Are you a former addict struggling to get back to your dreams?
Fighting recovery from addiction and trying to get back to who you were?Are you a recovering addict? Ready to reclaim your dreams and start pursuing your goals again? Here's an encouraging story of overcoming addiction.Click To Tweet
You’re not the only one.
Perhaps you remember a time when you leaned heavily into your vices to make it through. When things are hard we run to whatever helps us.
No matter what addiction you’re struggling with, you can open up to those around you, seek support and reclaim your dream. Addiction is not the end, it’s not your end.
Disclaimer: I am not a trained healthcare professional and the advice offered in this post has come about based on my own personal experiences. If you struggle with addiction, please seek support from a qualified treatment professional.
It’s difficult to be vulnerable when you want to share your voice with an audience. However, there are times where it is most needed in the hopes of encouraging and inspiring another soul.
I wasn’t always the put-together person I might appear, at least a few years back. I have continuous battles with my personal Kryptonite—alcohol—to the point that it almost took my life.
A Story of Alchohol Addiction and Recovery
The first sip seems harmless
My first time getting “hardcore” drunk wasn’t in high school but later on, during college, when house parties seemed inevitable and going to such events was the only way to meet girls. My first few sips were pleasant. The sips soon turned into gulps, and those gulps turned into full-blown beer bong craziness.
Call it peer pressure, a desire to fit in or whatnot, but I ended up finding myself trashed on a random couch most weekends. The unpleasant hangovers didn’t stop me—I was stressed out by my engineering major coursework, and it felt like the only way to cope.
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Soon enough, the stress of meeting my requirements in college was slowly taking its toll. I was barely making Cs and Ds, while my “friends” pressured me to skip class.
I eventually flunked a major subject—which was pretty devastating. The night I received the grade, I went to the grocery store and snuck in a few drinks to my dorm. That’s when it hit me—I was using alcohol as a coping mechanism—but it didn’t bother me, because it helped numb the stress of coping with schoolwork.
One step forward, two steps back
Alcohol distorts your way of thinking. I found myself growing uninterested in finishing college. Two of my friends dropped out, and I was on the verge of following in their footsteps. I was too drunk to even have the motivation to go on.
My mind thought, “Just let it be, screw it, and do what makes you happy“.
I decided to drop out of college that term without even telling my parents. I was scared, but education didn’t seem like a clear path for me based on what I was feeling at the moment.
But, I did have a plan: I actually wanted to work part-time gigs with my friends, who also happened to be my college bandmates.
When my parents found out, they didn’t accept the news graciously. They had high expectations of me, as we come from a family of doctors and engineers. I lost contact with them for almost a year after dropping out of college.
Lost and nowhere to go
With no family contact and a lack of direction, I decided to stay with my two friends. I stuck to my plan, performing at late night bars and barely scraping together enough money to buy my stash of alcohol. During this two-month period, I was drowning myself in alcohol to the point that it basically became my “water”.
Night after night, whether we had gigs or not, my friends and I smoked and drank to our heart’s content. One of them had an ongoing anxiety problem and was prescribed Xanax. He admitted that he had been taking more than the recommended dosage to “feel good”.
I was in emotional turmoil and desperate to find ways to numb the pain I was feeling for disappointing my parents, for dropping out of college, and for the general downward spiral I was in. That night, I took some of my friend’s Xanax pills and drank it with what was available: alcohol.
I didn’t realize that mixing drugs and alcohol was a big mistake. The next thing I remember, I was in a hospital bed. I apparently passed out due to the combination of Xanax and alcohol. The doctor told me that if it had taken a few more minutes to get me to the hospital, I would have lost my life.
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A Moment of Contemplation
My one-week stay in the hospital made me re-think my life and my decisions. That life-threatening moment helped me change my outlook on life: Life is very fragile. Some people make tons of mistakes before succumbing to a tragic fate. It almost happened to me after only a couple of bad decisions.
I realized that I didn’t value what was truly important. I had chosen alcohol over my dreams and aspirations, my future. This troublesome path almost killed me.
My parents eventually visited me and we had a talk about what I went through as a college student. They felt that I fell into bad company, coupled with the stress of academics, and the desire to belong. Being their only child also caused me a lot of pressure, but alcohol was no way to cope. I asked them for forgiveness.
A Fresh Start
Now, with the help of my parents, I am putting my life in order. I decided to go to an alcohol rehab center to find support groups and to seek help for my alcoholism. Also, I parted ways with my former friends. I found a part-time job at the Tech Center at the University but have decided to finish my degree at another school.
If you value your life, and the people you love, seek help right away before it’s too late. Remember that the temporary high of alcohol in your bloodstream causes impaired thinking that can influence your decisions in life, whether big or small. There are reports of people impulsively committing suicide under the influence of alcohol. Suicide is 120 times more common to people who drink than those who don’t.
If you are someone suffering from alcohol addiction, I encourage you to take these steps:
Ways to Overcome Alcohol Addiction
#1. Alcohol Rehab Centers
Alcohol is dangerous to quit on your own, so get professional, medical help. You can start by simply calling a hotline. From there, you will be guided step-by-step on how you can recover from alcoholism.
Click here to find an alcohol rehab center near you. Or do a simple Google search for one in your area.
#2. Avoid Negative Influences
Some people encounter alcohol due to social pressure. If you want to get out of the rut of addiction, you should be ready to stay away from negative influences. If this means cutting out certain people in your life, make it a point to do so.
End it with an amicable conversation if possible. Friends, in general, are good to have, but some may drag you down, as was the case for me. Instead, fill your life with supportive people.
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#3. Change Your Environment
In my situation, I decided to relocate as it was then easier for me to impress upon my mind that I was making a fresh start.
#4. Replace Old Habits with New, Healthy Ones
When you are trying to eliminate an addiction in your life, there’s a void that needs to be filled, a habit to be replaced. If you don’t know what new habits you should adopt, you can start by eating whole foods and exercising.
For me, it was helpful to go to the gym for at least two hours a day, four times a week. I started becoming interested in bodybuilding, and this had a ripple effect. I was watching what I was eating, sleeping regularly, and developing healthy habits to see progress in my body.
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#5. Find Your Passion
What are you passionate about? What brings you joy and happiness? Find ways to bring joy into your daily life by making time for doing what you love every day.
Set aside time to journal about what makes you happy, or take online quizzes to help you identify what new habits you can incorporate in your schedule.
#6. Find Your Tribe
The journey of recovery is not meant to be traveled alone. You need people that can empathize with and understand what you are going through, not just well-meaning people who can “imagine how you feel”.
Find your “tribe”, people who are walking on the same path as you. There are many support groups available in alcohol rehab centers, as well as organization-based groups, that you can join to have a weekly session to talk about your struggles with alcohol and listen to the struggles of others.
I am doing this, and I strongly advocate for the building of communities of people who can relate to each other.
A Relapse is Not a Failure
Just like any illness, there may be ups and downs. But a temporary down does not mean you have failed in your alcohol addiction recovery.
Relapse is a relatively common occurrence, and it usually happens in the first year of trying to get and stay off alcohol, drugs, and other substances.
A relapse cycle may often feel like a setback, but understand that you can get back on the bike and get better. The longer you move forward, the easier it will be. Accept that relapse may happen, pick up your pace, and move on. Do not be discouraged by a single relapse cycle.
Learning from others’ experience
Like so many others, I have learned my lessons the hard way. They gave me a wake-up call to value my life. However, I personally think that the best way you can learn is through others’ experiences. Perhaps you can learn from me.
I hope that I can shed light on the dangers that alcohol addiction held for me. If there is hope for me, there is hope for you, too. Then, be open and vulnerable and share your story with others.
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More About Guest Contributor
I am a professional freelance blogger from Detroit, Michigan that has a special interest in addiction and recovery. This passion mainly stems from my parents’ struggle with alcoholism while growing up. It is my hope that through my writing, people will understand that no matter what the situation is, there is always a way out for them.