Never Say Die

Never Say Die…Just Die.inFOLIO Research Group

I was hoping that if I told a piece of my alcohol/drugging history and treatment it might make a difference to someone reading it on the Internet.

I grew up in a lower middle-class town outside Boston. As a teenager everyone around me drank. Everyone around me smoked pot. That was my drug of choice over alcohol. Maybe because I smoked marijuana I hung around with friends that also began to do other drugs. We had a blast.

I liked alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine. I consistently use marijuana every day for 20 years. In my late teens and 20s I began to go on cocaine or methamphetamine binges. I would disappear for a couple of days. When I came back I look like hell. But no one really said anything, none of my friends thought this was weird.

So this drug use continued into my 30s. In my late 30s began to see a problem. I was “disappearing” more frequently and more often. I started to swear off the alcohol, or swear off the meth, or swear off the cocaine and methamphetamine. I don’t remember any of those commitments to stop using lasting more than a month. Most of them lasted less than 24 hours.

I had a good job, I have bought a house and both of those things have evaporated. Now my friends were telling me I had a problem or they were avoiding me completely.I went to make first detox at 36 years old. I needed to get off alcohol and cocaine. I left a detox saying I was cured. The counselors at the detox wanted me to go to a 28 day program. I would hear nothing of it. I had things to do, people to see, and places to go. About six months later I returned to a different detox. Again I left with the same excuses. I avoided long-term treatment.

To make a long story short this went on for several years. I don’t know how many detoxes I went to, I just know it was a lot. Finally, I had some legal trouble and to avoid going to jail I entered into a four-month residential alcohol rehabilitation program. I remember when I went in there I was so beat up. I was so tired. All the chasing, all the drama, all the lying, all the hiding really was a nightmare. Somewhere around the second month of hanging around with all these sober guys in this alcohol rehab I started feeling really good. By the end of the fourth month I felt like I had really mastered being sober. This lasted about a year and a half.

Three or four years later than another few detoxes – but no long-term residential alcohol/ treatment programs I was worse than ever.

I could go on for some time, sharing about what I saw my family go through. I remember my parents sobbing so many times. I remember my father raging at me for what he said “you put your mother through”. He said I was evil.
So I want to fast forward a bit. Today I can look back at all those detoxes and efforts to stay clean and I see that I was committed to maintaining my “right to drink and drug”. No matter how painful it was for those around me, no matter how much I lost, the matter how ashamed that was a myself, the instant relief the drugs and alcohol gave me always won the internal mind contest.

I don’t even remember choosing to go to a long-term alcohol rehab. But I ended up in one. I was there for nine months. Here’s the difference in what I did. I worked the 12 steps with a counselor in the program who I used to call “Nazi Bill”. Of course I never said that to his face. But he was so strict about working the steps. When I did my fourth step think I wrote a couple hundred pages. I came to learn about the causes and effects of why I drank and drugged.

There were plenty of AA meetings in the area. It was a town full of alcoholics. There was a bar or a liquor store on every corner and almost an equal number of AA meetings each week. Nazi Bill insisted that I become involved with people in the program. Eventually I began to feel at the center of the pack and not on the outside. Eventually I could process those darker moments (feelings and situations that I didn’t want to be in) and I had this sense of space inside me, and I could make a decision. I had the power of choice.

I did what I did with all those early detoxes. I hate that line in AA “I had to drink every drink I did to get here.” I get it. But I can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if I had surrendered sooner? What would’ve happened if I had done what was suggested and gone into long-term alcohol treatment sooner?

So all I can say to someone who is reading this and can identify with my past is that instead of taking six – nine – 12 months of my life to do treatment. I lost a decade being resistant. Go to it. Surrender.