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There’s Always Hope in Recovery

Hello, my name’s Oscar and I am an alcoholic. My story is something that I get asked about by more people than I thought would ever ask me. I remember when I was drinking and I would run into anybody that was in recovery (I called them losers back then) I would just avoid them. I didn’t have a problem so why should I even get near that person?

Setting the Stage
Let me start by saying that my alcoholism has, and will always be my responsibility. Nobody ever forced me to drink or do anything for that matter. I’m thirty eight years old and I drank for the first time when I was probably five or six years old. I was born in South America and letting your kids drink a bit here and there has always been okay. My father was very violent with my mother and that played a big role in my life. My father died an alcoholic and we all know the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. I eventually became the alcoholic that I hated in my father.

A Social Necessity
I drank all throughout my teen years just like most of my friends in middle school and high school. We’d go to parties and try to act like we were older by drinking way too much. I eventually learned that I felt like I fit in better with my friends when I was drinking. My self-esteem was very low and I wanted to be part of something so I would go and get drunk to be part of the “cool” crowd. This got to the point that I would have to be driven home many times and it caused my mother a lot of heart ache. When I went to college I had a plan to party like crazy and then nothing after that. At that age I couldn’t see the big picture so I was going to join a fraternity and live the college life. After my first day of classes I quickly found out that I was going to have to study very hard if I was going to graduate so I didn’t drink again until I turned twenty one. It wasn’t that big a deal to not drink, so it just enforced my thought that I was nothing like my father and I was not an alcoholic. At that point I was just another college kid going to school and living with my girlfriend at the time. When I drank on my twenty first birthday it was just to go out and celebrate. I remember having a few beers and not really liking being drunk again. After college I went into sales for a few years. Again, I knew that I had to work hard at a job I didn’t like. I continued to reserve drinking for special occasions.

The Pot Boils
My life up to that point was lived to NOT be like my father. I was going to be my own man and I was going to do whatever it took to achieve that. My family eventually came over one day and told me that he had died; that was the day I lost my purpose in life. I found myself feeling that without this person ( my longtime focus of anger)I felt very lost. Eventually my drinking got to be more and more frequent. I convinced myselfthat I had not gotten to live the “college life” that was the original intention of my youth. It was also a dream of mine to travel and see the world. I quit my job and became a flight attendant.

Looking back
I now know that I was running away from life. Without any life direction I found myself looking (and finding) an excuse to drink. I finally had a chance to live my dream! I was now traveling the world, single and had the chance drink like I always wanted. From day one in the airline I took full advantage. I was traveling around the world, drinking in excess and doing what I thought was my “calling”. I’d wake up , not know where I was or what had happened the night before. I was getting out of control but I was doing my job just fine so I continued to tell myself that I didn’t have a drinking problem. I figured that because I was able to “function” that everything was fine. This type of thinking/living continued for the next five years before it eventually caught up to me. My last year or so of drinking was done in the dark with the blind closed. I was alive but I was not living. When I was sitting in my apartment in the dark and drinking all day it was because all my demons had caught up to me. I was finally getting tired of running and numbing myself in order to be able to exist. I was still making my flights on time and was able to work but I was not there. Whatever country or city I happened to be at – I was locked in my hotel room getting drunk. When I was back in my apartment I was alone and drinking. I wanted to stop but I couldn’t find the strength or reason to live so I’d just get drunk to numb myself again. It was a neverending cycle. At the darkest point my drinking almost cost me my life twice. It is a true miracle that I am alive today. I can’t tell you why it is that I lived through that kind of abuse I was putting myself through.

Reaching out for help
On February 9th, 2005, I got back from a short two day trip. The night before I had tried to get drunk but I couldn’t no matter how much I drank. I remember dreaming that I was in my coffin and my entire family was looking down on me grieving my death. When I got back to my base in Minneapolis I got in my car and the car proceeded to drive itself to a place I’d never been before. I ended up at my union office and walked in looking like a mess. I asked to see a representative and I just said that I had a drinking problem and I needed help. She congratulated me on taking this long time coming step and with their help the next day I was checked into a treatment center in Tennessee. Treatment is where I learned about the 12 steps. I was able to finally deal with my father and put him to rest. I discovered that I am a good person. I met the real me and I liked that person. I met a person that is kind hearted and worth living for. I learned that being an alcoholic is a lifelong thing that is a blessing. I was finally able to uncover the reasons why I drank; now I could do something about it. I truly believe that when a person wants to stop drinking, treatment will get them to where they need to be.

This is what I know

My life has not been perfect since treatment, but thanks to all the tools that I received in treatment I am now able to handle whatever life throws at me. My blog, Life Without Beer Goggles, started because in the last six months I have had to deal with unemployment, my ex-wife’s relapse with alcohol & prescription drug abuse and ultimately our divorce. I have had to use every tool in my belt to stay sober so I could deal with the abrupt changes in my life. I now know that I don’t have to drink to hide from anything. I know that I can handle anything as long as I’m sober. I have AA, the 12 steps, family and friends that are all part of my support system. I know that even though I am single again and starting my life over, I am not alone. Don’t forget, you’re not alone!

Oscar is a thirty something recovering alcoholic. He’s been sober since 2005. You can follow his sobriety journal at
Life Without Beer Googles. Oscar also stays in touch with his readers on his Facebook page  and Twitter.