I came back into recovery in late February of 2012. I had been in county jail- again, awaiting sentencing for drinking and driving- again. The number of times really doesn’t matter for the point of this short story other than to say it was to many times. Over the last ten to fifteen years I’d been in and out of various “institutions” in the state of South Dakota at varied levels supervision and accountability, and have been involved in almost every recovery program the greater Sioux Falls area has to offer. I was given an exceptional opportunity by the sentencing judge in my case for one last chance to avoid prison and prove that I still had something to contribute to society. After all, I had proven in the past that I was quite capable of doing so, by achieving a very good position in my chosen profession, my family life, the community in general, at a fairly young age.
The problem was I drank to much, and it finally began control me rather than I controlling it. Alcoholism and addiction are equal opportunity diseases, they do not discriminate. There are some wonderful people trying to educate the public about the nature of this epidemic, and they should be given more attention. (Enough of that). My alcoholism slowly took from me every thing that I was. The last time I walked out of jail all I had, literally, were the clothes on my back. I was almost as barren emotionally and spiritually. Mentally I was as stressed as I had ever remembered being.
But I had been given this opportunity. I could blame many things on my alcoholism, and though I did not chose to become a homeless drunk, I can not, and do not wish to propose that I am not responsible for my own recovery. But the task seemed overwhelming. I’d made mistakes, I’d failed at some things, I’d committed crimes (multiple DWI’s). But I did not consider myself a “criminal”, and failing does not automatically make a person a “failure”. But it was my experience that society and institutions were judging my results rather than my intentions.
I was accepted into a program were found not just the basics of food and shelter, they provided a sober environment that kept me accountable, but not subdued. A place to be at home, instead of detained. A place where I had the freedom to pursue my goals instead of a one size fits all program designed to keep criminals from re-offending. See, I’m not a criminal, and I never really wanted to offend. I made some really bad decisions that I regret, and have paid the price for. Now its all about the future. I’ve remained sober and have started mending relationships, new and old. I’ve been able to work full time at a job that was once part-time, while still pursuing a position back in my chosen profession. Which I secured about months ago. I’ve gotten my driving privileges restored, I bought a car, have health insurance, I’m paying off debts and saving for the future.
Most of all, its nice to be comfortable with who I am today, where I am, and what direction I’m heading, To not be ashamed of being a failure, mistake, or some other label.
My name is Brian and I am an alcoholic.