|Hi Friends, I’m Ed and I am an alcoholic.
I would like to start by thanking you all for being here. Your continued support is important to my recovery, because I cannot do it on my own This is my story.
I was born and raised in Canada, my parents being recent immigrants from Europe, and I am the youngest of two. I took my first drink at 13 yrs of age, at my friends place. His parents were gone away often, they had a fully stocked bar and we learned the art of watering down liquor. This was an occasional event. After I turned 16, I had no problem buying it on my own and drank on weekends and during the week. My late father, warned me at 16yrs of age, that beer was addictive. I also got my drivers license then and would drive to many bush parties, and farm parties. I was introduced to pot, which I tried but didn’t care for. I liked alcohol, that was my drug of choice. My father was verbally abusive to me, and physically abusive to my mother. I worked through high school and earned enough money to move out and put myself through college.
My father was a heavy drinker, and was a well respected member of the community. He died in my arms when I was 22 years old, from a massive stroke. My mother is currently alive and a (wet) alcoholic. I met a woman whom I later married, only to discover her having an internet affair. I enrolled in law enforcement and took on government jobs. I then went on to work as an investigator, and found myself in a high pressure but well paying job. Alcohol was allowed in the office, there was freedom there, everyone drank. I even drank while on surveillance (not allowed) as I was bored out of my mind, and drank at night, because I was lonely. My liver started to get affected and my doctor told me to quit. I could not quit on my own, and did not want to reach out for help, I denied the problem very creatively. I did this for 5 years, getting excellent promotions for work well done, up until alcohol took over my life. I was psychologically, and physically dependant on it. I tried to quit, tried half measures, a “drink-wise” program, and was off work sick for several weeks at a time, with liver problems. The time off work didn’t help me, I was physically ill, but continued to drink despite strong warnings. I was not eating, my wife was long gone, I could not manage on my own. Three years ago, I developed alcoholic psychosis…. I lost my sanity. My van was stolen and I pointed a loaded shotgun at the culprit. The police did not like that, since I was intoxicated at the time and they didn’t think I should be pointing guns, it was an offence under law. The following week, I took a bath with my clothes on, my family found me unconscious at home, and EMS was called. The police seized my firearms and hauled me off to jail, I refused medical treatment and they charged me with a weapons offence. I was ordered by a judge to see my doctor, a week later. One week of hell, DT’s , visual and auditory hallucinations…and I remember telling a psychiatrist about them, he put me on medication. After that week I saw my family doctor who was non-judgemental, and proceeded to pick up the phone when I met her, she called A.A right there in her office in front of me. The doctor wrote down a list of all meetings and times for the week and told me to go everyday. I was very scared, I had no recovery plan, and tried what the doctor suggested, I had nothing to loose. I ended up going to a speaker meeting. I was intrigued, jealous even of the success stories. I didn’t like face to face meetings, they were awkward, and I was unwilling to share. So, I went to a weekly Friday speaker meeting, and thought this was AA. I never worked the program. I some how managed to keep from drinking.
After a while, I had enough of AA. I was cured, so I thought, because I didn’t drink. Then, one day I started again, slowly at first. I went to buy a small bottle, and have only “one” drink. That one drink may as well have been a thousand, because it demolished everything I had worked for, in only a few weeks, I was back to drinking. I didn’t have the willpower to control it, alcohol controlled me. I didn’t then realise the cunning, baffling and powerful nature of alcohol. My intake increased slowly over time and I drank when I got up in the morning, one drink, before going to work, and after getting home, because I liked the effect it produced. I quit that job after a year. Then, I was back to drinking around the clock. My body gave in physically, and mentally. I felt hopelessness and doomed. There were recurring blackouts… I fell down the steps a few times, broke a toilet tank with my head, broke my tailbone…..I was drinking because I thought I would die if I didn’t drink, and had the dilemma of knowing I would die if I continued, but I didn’t care. My sister caught wind of this, and flew in from Florida. She took all my liquor, and took me to the doctor. They sent me to the emergency department of the hospital, and I was going into convulsions. They gave me massive doses of valium to stop convulsions and seizures and I stayed in the hospital for a few days, on an IV, and could not walk for several days. My liver was critical. It was then, when my brain cleared from the alcoholic haze, that I realized what had happened to me. For the first time, I realized that my body could not tolerate any alcohol, in any form, ever. I later learned this to be the allergy, the physical component of my addiction, and the continued use, was the obsessive insanity of the disease.
My plan was to go back to A.A., because I had no other solution to the problem. It was during a meeting there, I met an old friend. He was a recovering addict to heroin, alcohol and barbiturates. He was an addictions counsellor and had been sober for 13 years, and invited me to his home group, which I am now a member of. I had missed the whole point of AA the first time. I had no sponsor, no face to face meetings, I didn’t work the steps, wasn’t active at all. That is what I had been missing. I hadn’t developed the tools necessary to cope with the hurdles that life threw at me. I hadn’t opened my AA spiritual tool belt that was presented to me until then. I continued to go to face to face meetings and it became very evident after a few months, that there was a change…some sort of change in thinking. I had found my path, the seed was planted, and the plant was starting to emerge from the soil and grow spiritually. Sunshine and air, and water, the elements of life, nurtured me, and it all came from within the big book, the one I never opened…this held the key to my sobriety. The message was being received, I was willing to learn and open to ideas. My sponsor told me what he did: to say the 3rd and 7th step prayers, and do an inventory, everyday. This was the start of a new designed way of life. I now go to regular meetings, and am active. I can accept most of what life has to deal me….if I can’t, I turn it over to my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God to guide me and make the right decisions. That is what I needed, faith in a higher power greater than myself, regular meetings, a sponsor, getting active and working the big book and the steps/traditions. My attitudes about life are changing daily. It takes time, and effort and I strive for progress, not perfection. Life is not perfect, I can’t change the world, but I can change my attitudes, and live in the solution, not the problem. Sobriety is something I cannot afford to lose. I look at the old timers, I see the results of continued persistence, and the joy it brings. I see happy people savouring each minute of life. I need to continue to look at my actions, because they are a reflection of the language of the heart. If my actions are God motivated, then I am working the program, living in the solution, and carrying the message to the person who still suffers. This is the new designed way of living. Thank you for letting me share.