I have been thinking about why Jim, Lori and I have put this site up and how I will be blogging myself each day.
People go to college to learn and grow. I didn’t go to college formally. I did experience life, 48 years worth.
My life experiences include treatment for alcoholism. I have been in four different inpatient and two outpatient treatment centers over the last eight years. I have also been in 12-step programs, and I still don’t have all the answers.
What if I looked at treatment as “college,” but this time it’s different.
I am looking at treatment again. I hope and pray to my higher power for guidance that I may be relieved of compulsion and the mental obsession of the disease of alcoholism.
The last time I went to treatment, in June, 2012, my attitude was more like “this is a waste of time. I won’t learn anything. It will not help me.”
What if this time, my attitude is more of a reporter looking for what to share with people who read “Brave Enough To Live,” but they don’t have the opportunity to get into treatment or are terrified to go?
I’ve been to so many treatments, I feel like I could have Ph.D.’s in alcoholism, addiction, depression and recovery.
One of the biggest problems of solving alcoholism and addiction is getting people into treatment. Alcoholics and addicts fear that friends and family will feel they are nuts, weak or worthless.
Most alcoholics and addicts would rather die than go to treatment. We fear people will shun us. We will wear a scarlet letter “I’m a weak nut case, I’ve been to treatment.”
But the most assured way to get out of alcoholism and addiction is to get into treatment. It’s the toughest thing you will ever do, but getting out of alcoholism and addiction by yourself is impossible.
Society, families and friends need to ease up on alcoholics and addicts, get rid of the shame and get over saying we are just not strong or tough enough, because it is not about being strong or tough to quit.
It’s about strong enough and brave enough to surrender. “Brave Enough To Live,”
Here another reason why it’s so hard for us. Alcoholics and addicts tend to have achieved success, because we have drive, have determination and lack fears that most people have.
We don’t quit easily.
I want to say this humbly, so you can understand more about me and likely see similar qualities in yourself.
I have an incredibly high pain tolerance. I defended our country for six years in military. I’ve been top of my profession consistently, won professional awards and earned high income.
I’ve raised a family and was married for 28 years.
In my 40s, my employers said I worked longer and harder than people in their 20s and 30s.
I lived an intense, fast-paced, hard-earned life.
The disease of alcoholism and addiction makes all the strength a person has look like a joke and not enough.
None of us can overcome alcoholism, addiction or depression alone.
What do the diseases of alcoholism, addiction and depression want?
Here’s the bottom line.
The diseases’ main goal is to get you alone in a room by yourself and kill you.
It’s the final death blow.
The end game.
I’ve been there and, somehow, made it out.
The disease – alcohol, drugs, addiction, depression – is the great remover. It removes stains, feelings, families, hopes, passion, dreams and jobs.
Once it removes everything, it will remove you FROM LIFE, because there is nothing left.
That is its goal – to get you in a room by yourself. That’s when it comes in for its final blow to kill you.
And it has patience. It will wait years, if needed, and let you think you are in control like it did with me. But you are not and that’s nearly impossible for our egos to come to grips with.
So what can you do so you are not a statistic?
For starters, recognize you are an alcoholic or addict, find your higher power and get in treatment. We can’t stop on our own.
The disease is more powerful than we are and bigger than just one person. It can be removed only by a higher power, community of support and learning and applying life skills for sobriety that you learn in treatment.
As much as I have fought it and hate to admit it, treatment is the right way to go. I’ve seen people fight until near death before they go to treatment. I’ve been there myself.
Sometimes the only way to recovery for some alcoholics and addicts is to get jammed up in court, before they go to treatment.
And even then, you’ve got to want sobriety and to overcome depression more than anything you’ve ever wanted in your life, otherwise you won’t make it.
That’s where I am and what I am struggling with. I’m working on this right now.
Every time I came out of treatment, I felt better, mostly because in treatment I lived a routine and had dried out from alcohol.
But I felt so good that I thought I could handle the world on my own and ended up relapsing again.
It’s hard to admit, but I really didn’t keep applying what I learned in treatment to my life outside.
Life got busy. Stress took over. I could come up with hundreds of reasons why.
What if I try something new? To go through treatment looking for what will help, and this time I must apply it in order to survive the disease.
What if I see myself as a reporter looking for and reporting on overcoming day-to-day challenges?
What if this whole challenging, horrid phase of my life has a purpose?
Could this be a life mission of helping myself and others?
In my weaknesses, can I find the courage and strength to overcome the diseases of alcoholism, addiction and depression and put my ego and my “treatment-is-a-waste” attitude aside?
Do I have the courage and strength to try something new? Am I open to new information, the knowing of which could change everything for the better?
Do I even deserve better?
In so many ways, I look at myself as a failure. The diseases of alcoholism, addiction and depression that I struggle with have hurt ALL my loved ones and torn my life apart.
Inside me, each day, I know and struggle with the pain, guilt, shame and hopelessness.
Up until now, I haven’t been able to break the vicious cycle of pain, deaden pain with alcohol, mess up life … then again pain, deaden pain with alcohol, mess up life … you get it … over and over again.
It’s got to stop.
Could I find the courage to face my pain and diseases, do something different this time around and look for and find the good?
Can I write about my experiences, wisdom, pains and how I am attempting to overcome alcoholism, addiction and depression to lay footsteps that others could follow out of their own pain, alcoholism, addiction and depression?
Really, who am I to do such a thing?
But … maybe … just maybe … this is the path for all of us, you included.
That’s why I started this community along with my friends.
There are millions of people who WANT and are PRAYING TO THEIR HIGHER POWERS for that kind of help out.
What if you and I are among God’s earth angels who agreed before we came here to earth to go through this horror so we could help others?
Would you join me on this journey to recovery?
I want us all to be brave enough to discover and live to each of our full potentials – to find our positive identities and finally feel good about ourselves.
It takes courage, compassion and community to discover new ways of life and digest new information, the knowing of which could change everything for the better (and to even publicly talk positively about the possibilities of healing and living.)
That’s why we named this community “Brave Enough To Live.”
I don’t have all the answers … in fact, I often have felt like I didn’t have any of the answers, you know what I mean?
Alone, on my own, I feel isolated, weak and without hope. Do you know those feelings?
But together I believe we can do this.
I want and am asking you to share with this community your story and what is helping you.
I am willing to, as much as I can, find the courage to reveal my real life struggles, my failures and what works for me.
I want us to help each other and become a family of hope, understanding and recovery.