Two years ago I was sitting in the dark in a small spare room in the back of my younger brother's house. As I sat there, I looked around and could not believe that my life had been reduced to this again. My wife was gone, my kids were gone, the house, the truck, along with anything of value were all gone. It was just me and my bottle in a small dark lonely room.
How had I lost it all again? How had I fallen all the way to the bottom so fast? I had worked so hard to get it all back the first time. You see, I had been here before.
Years before I had found myself in a similar position, just me and my bottle all alone and everything that I valued gone. I thought for sure I had hit rock bottom the first time. I believed in my heart that I would never take another drink again. I had begun to pick up the shattered pieces of my life, and began to reassemble a new one. All was well for a time and I began getting everything back. I got a new wife, had some new babies, and moved into a big house with a pool. On the outside it looked like I had finally turned the corner and was winning at the game of life for the first time ever.
The one thing that I overlooked turned out to be the most crucial mistake I could have ever made; I failed to enlarge my spiritual life. That’s not to say I turned my back on God, but I had completely taken back my will and set out on a life that served me and only me. I stopped going to meetings, I stopped talking to my sponsor, I had completely forgotten what had gotten me out of the bottomless pit the first time. As was promised to me years before, the fateful day came when I was faced with that first drink. I had no defense against it. I couldn’t remember the suffering that always came after I took a drink. In a matter of three years, everything was gone...again! There were at least a dozen trips to hospitals, jails, and mental institutions.
Now, it’s just me and my bottle again.
“Should I end it? Should I just stop the suffering? The world would be a better place without me in it!” were the recurring thoughts in my mind.
“I tried so hard for so long, maybe this is just who and what I am. A good for nothing drunk!” I cried.
I started to think of ways to put this cruel game to an end. “Should I take a bunch of pills?” I thought. “No, I tried that before and all I ended up with was getting my stomach pumped. Maybe a gunshot. No, too messy. I know, I’ll hang myself” I said.
Just as I had these thoughts, there was a knock at my bedroom door.
In walked my brother. “We need to talk” he said. “You know we love you, but we are going to have to ask you to leave, we can’t sit by and watch you slowly kill yourself anymore,” he said solemnly.
“I have nowhere to go bro! I have nothing and no one, where will I go?” I cried.
“The only thing I know to do is to pray for you” said my brother.
My brother and his wife are extremely religious people and had been trying to get me to seek spiritual help since I had been staying with them. I never wanted to hear it but at this moment I had run out of all possible escape routes. I was now faced with homelessness, and I had absolutely nowhere to go. I would at least try to pray with him. My brother began to pray and I closed my eyes.
At that moment I said a quiet prayer. “Please help me.”
My brother and I prayed together for a good thirty minutes. He was crying, I was crying, and there was an intense feeling of the presence of a power greater than us in that dark small dank room. It was a feeling that I had not experienced in several years. A feeling that I had forgotten about. A love and a peace that I had been longing for the whole time. The memories of this freedom had been clouded and diluted in a sea of alcohol, pain, and resentment.
That night I slept better than I had in years. The next morning as I laid in my bed, a thought just popped into my mind out of nowhere. “Why don’t I try sober living?”
Now, I had never thought of sober living prior to this day, and really had no plans of getting sober. I knew at that moment that there was no way I just thought of that out of the blue on my own. “Was this God?” I thought. “It had to be!”
I took out my phone and googled the words "Sober Living" and the first place that popped up was a place called ARC. It was near the beach, which I thought was awesome. I called them. They told me to come out to take a look at the apartments. I drove out, met with the staff, and made the decision to do it. Knowing that there was some kind of divine intervention going on, I made a promise to myself that I was going to give this everything I had. I was going to do everything they said, and do my absolute best. However, if it didn’t work this time, I wanted to be taken off of this planet permanantely.
Sober living was exactly what I needed. I was surrounded by people who were just like me, people who had hit rock bottom in their life and were working towards getting and staying sober.
There was a combination of freedom and structure there that was necessary for me. I was required to go to meetings and work the AA program. But I was also given enough freedom to live my life. I was finally at a point where I was willing to go to any length to get sober.
I did absolutely everything that they told me to do. The staff showed me what I had never understood—how to maintain long term sobriety. They told me the only way to ensure immunity from alcohol was constant work with other alcoholics and a complete reliance upon a Higher Power. I ended up staying at ARC for eighteen months, I believe the longevity was a crucial part of my recovery. I knew if I left too early I would potentially be in danger of slacking, so I stayed and allowed recovery to become fully integrated into my life.
After successfully completing the program at ARC, I have since gotten my own apartment. I am gainfully employed, and I have returned to college. One of the most amazing things that has happened is that the State of Florida has now given me full custody of my two oldest daughters; something that was impossible for me to imagine just two short years ago. The state's attorney, as well as the DCF case worker, went to bat for me in the courtroom and told the judge that they wanted the children placed with me. This was nothing short of a miracle!
I could go on and on about all the many blessings I have received since I stepped through the doors of ARC, but it is really not about how awesome my life is. The reason I wrote this was to help the next suffering alcoholic—to help the person who is faced with the same dilemma I was dealing with.
Maybe you have tried several times and failed and just think this AA stuff is not for you. Maybe you think that sober living is beneath you, or what's the use of even trying anyhow. I know exactly how you feel. But what I can tell you is that you can do it. Sobriety is not reserved for certain people. It is waiting there for all of us. We just have to get to a point where we are willing to do whatever it takes to finally get sober. We have to be broken to the point where we realize that we have absolutely no idea what we are doing and have to get help. I encourage you to believe that you are worth it, that this next shot just might be the one that sticks. Make a promise to yourself that you are going to give it one more chance, and you’re going to give it everything you have.
Good luck to you on your journey to a new life of freedom, peace, and serenity.
If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, contact the recovering professional at Square One Clinics today. We are waiting for your call.
*The image used in this article is in no way related to or representative of the person who wrote this anonymous article.