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Don’t Get Drunk Friday: John’s Story

So this is someone I know personally and he’s helped me in more ways than I can say. It’s just that there are certain people who “get it.” They aren’t judgmental, yet they don’t let you get away with bullshit either. And the story…it’s not my story…and it is exactly my story. You’ll know what I mean.

“I haven’t had a drink or a drug since January 1, 2004 and that’s the longest sober time I’ve had in more than forty years. I started drinking a little in my teens, just so I would fit in socially, but frankly I would rather have had a coke or a milkshake back then. During the college years my drinking and the drug use really picked up. I went to NYU in the sixties and started to drink and smoke marijuana on a daily basis. I really had a lot of fun and never thought of it as a problem and certainly had no intention of quitting. In fact, just the opposite happened; as time went on I drank more and more. I also smoked more marijuana and tried other drugs like LSD, mescaline and cocaine.

After graduation I got married and started working in New York, and although the drinking and drug use continued to escalate it never really seemed to get in the way of my career. As time went on I quit using the heavier drugs but continued to drink and smoke marijuana daily. When I reached middle age I was able to stop smoking marijuana by force of will power alone. However, during these years I started to lose control of my drinking and it really worried me.

Every so often, in my middle forties, I would stop drinking just to prove to myself that I wasn’t an alcoholic. It was troubling to find that although I could stop, I couldn’t stay stopped. This baffled me since I had been able to give up marijuana, and all the other drugs by sheer will power. Time and time again, during the next ten to fifteen years, I would quit drinking and stay dry for as many as six months at a time, but would eventually pick up again only to find that my disease had progressed even while I was abstaining. By that I mean, when I started to drink again I would drink more each day than I did before I stopped.

I found that drinking, which started as fun, progressed to fun with problems, and then just problems. Although I never got arrested for drunken driving, or lost a job, or a relationship, or a house, or a car, I did lose my self-respect. I felt only a very weak person would find himself unable to control or quit his drinking.

Completely demoralized and fearing the long-term health effects of decades of drinking, I got up on New Years Morning, January 1, 2004, and made my umpteenth New Years Resolution to stop drinking. I did very well sticking with it until mid April, when I got the overwhelming desire to drink. This was terrifying to me. I was afraid that if I drank I would never be able to stop again. I was at a crossroads. I couldn’t drink and I couldn’t not drink. I did have friends who had gotten sober by going to Alcoholics Anonymous but that wasn’t for me since I didn’t think I was an alcoholic and I knew there was that “higher power” thing in there and that was a non-start for me. However I was desperate and I was willing to go to a meeting with an open mind.

I’m not going to promote AA here but I will say that I love it and I know it has saved my life. My experience has been that if you have a desire to stop drinking, are open minded, and are willing to go to any lengths to get and stay sober, then AA will work for you too. My name is John and I’m an Alcoholic.”

As always, there are women standing by at the Booze Free Brigade to chat with you if you are wondering if you might be one of us.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on September 10, 2010 2:56 amDon't Get Drunk Friday8 comments  

8 Comments

  1. robin said,

    This is exactly my story too, and I just took my 1 year cake at AA last night. Thanks for sharing your story, and putting it out there. I have found so many people in AA who sound exactly like Stephanie described you…people who “get it” but don’t let you get away with stuff. Congrats on your sobriety! :)
    robin´s last blog post ..ONE

    | September 10, 2010 @ 3:22 am

    • Stefanie Wilder Taylor said,

      Robin, congrats on ONE YEAR!! OMG it’s so huge. I really think it just gets better from here. That first year is a hump but now you’ve had all your firsts and you get how to not drink, you can really focus on the rest. At least that’s how it is for me.

      | September 10, 2010 @ 3:50 am

  2. Stefani said,

    I will have 11 months tomorrow. I do it with AA, as well, where I have met some of the most inspiring, interesting and kind people. A lot of them are now friends, and I am more social now than I ever was before I quit drinking, which is the opposite of what I thought sobriety would be.

    I look forward to getting my one-year “cake” next month. I get the natural high in sobriety that feels better than alcohol ever made me feel. I remember the exact moment when I started to like myself again shortly after I quit drinking. And I remember being taken aback by the feeling because I hadn’t felt it since I was a kid.

    Thank you for your story, for all the stories here. Getting sober is the best thing, by far, that I’ve ever done for myself and my family.

    | September 10, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

    • robin said,

      Congrats to you!!! 11 months is so HUGE and I am excited for you to get your cake. :-)
      robin´s last blog post ..ONE

      | September 10, 2010 @ 3:53 pm

  3. Jae said,

    AA is such a huge help on staying sober. Congratulations John! You’re a testament to taking it one day at a time.
    Jae´s last blog post ..March 5- 2009

    | September 11, 2010 @ 8:45 pm

  4. seekingclarav said,

    Crazy that between the years, the miles, the everything, the more we share, the more we see ourselves in others and I, personally, gain strength from that. Thank you for sharing your story and congrats on your sobriety.
    seekingclarav´s last blog post ..Quick like a bunny…

    | September 12, 2010 @ 9:13 pm

  5. Kir said,

    I love these stories, because they show that anything is possible..and that your life sober can be so much more than your life before it.

    I don’t know this addiction, but I do know that each of you living through it and in spite of it, well you are all strong, wonderful, amazing human beings.
    Kir´s last blog post ..Perfect Moment Mondays- You Belong to the City

    | September 14, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

  6. muskrat said,

    Happy for you, John.
    muskrat´s last blog post ..the modern media muskrat summit

    | September 18, 2010 @ 7:03 pm

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