I knew something was wrong. Despite the many pills I was consuming, not to mention the merlot I was drinking every day, I just could not focus well, nor could I eat, sleep, or relieve myself of my perpetual anxiety.
Suddenly I began to think that there was just no cure for my constant fear, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, and emotional pain that felt as concrete, visceral and palpable as physical pain.
Happiness was an on-going battle that I was no longer interested in.
I was also no longer interested in keeping up with it all and even more fearful that my apathy was quite transparent. I had no idea what was wrong.
My dreams were polluted with urgency, immediacy, regret and fear, as I was somehow certain that there was something more….. something more than prescription pills and alcohol.
I woke up tired, sometimes hung-over, often feeling over-medicated, amazed that I was able to even get out of bed, and I was perpetually trapped in my thoughts.
All I wanted was for my brain to shut off and my heart to turn on.
This is thing, I was born unwanted for the most part, an unexpected hindrance, and a mistake that my mother often lamented.
As a child I was diagnosed with high functioning autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Although not always easy due to my inability to focus consistently, I thrived academically, even completed university early, as a double major, on the dean’s list, all while keeping a secret, first from myself, and then the remainder of the world.
I had another label. As much as I wanted to deny it, I was a homosexual.
I struggled to be….more like imitate a heterosexual male – through the elite corridors of an elite education, complete with a professional degree, as well as extensive travels abroad, both domestic and abroad, the “right” friends and no concerns, at all, about money.
All my life, I struggled with self-recrimination and self-hatred, further exacerbated by puritan values and unrequited passion.
On December 23, 2008, I reluctantly and apprehensively came out to my family.
On January 01, 2009, I stopped drinking and taking pills, without informing my physician. I thought I could do it on my own – I could not.
Within a month I was taking Aderrall, here and there…..on when I “really” needed, I thought.
Then, on my birthday, in April, I drank Champagne and wine at a party given on my behalf.
A Marley brother was celebrating with us, as well as other notable people, so I thought….why not?! Just one drink. By the end of the evening, I had no less than six drinks.
Then, on June 19, at a celebration in Laguna Beach, I drank again. Again, what was supposed to be one drink turned into six glasses of champagne. Six was always the magic number for me…..
The next day I knew I had to stop and the only way to do that was to get help.
Within a week, I was on plane, back to Arizona, to enter rehab.
I have not had a drink, nor Adderrall, Xanax, Klonopin, or Ativan since June 20, 2009, my sobriety date.
I spent 93 days in rehab, in Arizona. There I was introduced to a twelve step program.
Although apprehensive, I returned to Los Angeles.
Since that time, I have attended a meeting pretty much every day. At the very beginning, I went to many meetings in a single day.
Today, I am determined to live authentically, gracefully, and most importantly, substance-free, unclouded, by alcohol, pills, or even social stigma.
Since June 20, 2009, life has not always been rainbows and flowers, although much of it is today, because I have had a spiritual transformation.
I have been clean and sober for more than 3 years.
I feel new, happy, confident, fearless, calm, loved, capable and complete.
Sobriety has provided me with a sense of focus, clarity, and certainly the fortitude that I once knew before I allowed society to indoctrinate me with fear, shame, guilt, and the desire to be perfect.
Each day I live without a drink of alcohol or a pill, I recover more of my true self, complete with an abiding courage, certain that no obstacle is insurmountable.
All my life I was utterly convinced that I was the most unlovable boy, unremarkable boy who had ever lived. At last, night has become a bright blue day, complete with the possibility that I can love after all, just like everyone else.
Photo Courtesy of: flickrhivemind