Member Story: Rob_MA235 – USA
Happy Anniversary to Me
Today marks three years since my last drop of alcohol (a beer during the Super Bowl). I didn’t know it then, but it was the start of a huge improvement in my life.
I had known for some time that I had a problem with drinking. We all reach that point eventually. The dull stomach pains and constant waking in middle of the night, often sweating, would make me promise that “tonight was my last drink”, but in the cold light of morning I knew it was a lie.
Super Bowl Sunday found me drinking moderately, a six pack over the course of the evening wasn’t too bad and I’d avoided my drink of choice at the time, vodka, as I socialized with friends. The next day I woke feeling ill, but this was due to a virus. So, I didn’t feel like drinking anything the next day or for a few days after while the illness ran its course.
I never had a problem stopping for a day or two in the past, so this wasn’t unusual for me to have a temporary sobriety. Within a few days of stopping I had an appointment with my doctor, something that was scheduled way in advance. I got up the courage to tell him that I thought I needed help quitting. It was so difficult to admit this to the man from whom I’d hid the extent of my alcohol use for so many years. He agreed with me that I needed some help and sent me to a counselor. My doctor also gave me a prescription for an issue I was dealing with and warned me not to use alcohol when taking this medication.
The counselor recommended AA (of course) but also gave me the name of SMART Recovery. He didn’t know anything about it, but said it was an alternative.
No one judged me, no one made me feel stupid for what I’d done all those years. Instead, every person I dealt with on this site was welcoming and encouraging.
I checked it out that day and the rest is history. Before I knew it, I was two weeks into my new found sobriety. I was still somewhat sick, but also not missing the booze. Two weeks stretched into four and by this time I had started to make a determined effort to stay off the booze. I did my CBA (eye opening) and confessed to my wife just how much my life was being impacted by alcohol. I was depressed, extremely anxious, full of regret and just feeling like crap. But, I was staying away from the booze.
The first year was tough. Not because I missed the drinking, but because my body seemed to go through a withdrawal. I didn’t sleep well at first, my libido was shot, I was physically exhausted much of the time and I had two serious panic attacks. The anti-anxiety medicine sucked! Still, I didn’t turn back.
Fast forward to today. I’m a much better person. I’m more attentive to my spouse, I’m more attentive to taking care of me. I’ve lost about 35 pounds because I now have the energy and willpower to stick to an exercise program. My blood pressure has dropped considerably and I feel great. Last year I walked over 900 miles for exercise.
I say all of this to give others encouragement and hope. I know I couldn’t have done it without getting a great start from all the wonderful people who helped me in those early, difficult days. No one judged me, no one made me feel stupid for what I’d done all those years. Instead, every person I dealt with on this site was welcoming and encouraging. When I needed to talk to someone there was always a chat room with someone who had been where I was, offering advice or just to listen.
So, thank you to all of you who came before me, who helped me to get on the road to being a better person. To anyone who takes the time to read this, especially if you’re just getting started, know that it does get better with time and effort. It’s not always easy, but when you look back a year after you quit, you’ll always be glad you made the choice.
I wish you health and peace.