The Path to Sobriety
As a bunch of you may or may not know, I've been known to smoke a little pot from time to time. We all know that I'm old enough to drink, so me stating that I drink would be pointless.
Anyway, I always thought that I was a "functioning pothead" or a "functioning alcoholic". I can keep a job, get a new one, if I lose said job and I can keep a place to live--if I have the funds to do so. No biggie. I paid child support and stayed caught up on my bills and what not. Why would I think that my need to be sober was so great? Right?
About six or seven hours ago, I was released from jail; due to alcohol related charges. I was arrested on Friday night (or Saturday morning, depending on who's clock you're on) and spent about three/four days in jail... I won't go in to detail about the charges, but I will say that alcohol was the main reason I ended up in the positon I was in. It sucked. Not only I suffered, but my loved ones did as well. It was not a good experience.
While in jail, I had time to think about my shortcomings. I had time to talk to friends--that I could call collect--and the idea of sobriety rang in my head from the time I was booked til my relase and well afterward. I decided, Saturday morning, that I am going to sober up. I never realized that my "habits" were problematic until I went to jail and it sucked that it took that long to realize that.
I mean, I've gotten in trouble because of my drinking, but that only affected my friends and associates; I never got in trouble with the law for drinking. I got in trouble for pot, but never went to jail for it or anything. But, instead of blaming myself, I blamed the system. Y'know the whole routine: "Pot isn't that harmful, the only reason I'm in trouble is cuz it's illegal." I'd lose a few grams of pot and I'd re-up the next day. But when you're in jail, you have nothing but time--time to think and reflect. Let me just share a bit of my past with you and you'll understand a bit about what I'm babbling about.
When I was 17, I enlisted in the US Army's delayed entry program. During high school, I was getting high and drinking A LOT. I quit when I went to basic training and AIT (Advanced/Intermediate Training). I smoke a couple joints before I went to my active duty station, but I thought I'd stay sober when I went to my unit. I get shipped to Wheeler Army Air Field in Oahu, Hawaii. During my briefing, shortly after my arrival, I learned that Hawaii is one of the nation's leading states in drug crimes. I thought to myself, "I'm not gonna be one of those guys who turns 'addict'." However, I was wrong...
I lost my fiancee--who was the main reason I enlisted in the first place--and thought I had no reason to be in the military anymore. I ended up meeting other soldiers who smoked pot and I followed suit. With those same people, I started to attend raves and parties that involved use of "heavier" drugs. I started poppin' acid and extacy and before you knew it, I was doing coke and meth. I picked up a TON of drug charges--all but one were dropped from my record. When I was discharged from the military, I told my mother that I was going to stay sober upon my return to Minneapolis, MN. That never worked out.
Apparently, before my return, my mother took it upon herself to share MY problems with our "church family". When I came back to MPLS, the same people who praised me and showed nothing but "unconditional love" toward me, turned their backs on me and labeled me as the "drug addict/trouble maker". I figured that I didn't need those people and instead of looking at myself to be at fault, I blamed others and--though I droped the "heavier drugs"--I continued to drink and smoke pot. A few years go by and I started doing coke again. I quit when I moved to Wisconsin in 2003 and got hooked on meth for a few months. I quit meth on my own accord and returned to Minneapolis.
Satisfied with my "defeat" over meth and coke, I continued my use of pot and alcohol; thinking that I can remain a "productive" citizen, while using with my close circle of friends. In 2004, one of my best friends got a DUI on my 24th birthday. I stopped drinking for about nine/ten months and thought that I was in the clear and figured I could "control" my drinking habits. I'm sure that a few of you have read my responses in the pot debates here on AO to know well enough that I was all for smokin' pot, especially if it were to be legalized; so my smoking never really stopped, just slowed down. I wanted to prove that I could use responsibly.
I realized while I was in jail that all I was doing was using to feign happiness on the outside, while remaining miserable on the inside. While life was dealing me a crappy hand, I was simply ignoring it by getting high or drunk. This year had to have been one of the most dramatic years of my life. I lost my job, my apartment and my grandmother in the span of a few months. I lost control of my drinking and did a few things I'm pretty embarassed/ashamed to talk about. I peed on my floor once, while I was blacked out. I refused to believe it until FOUR people told me I did. :laugh:
Anyway, I went to A.A. (Alcoholics Anonymous) for the first time yesterday and shared the same experiences with those guys. It made me realize that I couldn't be happy until I could be honest with myself and with others. I also realized that I couldn't be sober until I could admit that I'm powerless against certain things. One being my ability to control my use, like most other people.
All I did was get myself in to trouble. It sucked that I had to hit rock bottom for me to realize that and I felt extremely guilty about it.
So, I went to another A.A. meeting earlier (about four/five hours ago) and I have never felt more confident in myself. I called my mom and explained to her what happened this weekend and I admitted to her that I have a problem. She was actually glad that I spoke to her and admitted my faults. We're only human after all. So, I'm doing everything in my power to keep sober. Though, I still have friends who smoke pot, I'm confident that I can still keep those friends without using again. The same guy who got a DUI on my b-day has been sober for a long while now and is sponsoring others like me in A.A. I feel like if he could be sober and still hang out with a bunch of drunks and potheads, I can do the same thing. Maybe I can even help those who need it, once I'm further along my path to remaining sober.
I figured I'd write about this in my journal as a testament. Kind of a promise to myself to stay sober and a reminder that I'm not like others. I can't be stable emotionally if I'm constantly getting high or drunk and I can't truly make amends to those I've wronged if I'm not sober. I've always been a spiritual person, for the most part. But, I realized that without spiritual support from others, I can't possibly stay sober, nor can I go on in life without keeping my feelings locked inside; which would ultimately make me wanna get high/drunk.
For those who are reading this: Thank you! I appreciate the time you took to read this entry of me just blabbing on about my problems and I hope that what I shared with you doesn't change your opinion about me as a person. I'm still and always will be the same Sprout. I'm just sober now. I'm taking it one day at a time and--hopefully--I can remain sober from this day on til my last breath is drawn. Wish me luck! ^_^
Re: The Path to Sobriety
Respect man, all I can say is I have faith in you that you will be able to pull through and stay sober, and if it helps I could say a prair or two for you to help you through your trials and tribulations. Now we don't know each other personnely, but thats one of the cool things about having faith regardless of what it is, you don't need to know some one personnely to prey for some one to be happy and watched out for to give them strength.
I went through my own trials and tribulations of personnel problems, how ever mine was depression, suicidle depression which lasted most of my life up untill about three and a half years ago. Im not gunna go into detail as this is about you and not me, just to let you know we all have our problems, some worse then others but that doesnt mean its any easier to get over.
I got your back.:2thumbs:
Re: The Path to Sobriety
It makes me feel good to know that, despite my shortcomings, there are people--such as yourself--that remain supportive; rather than say, "I don't know that guy anymore!"
I appreciate your words of encouragement and support and I'm sorry to hear about your past problems. It's good to hear that you've worked through it! ^_^
Re: The Path to Sobriety
It really sucks, that it took what happened this weekend for you to realize this. Because Jeremy has been trying for months to make you see this point. By bluntly stating it, and pointing out instances in which it's true in your life. I even jumped on that bandwagon and tried to show you this truth. But I do understand/know some people and some lessons have to be learned on their own, in their own time. It just really blows that you had to spend that time in jail and that your -family- is suffering for what happened. And that you now have debt to work off as a result aswell. (Like you needed more of that. :p)
Originally Posted by atomik_sprout
At any rate... Addiction is hard. The hardest part is actually admitting you ARE an addict and that your addiction, is part of you and a part that you can't necessarily control on your own. A lot of people believe that if they quit. They're done and that's just not how it is. Addiction is always there lurking in the backround looking for your weeknesses to exploit.
Do you remember when we were together and I told you maybe you should stop drinking? I do. I remember feeling like you were becoming your father.(In fact I remember having an argument either about this, or where I informed you of this, and you got super insulted.) And that you were losing control. (This was when you were coming home late all the time because you were having drinks at the zone or at blondies.) Addiction scares me and while a SMALL part of it, it was one of the things that steered me towards our ending. At this point I believe the end of us was a good thing. I just wish we could have spared each other the pain, but at the same time it is kind of what brought us so close anyways. So I suppose I really wouldn't trade it for anything. I just remember being....disgusted, by how much you seemed to depend on drinking to have a good time. THat's what you wanted to do after work, to have fun. That's what you wanted to do on weekends, to have fun. And that's what you wanted to do with friends, again, to have fun. Drinking was almost always part of our plans when we weren't just chillin at home alone. Which...is why I started introverting and just wanting to chill at home. Because I'm not big on drinking much. Yeah...it's fun sometimes. But I have the addict gene, I'm scared to become addicted. (I -am- an addict already, I know. But ((here's my excuses)) I am at least moderately functional with my addiction, and I'm not ready to quit. THere are worse things I could be doing then what I do.) And alcohol addiction is one of the scariest to me. I've seen a lot of bad or real stupid crappy things happen as a result of alcohol.
I am happy you realize you have a problem. (Honestly, I didn't view you as having a problem with drinking recently... I guess I just viewed the whole thing as poor decision making. I made the excuse for you that your depressed and that your anxiety has been becoming increasingly worse. Which I know it has, both of which we've not discussed I assume, because you weren't being honest with yourself about. Correct me if I'm wrong.) I am happy you are seeking treatment and of course will be there for you during your trip to and through sobriety. I know a lot of people who are on the same path. My dad tested clean and is working on finding out how to have his kids tested. Al even quit so that he can test clean for his custody hearing (that he wont win but that's another story lol.) And you already know that while we both have our favorite vice, that Jeremy and I have both decided not to drink anymore. ( I haven't decided to quit fully...but no more "for fun" drinking. I may drink chapagin on new years after the baby is born and maybe my birthday or special occasions. But even that seems unlikely because the effects and such are such a turn off. And I don't even know who I'd drink with anymore besides Jacky, and I never see her much. I'd rather feed people anyways. Food is my favorite addiction.)
So, your not alone. You have support. I'll always be here for you.
Just remember you can, and SHOULD talk to me if you need to. About anything Sprout, I don't care if it's going to disgust me, I don't care if it's going to hurt my feelings, I don't care if it's going to worry me. TALK to me, or at least someone if you feel you can't talk to me. I'm not too busy for you. I'm not too removed. I still love you. I still want to help. I still believe you deserve happiness. And will help you find it if I can. Utilize the resources and support you have. It will help you in your sobriety. And don't forget that your family loves you.
Re: The Path to Sobriety
I really appreciate your input and concern, Chan. Really, I do. ^_^
Just know that because I chose to quit drinking and smoking, it's not gonna affect how or where I hang out with you and Sherm (Jeremy, for those who've been reading Bratling's reply). If you guys wanna smoke, do it up! :D: You've seen when I lived at your dad's and quit for that UA for CenterPoint (though, it wasn't long enough to test clean) how I refused to smoke with everbody, yet I still sat at the same table as everyone. My sobriety won't make me judgemental of you guys and it definitely won't change our relationship.
Also, I learned--while reading Alcoholics Anonymous; AKA: "The Big Book"--that I need to learn to trust people. In order for me to trust people again (not saying I never trusted you, because you know I always have), I need to talk to people; which will also cure me of my anxiety, worry and self-esteem issues. I need to share my thoughts, feelings and experiences with others. That includes you, Sherm, or anybody else. It's actually the main reason I started this thread. ^_^
So, once again, thank you. I'm glad I have you as a friend and I appreciate your sharing your words, energy and feelings with me and allowing me to share my energy, feelings and words with you. The closer I get to others, the closer I'll be to spiritual recovery and I'll be closer to being one with The Universe (or as A.A. puts it, God).
On a side note: I spoke to my mom last night and she was actually happy that I told her the things I did. She understands my situation, because addiction runs on both sides of my family and she knows that I was worried about being like my father or like my uncle Miles (who became estranged from our family in order to continue his use of crack and heroin). She said that it's a good thing that I'm accepting responsibility for my actions and that I'm willing to admit that I was powerless against "controlling" my use. So, I think that things are starting to go on the right track--as far as opening up to people is concerned. Bratling, you of all people should know that I never really talked to my family too much, but now that I'm free of a lot of my worry (which was caused by my use), I think that I can actually spend more time with them--which would cause them to worry about me less. ^_^
Re: The Path to Sobriety
^_^ We're all really proud of you, Sprout!
dunno if this applies, but read this today on a blog and it really spoke to me, maybe it might say something to you:
He brought me out into a spacious place;
He rescued me because He delighted in me.
Re: The Path to Sobriety
I think you'll do fine man. I am the only one of my friends that doesnt do Anything. Some of my friends smoke pot, drink beer, some go even further, but I never have. The point is, those are my best friends, and we will be forever. You can keep your friends and stay off the stuff.
Re: The Path to Sobriety
@POOHEAD: I hope so. Thanks! I think I'll be fine, so long as I remain positive and try not to let myself become distracted by my habit of beating myself up to the point of no return. Meaning: The more I beat myself up, the less productive I'll be in my recovery and the less of a chance I have at making things right with the courts and my loved ones.
On the down side (and this isn't primarily directed at you Poohead; I just didn't feel like double posting), my relationships with my one and only kid AND a good friend of mine has been ruined until I can make things right. Sobriety is the first step. Next is to fix things with the judicial system. It sucks knowing that my family and friends are affected by my bad decision making and it also sucks knowing that there are people who think that because I'm admitting my powerlessness toward drugs and alcohol, I'm treating other aspects in my life like they don't matter. But, as I said: There are things that I can't fully disclose due to legal reasons--the court won't allow me to imply certain things about a certain someone or certain situations without them assuming I'm attempting to make contact with the other party, or trying to encourage a second party to do so. *My bad. Don't think I'm tryin' to make things seem like they're not so bad. Things still suck, but I'm tryin' to make the best of it.*
Either way, I know the error of my ways and I know that my alcoholism has a lot to do with what happened over this last weekend. I accept that fact and I chose to make a change because of that fact. Hopefully, when I go to my next court case, I'll be able to prove that I'm making an effort to be a "model citizen" and I'll be able to fix the situation regarding my son...
In a year's time (when I'm able to speak freely to certain folk), I'll be able to make amends with the friend I had wronged and by then, I think we'll have both changed for the better. Until then, seeing how I have no control over the judicial system, I have to focus on one thing at a time.
UPDATE: I went to meeting number three today and have been sober for about five days now! ^_^
ALSO: It's been the same amount of time since I got to see my one and only child and I miss him to death!! "Daddy misses you, kiddo!"