This story was written by Greg, my super hot and super sober husband 😉 Tomorrow he will celebrate 365 consecutive days of not picking up a drink. It’s a day I never thought I would see come. I don’t think it’s a day he thought he would ever see come either. Greg’s story is very real. It was not written and shared for anyone to judge. It was written to help, to give hope, and to inspire. Although you may identify greatly with his struggles and triumphs, not a single one of you has thought the EXACT same thoughts and felt the EXACT same feelings as Greg in his situations. Please keep that in mind before you think it’s acceptable to judge him. It’s not. And if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all. Today, it is only okay to support. It’s okay to sympathize or empathize. It’s okay to encourage. Thank you, Greg, for sharing your story ❤
“Hi, my name is Greg and I am an alcoholic, but not a writer, so I am going to tell my story as best I can. It might seem jumpy from one subject to another, but I’ll try and keep it in line.
There are some addicts that can probably pinpoint a time in their lives where or why they started to abuse. I am not one of them. There isn’t a specific part of my life or something that happened that made my drinking spiral out of control: it just did. I moved to America in 1988 from a completely different culture and way of life. To me, life at age 8 seemed very simple and just. I came from Poland, and to a lot of people in my new country it seemed that we were all just farmers, drinkers and weird dressers. Well, that was kinda true back then…and I’m sure to some it still seems true today. In our culture, the men made the money and worked the long, hard hours (and that was reason enough to drink every night) while the women took care of the house and the kids. My mother was never much of a drinker, but my father drank enough for both of them. In fact, just this past December we lost my father due to liver failure and other complications from his drinking.
Since I came here when I was only 8 years old I grew up mostly in the American culture, but my family was pretty much set in their way of life, especially the men who were drinkers. I went to a Catholic elementary school but then had to attend public high school. It was a bit of a change going from one to the other. When I got to high school I didn’t have many friends because they had all gone on to the Catholic high school. We were poor immigrants and couldn’t afford the tuition. I had to try and fit in as best I could and to do so I partied and drank with every crowd I hung out with. Even though I tried a few drugs, I never got into them. Alcohol was what would become my addiction. I hung out with my older brothers and their friends a lot, so I had access to booze very easily. Pretty quickly I became the popular kid because I could get alcohol for me and my friends with just a simple phone call. I also lived with my brothers unsupervised on the top floor of our apartment house while my parents lived downstairs, so my place quickly became the party house. If you lived on the west side of Grand Rapids, there is a good chance you partied at my house more than once!
As much as I tried (or didn’t try) I didn’t graduate from high school, but I set a quick goal for myself and received my G.E.D. within a couple months of dropping out. I went to work in the restaurant industry, because that’s all I knew how to do. (Is it a coincidence that a lot of bars offer “Industry Nite” for people who work in restaurants to get tanked after work??) Every place I worked at I moved up in rank pretty quickly. I guess I had a knack for it, and with that came more responsibility and stress. To calm the stress, I drank.
I guess I started drinking because it was so accessible for me, especially when I was old enough to buy. I could drink at work because I could function drunk. Somewhere along the line I became a little depressed and felt my life was going nowhere, and the booze numbed that feeling pretty well. Even though I had a great wife and a gorgeous daughter, I felt as if this is who I was and that I didn’t do anything “great” in my life. Before I knew it, I would drink all day and all night. For me, the greatest accomplishment was that I could drink two fifths of gin in a day and no one would notice because I was still functional. If my wife wouldn’t have found me on the couch covered in sweat that cold February morning , I don’t know if I would still be here today. And if my withdrawals hadn’t been as severe as they were, I would probably STILL be drinking today.
Once I got out of the hospital I stayed sober for about two months. Even with rehab and substance abuse counseling that whole time I started to slowly drink again. I was looking for a miracle to just brain wash me out of this damn disease. I thought that non-alcoholic beer would be okay, and I started to drink some of those. Before I had even realized it, I was drinking regular beers followed by shots and mixed drinks. I would leave my counseling session and go straight to the liquor store on my way to work and get six single shooters for “at work” and a half pint for the ride there. When I could, I would sneak away and take the shots during the lunch hour to help hold me over until I could get a break from work and head back to the liquor store to restock. One day, a friend of mine that is in the AA program asked me if I wanted to go to a meeting someday. He never pressured me, and I knew no one at the meetings would judge me because they had all heard it before. It was a goal I set for myself just to see if I could do it, and trust me when I say that my life almost immediately changed for the better. Now, I don’t know if I’m working this program the right way or not, because I haven’t gotten through the 12 Steps yet, but what I DO know is that I haven’t picked up a drink today and I don’t plan on doing so tomorrow, but I can’t always plan tomorrow so for TODAY I will not drink.
This last part I write with a big smile on my face and a tear in my eye because on May 22nd, 2013 I will celebrate one year sober. I look back on my struggle and realize that it wasn’t just MY struggle, but also a struggle for my friends and especially my family. The support I have received from so many old friends and a lot of great new friends is overwhelming. The years wasted with my wife, daughter and family I will never be able to pay back…but today it is with a heart full of joy that I get to say THANK YOU to all that have been there every step of the way.”