Growing up in an alcoholic household as a kid was challenging, not because I believed it was challenging back then, but because when I look back, I realize that I just swept everything under the rug hoping it would go away. I had no tools to deal with the nonsense my parents were making of their lives because all my traits and problem-solving skills were being taught to me by alcoholics. I know now that they were not only alcoholics, but they were mentally unhealthy, and booze just made it worse. They never had the tools to deal with life so how could they teach them to me? They used alcohol as their way to deal with life’s problems, and in turn, that’s what I picked up on and ended up doing it the same way. I actually hated the thought of drinking alcohol until I was in my late teens. I’m not shitting on my childhood or parents, but this story wouldn’t make sense if I didn’t tell you what it was like. Even though I vowed never to drink when I was a kid, I still ended up drinking with friends at about the age of 18 and not once did I think it could ever become a problem because we were just having fun. I never thought about the fact that I would have to wrestle with my emotions, feelings, depression, and anxiety, because I hadn’t known anything about the importance of mental health. Nobody wants to admit that they’re sick, especially sick people that are teaching kids how to be adults.
So, knowing what I knew, I headed into adulthood believing that I was going to do great things in life. I had the optimism but none of the tools. I got into the car business at 18 as a salesperson and the cycle continued to get worse. I wasn’t a drinker just yet but just about everyone I worked with was. It didn’t take long for them to start getting me into bars, and it felt good because I was getting away with something, and more importantly, I was fitting in. I’ve always had a lot of friends, but this was different, these guys were older than me and it felt good to be included. I had left the childhood where I was ashamed for having alcoholic parents, and instead, I now had alcoholic friends. It looks like I was paying attention to what I was taught when I was young.
How important was alcohol? Like a lot of young guys, it was all we talked about. We talked about how going to the bar to get drunk was the perfect thing for a car salesman because if you sold a car, you can go celebrate, and if you didn’t you could go let off some steam. Either way, we were drinking. That should have sent me running away from the car business, but I saw nothing wrong with it. I figured that this is life and I’m going to go with it. We went out all the time, and it cost me more money than I made, but it was fun. I felt like I was a part of something bigger than my childhood, and it felt good to be there. I was blind to the fact that these guys all had a serious problem. Here comes the cocaine! What a drug… for the first ten minutes. After that, you’re chasing the first high you ever had but you never get there. For me, it was another bond with the guys, something else I felt like I was a part of. How I didn’t end up a complete bust out (car guy term for loser), is beyond me. That was the life I was creating for myself with the life information I had at the time. Looking back, I feel like I should’ve seen bad times coming, but what did I know?
Thank God it was easy to lay off coke when I wanted to, or had to, because I would run out of money. Either way, I was putting myself in a position of failure and I wasn’t even 25 yet. I spent my 20’s on a bar stool with people that didn’t give a shit about me or where I was headed. I don’t know if I cared about them either. That’s not to say that I haven’t made, and still have great friends from that time in my life, but you find out that people don’t give a shit real fast when things go bad.
I got married when I was 31, and by then, I was drinking daily. I had life altering anxiety and alcohol was the fastest way to cure it. I couldn’t do anything or go anywhere without being in full panic. The idea of having to communicate with another human being scared the hell out of me. I had no idea what was going on. That anxiety turned on like a light switch and I was done. I had no answers and I was afraid to look weak in front of people. I had sucked it up for so many years, I thought I just needed to do it again, and that’s how I lived. I don’t even want to type this stuff from the memory of it, but doing it always gets me past it. That’s one way I deal with problems now. I go back to a period of time when I wasn’t doing well and write it out, so I can feel how I felt at that time. Many times, a new memory from a situation will show itself and that allows me to deal with it and assure myself that I was never in any danger. It’s like I’m trying to go back to my 5-year-old brain and tell the little guy that everything worked out.
There is way more to tell but It’ll have to be another article, so I’ll end it here with my point. From the time I could walk, alcohol was a big part of my life and continued to be for nearly 40 years. It was a major focus with everything I did, until I decided enough was enough, and decided to get healthy. If we can focus on making ourselves better human beings instead of focusing on not drinking, I believe that we’d have much more success at becoming recovered alcoholics. I’m going to keep telling these stories until people start having ‘ah ha’ moments in the comments section, and this spreads so far and wide, that we become nondependent on alcohol or can at least help the people who are. My whole purpose for these blogs is to help people understand that your recovery doesn’t have to be a lifetime thing and you can be recovered. Just because I’ll never drink again, that doesn’t mean I’m against alcohol… just the abuse. Please share what you like!
Have a Powerful Day!