In my last offering I talked about your ‘why’ and how it is everything. Now before I can continue with what I promise will be a story of successes and happiness, I must take one more trip down a dark avenue of my life. This is not something that I am particularly proud of, or something that I even wanted to get in to, but this is a story of truth. The fact is, in order for this to be a true story of what we have been through, I must confess what I have done to create the world I live in as well and how my ‘why’ plays a role in all parts of my life.
In 2009, just after the loss I described to you in the first part of this story I did everything in my power to keep moving. It was a pain that I did not deal with until well after the birth of our youngest daughter, and my drinking was out of control. I had an unlimited access to alcohol, so it was not uncommon for me to start my day, every day with at least a few drinks which I would follow up with more and more beer or booze until it was time to go back to the office where I would pull it together enough to go home.
I followed this formula for suppressing my feelings until one day it just didn’t work anymore, and it was at that moment that I made a decision that would affect my entire life. I decided to take some prescription pain killers that a coworker had given me, which normally would not be a big deal I mean, I had taken them before (dental surgery, ECT) but this situation was different. You see, the pain that I was trying to numb had a much deeper source, and the solution that I found in each pill was a numbing bliss that made everything I was feeling simply vanish. But just like before, soon this temporary fix would not be enough.
I started with a couple (along with my beer for breakfast, of course) which lead to a few more hours later, and so on. The strange thing about opiates, is that after a very short time not only does the desired effect become harder and harder to get, but they make it much harder to reach the desired effect from alcohol as well. So I found not only that I was drinking a lot more, but I was using more and more pills as well. I never thought that what I was doing was going to hurt anyone but myself, but I was wrong.
The whole time I was in this vicious cycle of use and abuse, I kept it to myself. I never included my wife or my friends (aside from those I got the drugs from) in any of my abuses, and I went as far as lying about the whole thing for far too long. I told myself each morning that today would be the day that I came clean about the whole thing, but like so many moments in life fear got in the way. I was afraid that I would lose everything I loved if I admitted that I had a problem and at the same time, in order to admit that you have a problem you must see it as one, which at the time I did not.
It was not until I ran out of pills, and withdraw symptoms started that I realized that I had a problem, but again I was too afraid to tell anyone about it, so I tried other means of kicking the habit. Methadone worked well for a while, and though its effects were not as strong as the other pills I had used, the detox from it was far worse. I did not have many options, so I figured that it would have to work. I used it once a day in small diluted amounts for about a week, and I thought I was finally finished with this dark moment in my life, but then the thing I feared most happened: I was caught.
I committed the worst act of betrayal that a husband could commit to his wife in my lies, and she was furious with me for it. I was sure that my marriage would be over because of what I had done, but I underestimated how amazing my wife really was. Instead of leaving me, she stood beside me and helped me throw off this terrible addiction and in the process deal with everything that drew me into it in the first place, and for the first time in my life I felt that I could be myself. Not only that I could in fact, but I was obligated to be the best version of myself that I could be, and I have never looked back.
The reason why we do the things we do has to be the most honest part of us. We cannot pretend that we are taking some action for the right reason when deep down we know that it is not. You can do whatever you want of course, but I promise if you want true happiness find the ‘why’ that lights your fire within. My ‘why’ is my family, without which I would not be the person I am today. Success is not measured in 1’s and 0’s in a bank account. Success is measured in the smiling faces you see when you walk through the door. There was a time in my life when I did not see that, I was too hung up on forgetting the past. Sometimes it takes a hardcore wake up call to see that what you have before you is not only worth living for, but is worth everything and more.