I have had so many people tell me I’m too young to get sober. I never understood why you would tell a person that.
Growing up, you never think about your life in terms of becoming a drug addict or alcoholic. You think of what you want to do after college, if you want kids or not, where you want to live, things like that. I’d like to say I grew up in a normal household. My mom always loved me unconditionally but seemed to have trouble picking the wrong partner. My biological father was an alcoholic and very absent for most of my life. I always promised myself I would be nothing like him growing up, I feel like I have met a ton of people who said the same thing and then they end up being just like them regardless. That’s what happened to me, before recovery.
I grew up in South Florida and was a good student and kid for the most part. Like I said, my mom always gave me all the love a child could want but there was always a temporary father figure in my life. My memories of my dad are ones of him screaming at my mom and my mom trying to act like nothing was wrong around me and my sister when clearly the opposite was true. My parents divorced when I was nine and I remember being very happy about it. My dad only brought about trouble and my mom didn’t deserve it.
As I grew up and went through school I was a good student and played some sports. My dad was the classic alcoholic father who said he would come to certain events I had and then would no-show whatever it was every time. He would apologize and make excuses and I dreaded it. I first had a drink when I was in 10th grade; a friend was having a small party because her parents were away. One of the girls brought vodka, the next thing I knew I blacked out and woke up the next morning feeling really sick.
I loved every minute of it.
From then on, I made it a point to drink at any opportunity I could. That meant most weekends in high school I found a way to get drunk no matter how hard it was to make that happen. There were several times where my mom caught me and would become worried, but I told her it was just part of growing it up. When I went to college my drinking went to the next level.
During my freshman year my father died, more or less because of his drinking, I got to talk to him on his deathbed and he apologized for everything he had ever done to me and for everything he missed. It was a deeply intense day for me and really messed with my emotions. Of course, I told him I forgave him but for whatever reason, my drinking turned way up after that day. I began drinking day and night, and with the blink of an eye, I became someone I never wanted to become: I became my father.
I lasted just three semesters at school before I started flunking out and my mom had to pull me out of school and let me move back home. It all happened so quickly; I was 20 and drinking day and night while living back at my moms. It felt like an endless cycle: I wanted to stop but it felt impossible, my mom wanted me to get help but I somehow convinced her that I could stop myself. She would find me passed out on the couch at 2:00pm and knew something had to be done.
One morning, my mom called off work and waited for me to wake up. I remember coming down the stairs to see her just sitting at the kitchen table crying. She told me she can’t see another person lose their life to drinking, along with many other things. For whatever reason, the things she said hit me really hard. I love my mom, and she has always done right by me and done everything to make sure I had a good life. I owed it not only to her to get on track while I was still young, but I also owed it to myself. She offered me a place to go get help and I accepted. I had to.
My first day of treatment was such a rollercoaster of emotions. Part of me was excited to get my life back on track and another part of me thought maybe I overreacted and drinking really wasn’t that bad in my life. I came to find out that the latter part of my mind was the delusional part that has always landed me in trouble and enabled my drinking. I talked about a lot of things for the first time while getting help, most importantly about my father’s impact on my life and on my drinking.
I don’t want to get too into detail about what made my journey successful so far out of rehab because we all have different journeys. What I have learned is you need to find someone you trust that you can tell everything to. Whatever it is that you are holding deep down inside needs to be put out in the universe so you can deal with it. It has only been about a year since I’ve stopped drinking, but I have found that guidance and transparency are two principles in my life that have brought me to a place where I don’t even think about drinking.
I have had so many people tell me I’m too young to get sober. I never understood why you would tell a person that. I got sober at 20 years old. Were there thoughts of how I’m going to possibly live my 20’s without going to bars and partying? Sure, but I know the reality of that to me. There is no partying and going out if I start drinking again. There’s only sadness, depression and isolation when I drink and nothing more. Getting sober is the greatest thing I have ever done, I have gone back to school and finally feel I’m back on track. If you want to stop drinking you simply need to ask for help, and end the vicious cycle you are stuck in.