I had my first good drunk when I was fourteen. That same night I had my first black-out. It was absolutely amazing and changed my life forever. I know now that my emotional growth and maturity completely stopped once alcohol entered my life. In fact, it would be very easy to say that I have lived three distinct lives – my life before alcohol, my life as a drinker, and my life sober.
I was raised in what was then the very small and remote town of Newhall. My family life was ok but my parents argued quite a bit as did my sister and I. I only mention this because I believe that since my emotional growth had been blocked so completely, I never had a chance to learn how to deal with these scars until well into my sobriety nearly 25 years later. These basic insecurities fuelled my alcohol consumption all through high school. Alcohol made me feel better than I ever had before. In retrospect, it is easy to see how vulnerable and ill-equipped I was.
I received my first DUI at the age of 15. Possession of a controlled substance at 16. Countless moving violations and traffic accidents shortly thereafter. My first head-on collision was at the age of 17. I was involved in four other major car and motorcycle wrecks. The grand finale was my second DUI at the age of 19 when I hit a parked car. All of these misadventures were symptomatic of my constant battle with the many shortcomings that plagued me with an overwhelming need to impress people with acts of heroism and bravery. The sad truth was that all I really displayed was complete stupidity and reckless disregard for anyone.
By the urging of my parents and the courts, I had been sent to A.A. many times with and without a court card. When I went, I always went to Young Person’s Meetings. I could never really identify with the “older” crowd. Of course, I was looking for all the differences and none of the similarities.
I was delusional about my alcoholism all the way through my first year of college. I approached my drinking in college with even more enthusiasm for now I was an adult, right? I quickly found that colleges were not as forgiving or lenient as I had experienced in high-school. I had to drop out after one semester much to the shame of my parents.
I soon became a liability to all those around me. My so-called-friends didn’t want me around any longer. My behavior was getting more and more erratic and dangerous. The last seven months between that last DUI and when I was put in a psychiatric ward is a complete blur. In fact it wasn’t until I read my police report years latter that I discovered how much time had passed!
I woke up one morning in my greasy gas station uniform (which I never bothered got out of any longer) completely appalled at what had become of my life. It wasn’t supposed to be this way! It was at that moment that I was blessed with the gift of Clarity. Ten seconds before I had no intention of changing one thing about my life. The words “I am responsible” exploded into my mind and I knew if I were to save myself, I needed to surrender my will completely, lock myself up or my path to doom would swiftly continue to the ultimate conclusion.
Phil S. used to always say that A.A. is where fairy tales come true. I chose to believe him and it has turned out to be the case for me! There has been terrific heart-ache and disappointment but I have stayed sober long enough to fully realize the truth to the saying that “my worst day sober if much better than my best day drinking”. I am no longer alone in spirit – today I have a Higher Power that is always there for me and the empty feeling that I could never fill with alcohol is gone forever.