How Did It Go So Wrong?
“I took a long look back and asked how did I become such a bad alcoholic and addict?
“I found I started like most other children, watching family members drinking having fun and laughing. It seemed this was mostly during get-togethers and family outings. Therefore at an early age, I associated events with drinking and good times with alcohol. The biggest reason I tried alcohol was curiosity. The first time I drank more than a couple sips here and there was when I was 14 years old when I puked.
“My high school years were a blast. During my senior year in 1979, our class goal was to consume 79 kegs throughout the school year at different locations; multiple gravel pits, small lake properties, or cool parent’s houses. By the end of the year, we had 86.
“I realized being intoxicated enabled me to make friends and meet people I’d never met before. I would laugh, do crazy things, get women and be talked about afterward, like a rock star. Liquid courage seemed to help me in certain events, with socializing, dancing, talking to girls, or any other things I was nervous or too scared to try before.
“By the end of teen years, I had smoked pot, taken mushrooms and speed. I developed the mindset I needed alcohol and drugs to operate around others to be brave, feel and be cool, and do crazy sh*t.
“Once I was 21, it was like the floodgates opened and the party was on. The 80s was like living in Cocaine City with wide open cocaine use in every bar, lounge, house party, bathroom and the bedroom. I remember back when I was 30 or so, it hit me that the cocaine was getting old and the all nights weren’t quite as fun. I still did it of course but not nearly as much.
“By this point, I couldn’t be ole Ray if I was sober. That’s when the addiction I already had really kicked in. I was bored of snorting coke and had stopped smoking weed replacing it with smoking cocaine and heroin, popping pills of every kind, and yes, still drinking.
“It’s easy to trace the start of my destruction.
“I tried blaming my commercial fishing job in Alaska. My ex-wife was always a good excuse. It seemed I would never grow up, from woman and wine and trapped with getting high and drinking heavily.
“I had found there is such a thing as the ’drug personality.’ The drugs had changed the attitude of myself from my original personality to one harboring hostilities and hatreds I didn’t want to show on the surface. My own self-respect was gone, and I had a wasted life of disappointments, losses, hurting others and lies.
“By 50 years of age, I had lost everything. Blurred and ashamed, I had nothing but the booze and the drugs. The only way to escape was to hide from loved one’s and search for my next high and bottle. Life wasn’t fun anymore. I was depressed, lonely, and feeling like I had to keep using to survive and function. Oh my god, how did this happen?
“I went to several 30-day treatment centers through the years, court-ordered outpatient, self-admitted inpatient and AA meetings. I do know boredom was the absolute biggest relapse trigger I had. When I would have 6 months off from fishing every year armed with a lot of money, I would relapse again.
“Fortunately, my family never gave up on me. They helped me get into a long-term residential treatment center. That program literally saved my life. When I arrived, I had bad teeth, was underweight and looked like a 70-year-old weak man.
“I went from a little boy full of enthusiasm to a broken man full of apathy. If long-term treatment can cure this ole fisherman, trust me it will help you or a loved one.
“I now give and don’t take, I look like I’m 47, but I’m 55 years young. Don’t go the long destructive route, get into a long-term lifesaving Narconon center.”