up, look in the mirror and remember the second chance that treatment afforded me.


Contact the National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center (NASAIC) anytime toll-free at (800) 784-6776 or through our online form, and we will recommend the leading drug and alcohol rehab centers for you or your loved one.