As I mentioned in an earlier post, if we are going help friends and family members who are addicts choose the road of recovery, the best way to do this is through confessional confrontation. This is my first step toward doing this.
My name is Tony and I am a recovering addict. My drugs of choice included alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, Percocet (pain reliever) and Demerol (muscle relaxant). I have been free of these substances since November of 1988 – but I do not count myself completely sober. Since January of 1991, I have been prescribed psychotropics (first for depression, then Bipolar). I have taken these as prescribed, except for one attempted overdose in March of 2008, when I took a handful of Clonazepam and a handful of Clozaril. I would now say I have almost 25 years of recovery and just over 5 years of “supervised pseudo-sobriety”.
My road to recovery begins with the history of my drug use – which begins early. When I was a toddler (I’m told), my parents’ friend would often put beer in my bottle and laughed as I tipped and tumbled. When I was a pre-teen, I hung out with an older crowd who encouraged me to steal cigarettes from my parents and I tried them a few times. For the most part, however, I didn’t begin to use drugs until New Year’s Eve of 1981 (when I was a senior in high school). My mom bought me and a friend a bottle of Boone’s Farm thinking it would keep us from drinking and driving. That was the first time I remember feeling a little giddy from alcohol and I found it a very pleasurable release.
Since I was a serious athlete, I didn’t start drinking again until after basketball season – in late March or April. After that, it was “katie bar the door” (as we used to say). I had a major case of senior-itis. My G.P.A. was locked in, as were my college acceptance and scholarships. I could abandon myself in the “freedom” I felt I had earned through self-discipline and hard work.
I started staying out all night drinking beer and playing cards. I was getting drunk most every weekend (on cheap beer – anybody remember “Red, White, and Blue”?) and occasionally would smoke a cigar (again, the cheapest kind). I continued drinking the summer before my freshman year of college, sometimes during the week as well as on the weekends. At parties, I sampled mixed drinks, but nothing hit home quite like a cold beer.
I wasn’t a deadbeat drunk, though. I was working 10-12 hour days as a director of the Parks and Recreation tennis program. But when I wasn’t working (or playing tennis), I was drinking. I guess you could call me a successful alcohol, in the early stages of my addiction.