I chose recovery over the alternative very early in life. I was only legal to drink for a little more than a year when I decided I’d had enough.
I was about 30 minutes short of homeless. I technically had a car but couldn’t afford to keep it up. My health was already failing. After having bloodwork done, a doctor told me I had the liver of a 60-year-old chronic alcoholic and I’d likely be worm food before my 30th birthday if I didn’t quit drinking. I was 21.
I stayed drunk for another year after that. Doctor Jim figured the real doctor was lying to scare me. What can I say? Adding alcohol makes me stupid.
I got myself into quite a bit of trouble over the next year and a judge decided it might be a good idea for me to quit drinking. The whole entire State of Michigan, everybody, agreed. It said so on all of the paperwork… The People of the State of Michigan… vs. Me.
I took that chance after a considerable amount of hemming and hawing. By “considerable”, I mean a freaking lot. When I walked through the doors of the treatment center, I had every intention of doing my time and using again when I got out.
But I didn’t. I had a life-altering change of mind in treatment… shortly after the DTs started. At 22 years-old, who gets the DTs?
Once the decision was made, I almost never looked back. I did for about 30 seconds and it scared the hell out of me so I severed ties with all of my old friends. I completely (read entirely) left my old life in the rearview. I gave everything I had to recovery… and I did recover.
I’m in the middle of celebrating 21 years of borrowed time on the right side of the grass. Figure, if I’d kept drinking and died at 30 as predicted… and I’m 51…
My life doesn’t even resemble what I started out as. I don’t even know who that stupid kid is anymore. Life has only gotten better. Happier. I understand peace and enjoy it thoroughly.
As I like to say, “The hardest thing I’ll ever do in my lifetime I did at 22-years-old. I lived through hell on earth. Anything after that* is a party by comparison”.
Keep coming back. No matter what. Even if your ass falls off. If your ass does fall off, put it in a plastic bag and take it to a meeting. Someone there will be able to show you how they put theirs back on. If you work for it, your life will get so good, you’ll think it can’t possibly get any better. Six months later, you’ll realize it did. All by itself. This is a promise, if you work for it. I’ve been at that point in life so many times I’ve lost count, but I keep coming back.
I want to see for myself exactly how good it can get before I slide into my casket in a cloud of dust and shout as I croak, “Wow, what a ride!”
*Anything after living through hell on earth is a party… if I work for the good stuff. If I simply quit drinking and do nothing, guess what I’ll get?