I started drinking in high school. It was just socially, but looking back, the feeling I got from alcohol made an impact starting from the first time I drank. I’ve been very introverted my entire life. Mostly due to anxiety. Back then I didn’t realize I had an anxiety disorder, I just knew that I felt relaxed and became outgoing once I got alcohol in me. So I think I enjoyed drinking more than most kids did.
Once I turned 21, drinking became a regular occurrence for me. I found some success in starting a small business and kept pretty busy, but I became a nightly drinker to unwind from the busyness.
In 2007 I got a DUI. While there were consequences from the law, it wasn’t a serious issue to me. In fact, I kind of saw it as a rite of passage. Getting a DUI was just part of life.
In 2009 I had a kid from a relationship that quickly deteriorated, plus I was struggling with the ending of my business. I bounced between jobs and business ventures with no real direction. That’s when I began day drinking. I still didn’t consider my drinking a problem, but in the back of my mind, I think I knew that I was crossing a line.
I’m not sure at what point the line was crossed, probably sometime in my late 20’s. At 28 I had my first full-blown panic attack and had to be rushed to the hospital. That’s when I discovered Xanax and the whole benzodiazepine family. I wasn’t completely honest about my drinking problem and mixing benzos with alcohol quickly threw my life into a tailspin. For the next several years I would bounce between cities, jobs, arrests, and rehabs. I became a person I hated and my addiction, as well as anxiety and depression, grew much worse.
Finally, there came a breaking point. I couldn’t handle the misery and anxiety anymore. I went to see a specialist about my anxiety and tremors. They told me they could only help if I immediately went to a detox and got clean. So I did. I was serious about solving the issues with my life and decided to take advantage of all available resources, listen to all professionals, and work at overcoming my addiction so I could finally face my anxiety head-on.
After eight days in detox, I completed a seven-week intensive outpatient program. Then I completed a 16-week relapse prevention group. I started seeing a therapist. I began learning everything I could about addiction and recovery. I adopted new healthy lifestyle habits – meditation, journaling, exercising and more. I found a passion for recovery and decided to return to school to pursue a degree in Addictions Counseling. I have found a happiness I haven’t felt in many years. I’m optimistic about life again. I’m blessed and grateful to have a second chance at life and it’s going to be spent helping others who struggle with addiction.