From as early as I can remember, I’ve never felt comfortable in my own skin.
The outsides never matched the insides. I had it all growing up. Love from my parents, privileges, opportunities, and material items. Yet somehow, I was never happy and always wanted more.
From a very young age I acted out, got in trouble, and sought negative attention in one way or the other – all for moments of instant gratification. Once I’d get in trouble, I’d stop what I was doing and move on to something else.
Until I found the magical combination of alcohol and cocaine shortly after moving to Chicago from NYC in 2002.
It was magical because for the first time in my life, I finally felt at ease. I could be whoever I wanted with anyone I met. It was fun at first. My evenings were spent at clubs with people doing the same things I was doing… so it seemed “normal”.
After ten years of drinking and using regularly, it progressed to the point where it was no longer fun—and became the only solution I had for anything in life. And I couldn’t stop.
During this time I got married and had my first child. When he was two, my wife (now ex- wife) got pregnant with our second child. When my wife was about 8 months pregnant, I abandoned my family and booked a one way ticket to New York, where I went on a seven day bender.
Upon returning, I rented an apartment away from my family and was holed up drinking and using around the clock.
On 4/30/14 I received a call from my wife that she was in labor. I took a bottle of vodka and all the cocaine I had with me, and headed to the hospital. She didn’t give birth that night and we were sent home.
I was standing outside of my apartment and overhead two people I had never met before talking – one mentioned something about a sponsor. I had been up for 72 hours and didn’t know if I was imagining it, so I approached him and asked if he was talking about AA.
When he said “yes”, I began crying and told him I needed help. Without hesitation he said “you don’t ever need to drink again. I got you”. One hour later we went to a meeting… and I’ve never turned back.
That was 5/2/14. I just celebrated 4 years.
My life today is unbelievable. I worked the steps in early sobriety and continue to do so. I am the father of two beautiful boys and share custody with my ex-wife. One of the greatest gifts of sobriety is that she and I are FRIENDS. I abandoned her 8 months pregnant and today I get to call her a friend. Unreal! Each day, through my relationship with my higher power, service in AA, and showing up for life – the insides now match the outsides. I am and will forever be eternally grateful.
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