...the bullying began...
My name is David and I am an alcoholic. The date of my last drink was October 6, 2011. I’m writing this to tell you a little bit about life before my alcoholism, where my alcoholism took me and how Andy’s House changed my life.
My parents and my four brothers and one sister are not alcoholics but I am. On both sides of my family there are alcoholics. My parents were very loving, caring and supportive of all their children. My Mom and Dad were very religious people so we attended mass every Sunday. I was in confession almost every week because I was always getting into trouble. I was taught to be kind and loving and to respect others but most of the time I chose to do the opposite just to be cool. When I would get caught my Dad would punish me for what I had done and wonder why I couldn’t be good like my brothers and sister.
I struggled through school and thought I was just a dumb kid. I never thought my Dad would be proud of me. I was shy and insecure and fearful, the black sheep of the family.
My dad thought I should fill my free time with sports to avoid getting into trouble so he put me in hockey and soccer. It was then that my passion was born. I realized I was a naturally gifted athlete and finally my Dad was proud of me!
In grade 7 the bullying began and intense fear came into my life. Somehow I felt I deserved it.
I was 15 when I had my first drink. A six-pack of beer before my first high school dance and all of a sudden the fears and anxieties disappeared. Liquid courage. I managed to finish high school and Cegep and then got a government job in the healthcare industry. In my early 20s I would drink socially with my friends but eventually my friends disappeared, finished university, started families and moved on. Their priorities were not mine. I was enjoying life, drinking daily until about 35 years of age when I met a beautiful woman and fell in love. We finally moved in together but in the first week she caught me drinking in the morning and asked if I was a daily drinker so I denied it. For the next five years I hid my drinking, lied, cheated and stole. I emotionally and verbally abused her for so long that she eventually left. I began to lose more friends. People would stop inviting me over because they didn’t want me around. My world was crashing down on me so I drank more to dull the pain. Then I was fired from my job after more than 20 years of service. How did I get to such a low point? Everything was gone, I had nothing left to loose. Every person that had loved or cared about me had abandoned me. I didn’t want to die but I knew I would soon if I didn’t stop drinking but I was too afraid to ask for help.
Two weeks after my 47th birthday my brother Shawn told me that my family wanted to send me to rehab. It took a few days but I knew I was near deaths door and this was my only option. My brother said that my parents, for years. Had only slept a few hours each night, worrying they would hear I would be found dead. I thought long and hard about what I had done to them and cried. The next day I entered rehab. I was brought in by my 3 youngest brothers. I told them I loved them and that I would be alright. When they left I remember looking out the window and seeing them hugging and crying. I will never forget that moment. The guilt and shame of it all hit me. I remember asking God to give me the strength and courage to change my ways. I believe this was the first time I really asked for Gods guidance and meant it. I met with the counsellors and was introduced to the residents. Everyone was so kind to me which helped alleviate the fear. I felt secure and safe and my mind slowly started to clear.
It was suggested that I just listen during the first week. Eventually I learned from my counsellor how to live honestly, be considerate, kind, helpful, committed and responsible. I was never any of those things when I was drinking. My counsellor helped me get to the root of my problems and I learned so much about myself. The custodians there are also incredibly knowledgeable about what we are going through and are always there for you. Some of the custodians are themselves alcoholics with many years of sobriety.
My willingness along with all that I learned about honesty, determination, faith and hope helps me remain sober. The most important decision in my life was to accept help and walk through those front doors of Andy’s House.
Since leaving rehab I have been hard at work on my sobriety. Sobriety first, always. It’s a simple program. I got a sponsor and did the steps. I joined a home group and took workshops. I made fellowship friends and stayed in touch regularly. I stayed in close touch with the house, visiting several times a week to help other residents. Pray every night and morning. I have taken care of the wreckage of my past. Made amends to those I hurt. Creditors paid off. I got my job back. Mom and Dad don’t worry about me anymore. I have tons of new friends. I can look at myself in the mirror and like what I see. I am now free of my past and have peace of mind. If I didn’t go through the doors of Andy’s House that day I know you wouldn’t be reading my story. God Bless.