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My 1st taste of alcohol was at 8, at a cousin’s graduation. I was drinking “punch”. I don’t remember much, but was sick the next day and was told it’s just a hangover and it’ll pass.

High school was no more awkward for me than others. I enjoyed drinking and smoking pot after school and on weekends but not during swim season. My coach, the 1st of many, sat me down with a couple other guys after junior year to express concern.

I swam in college, but my drinking was excessive. I got into trouble, alcohol related and was kept from taking a semester abroad. Another time I got community service.

Shortly after college my mom passed away from Cancer.  I was 22; devastated I began to intentionally use alcohol to cope. I saw others managing to grieve without it, but I wouldn’t. It was October ’95 and the first time I admitted to myself I was an alcoholic.

For 20 years I quit jobs to get a fresh start; and would leave the state over a DUI.

3yrs ago, I got arrested; public drunkenness with my kids on my daughter’s b-day. Dad of the year. CPS, custody case, child support case, and criminal court. That dried me out a few months. I held on for a while; I knew I lied when I said I was done.

Relapse started slowly, but by the time the pandemic started I was laid off and drinking 24/7 again. My kids hated me, so did I. I was ashamed, embarrassed, and couldn’t believe I was so weak.

My kids went to their mom’s and spilled their guts. I was furious at the time, but it saved my life. I began therapy, and begrudgingly, 12 step recovery. I was home; I’d found my people. It only took 47 years, and unfathomable pain and suffering, but I found it and ran with it. It was rebirth. I was so broken I just did whatever was asked of me, and asked what’s next?

It took time but CPS was resolved, and Family court went ok. Criminal court did what it does. I humbly accepted the consequences and kept the ball rolling. I rebuilt myself with a foundation of spirituality and willingness. I worked the steps and help others find their way. It’s not the life I’d imagined for myself; it’s better.

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