If you haven't already, it would be good to (and would you please) read My Story— What I used to be like... down below first. You'll understand way better what's going on here. Use the link to get there from here.
So, My Story, Part Two. What happened?
What happened that brought me to the point where I stopped drinking and took action to change my life for the better (hopefully) forever?
The Gift of Desperation
Those two things were operative to have me stop killing myself, destroying my health, wealth, mind, marriage, career... all of what had become the downward spiral of my life.
The fulcrum, Gladwell's Tipping Point, after which my life was not all but mostly downhelll (typo intended)— was this from Part One of My Story— What I used to be like...:
It's taken me a full decade to admit how
devastated I was by the loss of my business.
It was my adult life's work— and I was my work.
In many ways, I still am.
My drinking career— spanning 40 years— had been one of increasing consumption right from the very beginning in my 20's. In my 30s alcohol became part of my life. In my 40's, an important daily part. From my mid-50's to March 27, 2012 (at age 64) I was an alcoholic of the first & finest order and my drinking was increasingly getting out-of-control. Month after month for 10 years.
I rarely fell asleep. I passed out instead.
That was easier than dealing with the FADWAS (Fear. Anger. Despair. Worry. Anxiety. Sadness) that plagued me 24/8— thoughts & emotions which oddly <smile> were in direct proportion to the amount I drank.
I was always some-kind-of hung over. Alcohol poisoning was my normal "blood count." (I could as easily have been arrested for a DUI at 8 in the morning as at midnight— which was way past my passed-out time.) Mental clarity was fleeting at best and that condition was getting worse— much, MUCH worse. My relationships were deteriorating on all personal & professional fronts.
Christmas of 2011, I brought my wife's parents across from Lithuania (at an expense I could not afford) and my Mom down from Pennsylvania, along with my older kids Johnny and Rachel, to join Katyusha, Ele, Anais and I for the Great! first & probably last family Holiday & Holyday gathering. (My mom, then 91, and Katyusha's parents had never met.)
I behaved well for two days. I was drunk, completely & totally, for the rest of my wife's parents stay and continued in that state through to my BirthDay on January 4th.
That ultimate humiliation— me absurdly drunk all over Christmas with her parents and my mother there— was the last of it for my wife. She moved out of our bedroom and slept upstairs with the girls from then on.
That's what my stepmother, Serena Virginia Fogg, had done to my father— withholding sex as long as he drank— which meant until he was 53ish and died of emphysema and cirrhosis. (And I was drinking & smoking.)
I hated her for that (although I understood completely and empathized). Now that was happening TO ME! I couldn't stand it.
I had known for years that I had to quit. I tried. Succeeded a number of times— the longest for about four months. But each time I went back to drinking.
There was always "the insanity of the first drink."
I know now (didn't then, though I absolutely knew I WAS an alcoholic and had known for years) that I had the allergy of alcoholism— a diabolical convergence of a physical craving coupled with a mental obsession. It is a terminal disease and there is no cure.
I am aware that some will argue with that assessment. Feel free. Although I once did as well, I no longer have the need.
My own experience of being powerless over alcohol and my life being unmanageable— added to the hundred's-of-thousands of men & women who've shared the exact same "symptoms"— is unarguable. Besides, it doesn't matter to me nor them what anybody else thinks. We know.
Toward the end, I though about when I would drink as soon as I woke up. Some days, even before I got out of bed. I planned my day around when I would drink: What time? When would I have the first glass of red wine— 2, 3... wait until 5? What kind did I have in the house— how much? Did I need more? Where would I get it? How much money could I spend? I was more often than not close-to-broke, but that $1400 a month wine bill was a priority. That's hundreds more than we spent for food!
My heartfelt desire was to be able to have two or three glasses of wine and call it a day. Never happened. Even when I set out with the clear & powerful intention of doing exactly and only that. No way. Two glasses led to the third. The third to another bottle. And all-too-often bottle second required bottle third.
Did I taste any of it? After the first glass, no. Did I enjoy it? Not the point... which by that point was to get drunk and stay drunk. It's technically called, "Drinking for oblivion." I was completely unaware and unconscious of what was happening— and that was also my goal.
A physical craving combined with a mental obsession.
I was dying. It was only a matter of time before I sealed the deal (and the coffin). My marriage was shot. My career all but gone. My once-upon-a-time brilliant & creative mind mush. My ability to serve anybody & make a contribution other than to the financial success of the wine trade...
I could hear Jim Morrison singing (and haunting).
This is the end
This is the end
My only friend, the end
It hurts to set you free
But you'll never follow me
The end of laughter and soft lies
The end of nights we tried to die
This is the end
I was doing a book with a man affectionately called Jimmy "The Butcher" Smith. He's a legend in our business (Network Marketing) having made more than $30 million for himself and his family in the last 10 years (and he's now 84). He's also been sober for almost 30 years. He's a member of the Fellowship. He sent me a copy of the Big Book. He urged me to go to a meeting. He became my first sponsor. He saved my life.
Monday, March 26th, 2012, was my daughter Anais' 6th BirthDay. Her favorite restaurant in C'ville is Mas. My mom was in town, so all "my girls;" Eleanor (the mom), Katyusha, Rachel, Ele and the BirthDay girl went there to dinner. Rachel ordered the wine. I drank two pretty tasteless glasses of a wine I knew well & usually liked well enough. I just didn't have it in me to like it that night. That evening was the end of it. I quit.
I mark my sobriety date as March 27, 2012.
That makes this Day 127. No desire. No more. Had many chances. No desire. None.
I am an alcoholic and I am powerless over alcohol. I have a disease that combines a physical craving and a mental obsession. It is above all else a "spiritual malady." Yet I have not had a drink nor a desire for a drink in more than four months.
How did THAT happen?
That's the miracle.
And more about that soon.
Please, let me know what you think & feel in the Comments box...
I appreciate you!