I had many goals in my life that I wanted to achieve and had a strong certainty of what I wanted my world to look like. I was certain, without a shadow of a doubt, that my future would be very different than that of my father’s. At the age of 33, one year into a new job at a hospital, the world at my fingertips, my father suddenly passed away. I turned to alcohol to cope.
I wasn’t very concerned about this because I had never been a big drinker to begin with. I didn’t care for the hangovers. In a short time, though, I knew how to fix a hangover and what I thought was a phase was an endless path of self-destruction. I attributed my drinking to depression, the loss of my father, and a recent break-up. But as time went on, the drinking grew worse and the bad consequences were beginning to pile up. I was getting into accidents on my moped, concussions, missing work, growing more and more out of control and more reliant upon alcohol. It has been 17 years since my father passed, 6 stints in treatment, homeless, jail, loss of a career, and the list goes on. For most of us “hardcore alcoholics”, as I considered myself, this is not unique.
Unfortunately, it is a common story. By the way, Hello. My name is Simone G. and I am an alcoholic. I was given this news in the year 2005, the year I took 3 Family Medical Leaves, and the year I tried to commit suicide. The psychiatrist told me I was always an alcoholic, my dads death triggered my disease, and I would never be able to drink like a normal person again. My response: “BULLSHIT. I AM DEPRESSED. I AM NOT AN ALCOHOLIC.” I honestly didn’t think it could be true. This definitely was not on the list of things to achieve in life. I truly do not believe anyone wakes up and says I am going to be an Alcoholic and wreak havoc on the world and have fun doing it. I wouldn’t wish this disease on my worst enemy.
Like most of us, I did not want to admit defeat. Things like this do not happen to people like me. They happen to the one down the block or the one on the television set. Not me. No way. So I set on a mission to prove the doctor wrong. I tried everything they talked about in the Big Book of AA, to try to control and change my drinking. I even moved to Massachusetts with a man I knew for a week to prove to myself the city I lived in was at fault. In my suitcases I packed my denial, hatred, self-pity, blame and all my insecurities to bring with me. Within a few weeks after securing a Radiological Technologist position at a local clinic, I was back to drinking and quit my job.
Drinking was my only priority, nothing else. Now we all have stories to tell. I say some of us just have a few more lines. They say you have to hit rock bottom to come back up. I was living at the bottom. And no matter how bad I got, if I could only muster up enough strength to get some confidence back I would be okay. I have relapsed more times than I care to remember. Damaged many relationships, careers, etc. It got so bad looking for employment I didn’t think McDonalds would even hire me. I was unreliable, a horrible track record. And now the days of detoxing on my own had gone. I couldn’t handle the sickness I would get when I would try to quit.
At this point I had to be hospitalized. Which made me even more angry. Most times I would never finish detox . I would usually sign myself out against medical advice. A sponsor once said to me, “Simone do you want to live or do you want to die?” That is the question that I am posed with today. My last relapse I overdosed on Ambien because I was tired of the demons inside me pulling me back and forth. I survived another attempt of ending my life later on, and am lucky to even be able to write about it today. For me, this time, I want to live.
I was dual-diagnosed PTSD/Alcoholism and have learned to slow down and never, not for one second, forget who I am. At my last treatment, I was introduced to the appropriate medication to stop my cravings. With the right prescription, and weekly counseling, I am doing very well. I have learned to have gratitude. Like being able to type without the shakes. I am not bitter and angry like I used to be. Because honestly, an alcoholic of my nature is lucky enough not to be in prison, or an insane asylum, or dead. So I count my blessings everyday, putting my sobriety before everything else. It is the only way. My sobriety used to be based on the material things I had. And honestly, they were just things. “Things” never kept me sober. I would bargain with my sobriety only to realize I was merely talking to the devil, trying to cut deals and find the easy way out.
I have made a lot of mistakes in recovery, trying to do it alone was one. I learned this disease is way too deadly to try to conquer alone. I stopped trying to achieve perfection too. I have learned to love me for who I am. Now, even if it seemed I’ve had a bad day, if at the end of the night I can put my head on my pillow and know that I didn’t have a drop that day, then to me it was another great win.
About the author:
Simone Guetchidjian is a local resident to our community here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has spent 17 years on her journey through recovery and is living a healthy, active, inspirational, and addiction free lifestyle today. She loves sharing her motivation and words of wisdom with her followers on Twitter, spreading awareness and advice everyday to help combat the addiction epidemic we see in our community. You can follow her on Twitter here, and keep up with the amazing life she lives today, addiction free.