On September 4, 1994, I had placed myself on a crossroad between life and death. I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic but it was the truth at that time and remains the truth today. Though I had full-time employment, I owned a house, a couple of cars, and all the luxuries afforded to me at that time… yet I was homeless.
The court system had thrown me out of my house. Notice that I didn’t say home instead I use the term – house. The reason being a terror filled place of existence could never truly be a home. I was evicted from this residence because of my drinking. While the wife and kids could stay there I could not. What happened was a daughter had told a school official that she was scared for her life. That I was a violent out of control drunk.
I knew that if I wanted any chance of a healthy fulfilling life, I needed to quit drinking. It was upon this realization that I had placed myself in the loneliest place in the world. I couldn’t imagine a life with alcohol, yet I couldn’t imagine a life without it.
I was scared to quit drinking. At nights, I went to bed, with a six pack of beer on the nightstand. In the mornings, I drove six miles to work, drinking a can of beer every mile. And also having a 12 pack hidden in the car for when I could sneak outside for a quickie. Everything I did involved alcohol. When we went out to dinner as a family, places like Burger King or McDonalds were never visited because they didn’t have beer. Often we’d go to Pizza Hut. Order the pizza and get a pitcher of soda for the family and a pitcher of beer for me.
For the short times I didn’t have alcohol in me, I’d get violent shakes, become quite nauseous, and continually sweat. Though my personal life was totally out of control, or as the Big Book says self will run riot, my work life was still functional to a degree. I believe people knew I drank to much, but I don’t think they realized the full extent of that drinking.
Finally, facing a very uncertain future, I decided to try one final time with sobriety. I had been sober for over five years (1986-1992), but decided that maybe I wasn’t an alcoholic and went back to drinking. Anyway this time was worse.
My first sobriety I did basically on my own. I had a small support bubble but nothing that would now be considered strong. I had no lifeline. This time, I would do it the AA way – by using the 12 Steps.
The first thing I learned was to just be sober for today. Which was an insane thought for me. For over two years, every waking moment had me with a beer in my hand. There was no way I could stay sober for a day. No way! So I came up with a plan. I believed I could stay sober for 10 minutes. So, that is what I’d do. I’d watch that clock and figure out when my next 10 minute anniversary was and shake and sweat my way to it.
When the celebration of a ten minute sobriety was over, I’d start a new ten minute count. I did this for the first week of my sobriety. The highlight of my day was when I could go to bed because I would wake up the next morning having celebrated 48 sobriety anniversaries in my sleep.
During my second week, I increased my time to staying sober for a half hour. After a month, I was up to an hour. It wasn’t till my second month that I began looking at sobriety in terms of one day at a time. Can’t stay sober for one day? Then why not try staying sober for ten minutes. If I can do it, I know you can! Because of my ten minute sobrieties, a miracle happened. In fact, many miracles happened and continue to happen all because I quit drinking.
I would have never written a book, if I was still drinking. I never would have created musical CD’s if I was still drinking. I would have never saved a penny if I was still drinking. And most of all, I never would have found my Higher Power if I was still drinking.