My Life, Wasted

I started abusing alcohol at college. Sure, college kids drink, but I wasn't drinking just to have fun. I was drinking to cope.

My social anxiety made it nearly impossible to leave my dorm room. I wasn't confident enough to make friends or to talk to girls. And even though I knew I had family and friends who loved me, I felt completely alone. I hated myself. Alcohol was a magic potion that, for a few hours anyways, turned me into someone who was cool, confident, and not alone. It numbed the pain.

For two years, alcohol become something it never asked to be — my medication.

When I left college, the only thing that changed about my drinking was the frequency. Living at home with my parents meant that I couldn't bring a lot of alcohol home, so I took advantage of every opportunity to drink outside the house.

No matter how far I had to drive home, I drank as much as I could and I did my best not to kill myself — or anyone else — when I got behind the wheel. Chasing the feelings that alcohol gave me had become the most important thing in my life; in my selfishness, I didn't care about driving completely wasted. I didn't care about the lives I was putting in danger, including the friends who would sometimes be in the car with me.

Eventually, I stopped relying on alcohol to talk to girls, and I started dating the girl of my dreams. She was a single mom of two little girls, so I found myself with not only the responsibility of a relationship, but with the responsibility of being a father figure as well. Though I wouldn't drink when we had the girls, it was a different story when they weren't around.

We got engaged. And even though I had fallen in love, and even though I knew my fiancée loved me, it wasn't enough. I still didn't love myself and I couldn't accept or believe that I deserved to be loved. I continued to drink as if my life didn't matter, because to me, I didn't matter. No one knew that I was spending every Tuesday night drinking myself stupid. No one knew about the drunken outbursts I was having. No one knew how much I hated myself.

Not until it was almost too late.

Alcohol was a problem in my life, but it was just a byproduct of the ultimate problem: me.

Four months before our wedding day, at around 2 a.m., I left my fiancée’s apartment after her birthday party. I was completely wasted. Not even a mile from the apartment, as I was trying to change a CD, I looked up a second before I crashed into a light pole. The pole fell on top of my car, and I'll never understand how it didn't crush me. A week later, the wedding was called off.

Soon after the accident, I realized that I couldn’t blame alcohol for almost taking my life. It was me. I was to blame.

I was the one who ignored my social anxiety instead of seeking help. I was the one who hid my drinking from everyone. I was the one who didn't love myself and almost died because of it. Alcohol was a problem in my life, but it was just a byproduct of the ultimate problem: me.

Owning up to my problems is how I got past my issues with alcohol.

Addiction always goes back to the person addicted. A person gets addicted to something that they use to either deal with their problems or to escape them. Addiction happens when a person runs from their fears instead of facing them. Owning up to my problems is how I got past my issues with alcohol.

I spent four months in Alcoholics Anonymous. Not because I was forced to, but because I knew I needed to face the harsh reality of what alcohol addiction leads to. I needed to hear that I should humble myself and hear wisdom from those who had been through much worse than me.

I faced my issues by being honest with my friends and family. I began meeting with people and honestly letting them know what I was thinking, what I was struggling with, and I started giving honest answers anytime someone asked me how I was. I sought professional help to deal with my social anxiety so I didn't self-medicate with alcohol.

I faced my issues by talking, thinking, and treating myself like I mattered. I learned to truly love the person I am.

Recovery doesn't happen in solitude; it only happens in community. Whatever you are addicted to, the good news is you don't have to stay that way. Whatever you are facing that led you to your addiction, you don't have to face it alone. One of our online mentors would love to walk alongside you on your journey. Please leave your contact information below, and we’ll get in touch with you soon.

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