What Does An Alcoholic Look Like??? – Danny M.
Danny M. is now the second fellow alcoholic who will be sharing part of his experience, strength, and hope on getsoberbitch.com and I am truly grateful for his honesty and enthusiasm. It has been a pleasure getting to know him and he is truly an inspiration to me and reminds me that some bridges can be rebuilt stronger and better than they were before, through living life in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Danny has decades of sobriety under his belt and he still comes to at least one meeting everyday. He reminds me that is a process not an event and my journey of recovery will have hills and valleys, but one thing remains and that is the open door of Alcoholics Anonymous.
I worked at a large company and was paid very well. After working there for 10 years, I realized I had nothing to show for it. I had nothing because I was always out shooting pool, drinking, and hanging around bars. It got so bad that my wife had to go out and get a job and I went to work for my dad at his shop. Even then, we still couldn’t make it and I couldn’t understand why we couldn’t make it. When I sobered up I found out why we were struggling.
All my checks were going to bars. $20 here, $50 there, all of the “high-class” places I was spending my time. I found out real soon that the company I worked for didn’t appreciate my drinking. I was laid off many times because of my drinking and they fired me twice because of my disease of alcoholism.
When I walked in the company I thought this is the job for me. The other guys all had bottles in their back pockets and I thought I was in the right place. The problem was that I didn’t know how to quit. When I started drinking I would always drink to the extent, to the extreme. I was mean and shit. When I sobered up they told me I was real lucky. I got to my bottom pretty young. I was living with a woman who was much older than me. She owned a bar and I was selling all sorts of hot stuff out of there. The boosters around town would all come to me with anything and I would sell it off.
After coming into the program I learned what to do with all that money I had been carrying around in my pocket. I bought my first house, my first car, and that was great. This was very different than the life I had been living before when I was in my addiction to alcohol. I hung out at bars and lied so much to all the other guys in there that I didn’t know what was what anymore.
We would be sitting around talking about going to Vegas and I’d lie my ass off. I would chime in, “Oh Yeah, I’ve been to Vegas.” “Which one d’ya go to?” they would ask. “Oh, I went to the downtown strip and went here and did this and that.” Hell, I had never been to Vegas in my life. But I lied so much I got to believing all of the lies. Today is different. I’ve been coast to coast and to Vegas. My house is paid for, all of my cars, and other toys are all paid for, but I wouldn’t have any of it if I hadn’t quit drinking.
I was married to this gal and after she let me hit bottom, she divorced me because of this disease called alcoholism. I didn’t know I had it when I showed up at my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting near me 3 years later. I remarried this woman 12 years later and we have now been married for 24 years and she says “I’m the nicest woman and always have been, he’s the one that’s changed.”
I am very grateful for the program and it has given me so much more than I ever thought could have been possible. I’m not bragging about what I have or trying to boast, the point is that if I can do it, then you can too. One day at a time for me and it will always be that way.
If all of these things would have happened overnight and it would have come easy I probably would have gone out in 6 months and said screw it. Gone out and got drunk because it would have been too easy. But I had to get to my bottom and I had to realize that I was a drunk and could not handle alcohol on my own.
So I showed up at AA without knowing anything about the 12 steps or the program. I had never even heard of Alcoholics Anonymous or any type of addiction recovery program or alcoholism treatment. I realize I never went as low as a lot of people and I have heard many stories about living on the street, losing houses, getting arrested, serving time in jail and prison but I just got as low as I wanted to go.
I feel very fortunate that I cried out to God and got on my knees and he showed up. Three guys showed up over 30 years ago now and I realized I was an alcoholic after having some long conversations with them and I haven’t had a drink since. I’m not bragging on that again, the idea of it is, if I can do it you can do it too. I don’t care how far your gone or how much trouble you feel you’ve put yourself in it’s about where your headed.
For me, it was about finally seeing where I was headed and I was afraid of going to the penitentiary and I was doing all the wrong things. The cops were starting to show up and ask people if they knew who I was and where I was. I was still involved in selling drugs and everything else and I got to the point where I wanted to change my life and I did.
I made a commitment to God and to myself and I came into AA and paid attention, wrote things down, took it seriously. But it took time and you have to be careful not to rush it. I think it is important for newcomers to ask questions and to work the steps in order, because I went from Step 1 admitting I was powerless over alcohol and my life had become unmanageable to Step 9 trying to make amends to everyone. It doesn’t work that way. I was just trying to feel better about myself, but you have to do the steps in the order listed and there is reason behind it.
This program of Alcoholics Anonymous has worked really well for me over the years and I still go to several meetings throughout the week and share my story of experience, strength, and hope. I have gained a wonderful life and so much I can never repay back because of this program.