In this what will be the first podcast in a series of four I will be looking at adverse childhood experiences, how they can lead to addiction and for some a pathway to prison. Jackie Malton is a retired police officer and her own pathway to recovery from alcohol is well documented.
We examine the inner self and how Jackie, as an unpaid volunteer counsellor, helps people through recovery, many serving long prison sentences. Thus setting the way for a further three podcasts where I speak with ex offenders on their own path to recovery. It’s quite a journey.
I had my first drink at the age of 14. It did not take long for me to fall in love with the feeling of being drunk. After a long week of school, drinking became my homework. I would say I became a full-blown alcoholic at the age of 19 when I attempted college for the first of three times. Years later, I would have no idea just how much my drinking would affect my family and personal relationships. I was always in denial that I was an alcoholic even when people suggested that I might have a problem. I wish I had listened to them sooner.
My brain and alcohol is a bad combination. I was a belligerent drunk. I would become angry, irritable, moody and unpredictable. I would say things to family members and loved ones that I never meant to say. Even when I wasn’t drinking I felt like my alcoholism played a significant role in affecting my normal brain chemistry. It turned me into a real-life Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Had I not been so oblivious, stubborn and ignorant to the fact that the problem was not necessarily me- the problem was my drinking- my life would have played out differently.
I recall a few nights where I would get blackout drunk, stumble lost around town and ended up having to call my parents to find me. Another night I was out with some friends, took a klonopin with alcohol and, according to my friends, I went to the bathroom out in the public parking lot. When I was under the influence, I was in my own world where anything goes. My drinking would soon create problems in a personal relationship that I held dear to me.
My drinking made me a lot more susceptible to caring too much or too little about simple, stupid things. My alcoholism combined with jealousy and arrogance made me toxic when it came to personal relationships. I was madly in love with one particular girl but yet I might have been in love with alcohol and cocaine more. I was financially stable but got complacent and selfish in the sense that my drinking and drug use would divert me away from what she wanted and needed. I was oblivious to the severe mood swings and depression my alcoholism created. Instead of building us up, I was the one who dragged us down without ever meaning to. I just failed to realize that I was failing and didn’t do anything to try and change it until it was too late. She ended up breaking up with me after spending three years together. The devastating heartbreak would spiral me into an even deeper oblivion that I did not think I would get out alive.
I was now having to deal with the five stages of grief and deal with the guilt, shame and failure that my substance abuse created. I was beating myself up, asking myself how did I fail to see I had a problem? I would have gotten the help I needed sooner had I known the consequences and heartbreak I was about to endure. I would have done anything in my power to save the relationship but it was too late. My drinking would become even worse. I was now drinking out of severe depression. I was drinking to combat suicidal thoughts. I was drinking to self medicate and numb the pain.
My family members and others close to me watched me self-destruct like they had never seen before. My plan was to seriously drink myself into a coma or grave. Alcohol had already taken every good thing I had in life. I was ready to die by the bottle. My family could no longer stand watching me slowly but surely kill myself every night. My parents knew I wasn’t going to stop and I knew I wasn’t going to stop, so I agreed to enter a detox and rehab center.
Going into rehab opened my eyes quite a bit. I learned a lot about myself. I was able to grasp that I did have a problem and the causes and effects of my problem. I realized that I was not a bad human being, alcohol and drugs just turned me into someone I wasn’t. I wish normal people were capable of putting themselves in our shoes and our heads so they can understand what it’s like not having any self-control over alcohol or drugs.
We truly are powerless and fall victim to it. If anyone tries to say that alcoholism and addiction isn’t a disease, there are millions of other people in America and around the world who struggle or have struggled with substance abuse that can tell you it is definitely a disease or perhaps even more like a plague.
-Written by Guest Blogger, Kevin Respass
Kevin Repass is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. He is a writer for a south Florida-based company dedicated to providing resources and information to all those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.
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