Addressing My Alcoholism
How does a 52-year-old man end up in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program? I arrived at Narconon, Louisiana, an example of what alcoholism does to one’s life. My physical health may have been intact, but my mental health was battered and bruised. I was depressed, angry, and incapable of doing anything about it, no longer was the jovial, confident, and outgoing guy I once was.
This time in treatment was not my first rodeo; I had attempted recovery twice before. Each time I would leave treatment feeling healthy and happy. However, my success would be short-lived. With a false sense of security, I began to drink again. A little at the beginning progressed into full-blown binge drinking and losing any recollection of what happened for days.
Then came a third D.U.I. arrest. After washing down several prescription sleeping pills with rum, I fell asleep at the wheel and hit a tree.
Addiction is a complex problem. Some can choose a certain drug or alcohol while some people are not picky. At first, alcohol was recreational, social, or a way to relax for me. I’d have a few beers, play a round of golf, or hang at the beach. As the years passed, my affinity for a good wine or beer became a need for the stronger stuff. I was having success in my professional life. I was the General Manager of two of San Diego’s finest restaurants.
I was overtaken by a sense of invincibility. I felt I could drink whatever I wanted when I wanted. While working long hours, I used more and more alcohol to help “wind down.” I started having issues with my blood pressure and had an irregular heartbeat. Despite my doctor’s instructions, I still used alcohol as my cure for sleeplessness. I became less productive at work and in my personal life. Outdoor activities and time spent with family and friends went out the window.
It is now obvious to me these were the things that helped me be successful in life. I began to lose jobs and the things I worked hard to attain and had to move home. I isolated myself, and the only thing that made me feel successful was obtaining booze. I would have angry outbursts at those I loved and loved me. These episodes terrified me because I could not remember having them.
With my family’s support waning, I was desperate to find a reason for my destructive behavior. Being from southern California, Louisiana seemed like an odd choice. I had never ventured that far east before. After just a few conversations with staff, I decided to go to Louisiana. I had become stuck in my comfort zone, and my family felt the change of scenery would be good for me.
I can’t explain why but I felt very comfortable as soon as I stepped off the plane in Louisiana. I had a pleasant drive from the airport to the Narconon campus. Due to COVID, I had to spend some time in quarantine in their withdrawal section. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was in decent condition but understood the precaution taken. What separated my experience here from the other programs was the care taken for new arrivals.
I was impressed with the around-the-clock care, respect, and professionalism. All this was done in comfortable surroundings. Not everyone shows up to treatment in the best of shape. Knowing this, the staff is quick and capable of responding to the needs of new arrivals.
After quarantine, I got my room assignment and had several interviews. Unlike my past treatments, my program was designed specifically for me. After weeks of soul searching, I am addressing my condition, the underlying cause. I am two months in, and I truly know I have regained my confidence and self-determinism. I have developed new ways of thinking and decision-making. I even have my sense of humor back.
Without the love and support of family and friends, my fight would have been hopeless. It wasn’t until I arrived at Louisiana I realized what I had lost. I have now regained my self-esteem. Things came easily for me in the past. I didn’t know how to cope with roadblocks and challenges. Now I have learned the tools needed to ensure my survival; never quit, do not make excuses, and do not fall back on false blame and cures.
The time I’ve spent at Narconon Louisiana, bettering myself is a drop in the bucket compared to decades of selfish, destructive, and costly behavior. Life, like a lot of things, is a game of numbers and percentages. The most important number is 1! The one life you live! Being sober, the percentages are in my favor that I will live a fulfilling rest of my years.