January 7, 1985, is a date that will be forever embedded in my memory. Sitting in the emergency room of a hospital in the Bronx, New York, waiting to get into detox for the second time, I never imagined how my life would turn out. I was hopeless, friendless, jobless, and penniless. I had the beginning of cirrhosis of the liver, high blood pressure, losing the last place I had to live, and I was suicidal. I couldn’t imagine my life without alcohol and I was only 23. My plan was to let the heat die down so that I could get back into my parents’ basement and figure out the rest of my life. In detox, I begged them to send me to treatment and they did.
The first day that I walked into treatment was the day that I was also walking out, because I didn’t think that I was “that bad.” The staff there informed me that I was. I didn’t want to talk while I was there because all I could think about was drinking. Once they told me that it was okay to say that out loud, something began to change. The rest is history.
My life has never been as dark as those days. I can only take credit for not having picked up the drink. There are hundreds of men who made my recovery possible. They showed me tough love and basically carried me through. I was not pleasant to be around, as I was unhappy, negative and had a poor attitude. They put up with me anyway. My first job in sobriety was driving a taxicab making five dollars an hour and I couldn’t see things getting any better, but they told me it would and they were right.
I developed close relationships to men in recovery and with a Higher Power that I never imagined possible. My connection to my Higher Power was, for awhile, adversarial and angry. Over the years it has become something that I can’t see myself living without. I learned about reliance as opposed to defiance, along with surrender and acceptance. The years seem to have flown by, and God has seen fit to bless me with gifts beyond my comprehension. I am filled with emotion as I write this and I am grateful. I continue to work on my recovery and try to help others in order to repay the debt that I owe to the men that made it happen, and to my Higher Power. Enjoy the journey!