As I continued through Junior High School and High School my fears of being discovered as "not good enough" in other words my fears of people finding out exactly who I was or more importantly wasn't drove me to create a persona of everything in my life is golden, even though it rarely was. Having to give a false address to go to the High School that I was not zoned for really gave me nightmares, being insecure and having to act perfectly in every situation less someone finds out I did not live where I said I did made my life a living hell. So as I continued to live a lie and having that foster into a perfectionist complex, so much so that I began to iron my T-shirts, caused some health issues, like a overactive colon, upset stomach and headaches. Up to this point I really had not begun to drink but as you can clearly see I had many of the "Alcoholic" ism's well before I ever took that first drink. I had gotten drunk at 10 and 11 years old, at 10 at the Passover Sedar and at 11 during a Greek Festival but I was too afraid to do anything wrong, going back again to the perfection I felt I needed to live my life.
I was out on my own for the first time, I was only responsible for me, no more having to be home at a certain hour, no parents making sure that I am studying and FREE to do my own thing, Well my own thing included not going to class, not studying and filling my nights with drinking and finding female companionship so as not to feel lonely. I learned very early that I could have my grades sent to me and seeing as they were a printout, like carbon paper, I could erase the grade and fill in another, so my parents would never know how poorly I was doing. Like any good budding alcoholic my Sophomore year I joined a Fraternity and that is when I was introduced to the white powder I call Super Alcohol.
The first time I tried cocaine I did one teeny tiny line and that feeling of superiority, that feeling of nothing can hurt me, I am superman, overwhelmed me and I began a long love affair with that, all the while drinking more and more. I managed by the grace of G-d to graduate from College and having no real idea as to what I wanted to do, I entered into the family business.
I was not happy about it because I always felt that it was below me to own a retail establishment. I should be better than that but I never wanted to put forth the effort to be better. See that is what I did my whole life, I always knew that I should be better than I was, not being good enough in my own eyes but never wanting to put forth the effort to change. I found relief though in that bottle of beer, that rum and coke, that Stoly and cranberry, that Super Alcohol and with another female just about every night. I was so stunted in my maturity that even though all my friends, most from my childhood were growing up and stopping the insane behavior, I did the same thing and then I turned my back on most of them because I could not stand that they weren't doing the things I continued to do. So I went and found another set of friends, a lot lower class, than my original friends so I lowered my standards. See I was a chameleon and I could be whomever you wanted me to be and I could manipulate anyone at anytime to get you to do what I wanted and when I couldn't I just said to HELL with you and cut you out of my life.
I had not truly crossed that imaginary line yet when I got married but I was getting close and although originally my new wife like the Frank Sinatra persona I had created, she grew tired of it after a while and when we had our first child, she really wanted a normal life, at least that is what my therapist told me during one of our numerous sessions. It seemed though as long as I was providing the good life, nice house, nice vacations and nice cars she tolerated it, but in reality she had no idea how bad I was becoming. See I was a master manipulator by this time and I could truly hide things better than anyone.
Eventually if you are a real alcoholic of my type you will cross that demarcation line where there is no turning back and you cannot live without alcohol or drugs. Up to this point I had kept things pretty much in order and was becoming very successful in business, owning 3 separate ones at one time and had grand plans. Quickly though those plans became secondary to what I wanted and needed to do on a daily basis. I remember one time my good friend called me a pathetic human being because I had left my wife and kids to walk up the street to meet him and his family for dinner, while I did what I normally did everyday, and you know he was right. Eventually I was living only to drink and drug having formed a tremendously expensive cocaine habit and at least a few bottles of Scotch a day drinking habit, and when you are that far gone, the many plates that I could previously keep spinning began to fall and break. I came to a head and I hit my bottom on a Friday night when I did my normal amount of cocaine, and drank as much alcohol as I could and my life was so unmanageable, and I was losing everything that I thought was important to me, like the cars, the house, the businesses, not the family that continued to love me, not the friends who still would call and see how I was doing, selfish and self-centered to the bitter end, I saw no way out. I added nyquil and blood pressure pills to that mix and decided that I did not deserve to live and that my family would be better off without me. G-d saw it differently that night and every night before and I felt his hand on my head after I saw the white light and he whispered in my ear "It is not your time." I would love to tell you that I woke up and immediately got sober but it took me another 9 days of doing what I needed to do to stay alive until I had that moment of clarity. I surrendered to my powerlessness to my unmanageability and to my Higher Power,
In my sobriety I have been blessed to find that Higher Power who was always there with me, who walked beside me and during the last dark days of my addiction carried me and kept me alive. I have been blessed that I have an amazing sponsor who is nothing like me, two totally different backgrounds, two different generations but he has what I want, peace, serenity and amazing relationships. I have been blessed that most, not all, of those friends, are back in my life today. I have been blessed to reconstruct the family relationships that I ruined as a direct result of my alcoholism. Most importantly I have my wife and kids in my life today, they respect me and love me and they actually want my advice and ask me for direction. The one woman who never gave up on me, who always loved me unconditionally, who prayed and prayed that her boy would just be okay, got to see me start my journey, and begin to become the MAN she always knew I could be. She died 13 months into my sobriety and 7 hours later I was at a meeting because that is where I knew I would find the solution and comfort,
Today my life is better and more satisfying than I ever could imagine. Do we struggle absolutely because I suffer from the human condition, but today, one day at a time I am living life on life's terms and dealing with the consequences of my past. I know as long as I continue to do what I have been taught during my sobriety, and continue to do the next right thing, my greatest days, my most fulfilling days and my destiny will be revealed.