Robert’s Story

 I always felt different growing up. I would always compare myself to other people as being better or worse than, mainly worse, projecting my own irrational insecurities into their heads like loser, failure, and “never good enough”. I carried these thoughts and feelings of loneliness and rejection around with me wherever I went growing up whether it was at home, school, sports, or hanging out with friends. I had my first experience with substances at 16 years old and I thought I had finally found my solution to the guide book I had been missing out my entire life.

 I remember how much I loved alcohol the first time I was intoxicated. All those feelings felt like they vanished temporarily and I could finally be comfortable in my own skin and relate to other people which is what I think I was looking for all along with substances. Once I picked up that first drink, I could not stop. My addiction did not start off with using every day but when I went off to college that is where my addiction really escalated. I decided to go to East Carolina University in North Carolina my freshmen year of college mainly to party and escape the home life I hated for so long: the “geographical cure” as they say. That did not turn out to be the case. All those thoughts and feelings I tried to escape came down with me. What it became was either getting drunk or high by myself alone in my dorm room Friday and Saturday nights. Then it went from just weekends to the end of the week and eventually any day I could drink or use.  When I didn’t have it, that was all I would think about when and where my next drink or hit was going to be or how lonely I really was even around people.  I decided to return home to Connecticut after my freshman year of college where I was originally from. At 19 years old I didn’t think I had a problem or maybe I did, and just did not want to do anything about it. My mother decided to send me to a drug and alcohol treatment facility. At the time I did not want to go because I did not think I had an issue, and it was more so to please her. Although I was not ready at the time for recovery, looking back I can say that treatment facility did help plant the seed of what my solution was in case I became in so much pain that I wanted to do something about it: a 12-step program. I was amazed at how many people my age had 1, 2, 3, and even more years of sobriety and that there were meetings setup designated for young people.

After experimenting one more year after leaving the 30-day treatment facility, I did not care if I lived or died anymore. Alcohol became my best friend but at the same time was like a friend that made me feel even lonelier. The pain became so much that I was willing to do whatever it took to stay sober and I finally did. Something changed the night of my last use on November 11, 2013. I saw how powerless I really was and what the program talks about regarding the physical compulsion to use. I believe today I was born an alcoholic from my genetics and environment. I realize that it is not the drinking that was my problem, it was my thinking. What I mean by that is today this program helps me with a new outlook and attitude upon life that the promises talk about: how can I be of maximum service to my fellows. Today, I have a solution and guide book to life I was missing that I thought alcohol and drugs were the answer to. I am 24 years old and have been sober since I was 20. I grew up and am stilling growing in this program. I really am grateful for everything the program, God, and people have done for me in my journey of recovery and look forward to what the future holds “one day at a time.”