I was, (laughing to myself) ok I still am the rebel of my family. However, having a son has slowed me down in ways I never imagined. At a severely young age, I started to drink. My best friend, at the time, had older sisters. They would ask us to serve them drinks at their house parties. After everyone would get drunk at the party we would go upstairs, my best friend and I, and drink. Her oldest sister did not care as long we were safe in her sight.
One Saturday in November of 2003, My parents threw me a huge birthday party at a hotel. All my family flew in from out of town to celebrate. It was a huge wedding, just a birthday party for teenagers. My parents rented a suite for 12 of my friends.
Sunday morning, my best friend’s mom arrived late due to her working her last customer at the hair salon. My grandmother strikes up a conversation because my best friend’s mother owned a hair salon just as my grandmother does. It was a very unusual conversation because my grandmother is not the type to sit and discuss business tips for hours. Over 50 years of business success, to winning first place in Bonner Brother’s Hair shows, receiving a Masters Certificate with Paul Mitchell as a Certified Colorist, my best friend’s mother and my grandmother conversed for 4 hours at least exchanging wisdom and knowledge about the hair industry. Monday morning, my mom and I headed to my best friends mother salon. All to find out, she just past away. An 18 wheeler truck wheel came off, impacted her windshield. My best friend and her sisters were driving behind their mom and witnessed the entire accident. Just hearing the news, my mom and I were completely devastated. This was a 10-year relationship my mom maintained with my best friend’s mom. She was another mother to me. Fast forward, within a year later my best friend and I drank alcohol to console the pain.
A couple of years later, I lost my great grandmother, then my grandfather. It seemed like it was a death every year but when those two left, I felt like my life was over. I decided to work as a bartender to assist the drinking problem. My grandmother begged me to go to a counselor to discuss all the pain I was feeling by the traumatic unexpected deaths. I never did. Year after year, my alcohol addiction increased. I went from drinking four pints of Grey Goose, one pint of Titos, and a few shots of Tanqueray to accompany it on weekends for routine. I would drive myself home and abandon friends. Then within a few months, I transitioned to whiskey and scotch. My 21st birthday was nothing to brag about because I was already an alcoholic by age 21. Every time a problem would arise, I would drink. Well, you can only imagine how many problems I was facing. Life was not happening to me, but it was responding to me.
While working as a bartender, I was lured by the money and the free drinks. Bartending allowed me to make the most amount of money I have ever made. I loved my social life at the bar because I no longer had to worry about anything or anyone. My bar and other public bars were my families. The bar is where the majority of alcoholics congregate. Regardless of your lifestyle, background, current work status, or marital status, the bar brings you a silent sense of belonging. I believe this is why the bartender can be as successful as he/she is. I have always been able to master the art of connecting with people in some way. The bar just permitted me to do so no matter what. Some of my best conversations took place at the bar.
My breaking point was a near-death experience in my apartment. This was the worst year for me, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I dismantled my full bar at my house as a decision to leave alcohol alone. I gave away some bottles to friends and the rest I just poured down the drain, but I was adamant about letting it go.
Alcoholism is the inability to control your drinking due to physical and emotional dependence on alcohol. Most people who suffer from alcoholism are afraid to face the hard truths in their life. They don’t want to deal with the empty spaces. Depressing thoughts are overwhelming to handle. Those thoughts never assist with giving or finding clues to those hard questions in which you don’t have the answer for. So instead, you result in drinking all to discuss how life circumstances are beating us up. When I was self-medicating, I met some of the richest people at the bar. Puff Daddy was right, “More money, more problems”. This was my proof to know the problems don’t ever go away. Just have to learn how to deal with them. You can choose to self medicate or be intentional on how you respond.
Today, I celebrate 2 years of sobriety. The freedom and amount of peace I feel is unreal. Every day, I can wake up and thank God for everything, literally. Ultimately, I lost everything in the process of trying to hold on to alcohol. I lost family, relationships, my job as a bartender, car, and ended up homeless. Can I say I am exempt from the temptation or quickly exclude myself from ever drinking again? No! I believe that I won’t and make it a daily goal. But I thank God for the moment. I want to encourage you, to start with the decision of living a clean life. My life has been transformed for the better, all because I decided to want to change. If you can help yourself, you can at least help one person. That’s enough to change the world.
Making a Decision
Firstly, If you are an alcoholic and you desire to live a more wealthy, prosperous, life in your mind, body and spirit, give your life to the Lord. He is your ultimate source. You have nothing to lose and you are nothing without Him. So you will need Him to help you overcome this. If you do not believe in God, you can say a simple prayer by inviting Him into your heart right now.
“Dear Lord, I am asking you to be my Lord and Savior. Come inside me now Lord. Be the Lord over my life. I make you my Lord and Savior. I believe you are the Christ, the son of the living God. I believe you died on the cross for me. Come inside me now. In Jesus Name Amen!
Secondly, I would recommend joining your local AA. I honestly thought AA was a bad thing. I was wrong. Those people I met at AA allowed me to forgive myself and they loved me during my journey of healing. Also, they taught me how to love the worst parts of me. Flawed and all. This was something my family was not able to do because no one in the family suffered from alcoholism.
Thirdly, build a solid support system. This is very important in the first year of sobriety. The first year is crucial. When your body is going through withdrawal, you will crave and desire alcoholic beverages. Matter of fact you can taste them on your tongue. Some foods will trigger it as well. I recommend a cleanse or a fast to assist with this as well. I am not a medical specialist. Just recommendations.
Fourthly, You should celebrate small accomplishments. Your life is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s not easy.
This journey will be rewarding. Change your mind, change your life with God.