My name is matt g, and i am an alcoholic/addict. here is a little about what i used to be like, what happened, and what i am like now. i was born in mesa Arizona. i had an alcoholic/addict father, an addict mother, and later an alcoholic/addict step-father. my biological father killed himself when i was about 5, so i never really knew him. from this point on, when i mention my dad, it will be referring to my step father who eventually adopted me. My alcohol and drug career started at age 13. i grew up being physically, emotionally, and mentally abused by my dad, and naturally i wanted to be anywhere but home. i eventually discovered pot and alcohol, and things became a little bit more tolerant for me at home. Not long after that, i was put into my first rehab. some of you guys that were around during the 90's will remember the outdoor survival "rehabs" that kids were dying at, and constantly getting hurt. it was a 30 day program, i got through it in 94 days. i was also the youngest to ever go through it. the age they recommended was 16. that experience opened up a whole new window for me. not only did i learn how to survive on my own, but i met lots of people that i probably shouldn't have. when i completed the program, naturally being the alcoholic/addict i was, went back out there to do some research. that was the only way i thought i could live in the situation i had. i remember the day my dad came home from work, upset about whatever always seemed to upset him, i pissed him off somehow. he then picked me up, and threw me against a wall. that was the day i decided i'd had enough and it was time to run away. about 1 week later, i got picked up for curfew, brought home, and long story short, dad said "you don’t wanna be here anymore? then i dont want you here. i haven't wanted you here, and you can fuckin leave." and so i did. i met a group of kids that were my age, and one guy who was 18 and had his own truck... so i moved in. nothing like being a kid in Arizona with no rules, no guidance, no home, and no family to fall back on. We tore it up for sure. that’s around the time i then discovered acid and cocaine. I didn’t really care much for the "uppers" like meth or crack, just a little blow to keep my drink on. i was more of a chill kinda guy. staying up for days being all paranoid, and freaking out that i needed more shit, was not my cup of tea. i watched the other guys do all that, and i did dabble in the acid for a while. but i thought i'd be safer if i stuck to booze and pot. this went on for 2 long years. we robbed houses, places, people, and stole from stores to live and get our stuff. i did things at a young age that i would never do again, and that any normal person would probably never do. i did those things to survive. not because i thought it was fun, or wanted to become a career criminal. in fact, that was work to me. and this work had consequences if you got caught. i was a big dreamer and knew i just needed to catch a break, and things could get better for me. that break finally came a week before i turned 16. i found out that i had 3 brothers in illinois, and my oldest brother was coming to arizona to pick up a harley, knew of me and my situation, and wanted to know if i wanted to come back to illinois with him. i jumped on it. i got a hold of him, and let him know i wanted nothing more than to leave AZ, and this life behind. june 30th of '97 i officially became an illinois resident. about 3 weeks later the kids i was living in the truck with, got arrested for robbing a house, grand theft auto, and murder. 2 of the 3 are serving a natural life sentence in florence state penn in arizona, the other and one additional guy are serving 25-life for second degree murder. i often think about that, and how i dont think it would've happened if i'd have been there. i beat myself up about it for a long time. today i know that God's will was going to go down either way, and his will was to not have me there for some reason. back to my move to illinois, living with a brother that was 10 years older than me was fantastic! i had 1 of 2 options- work or go to school. naturally i chose work, and started my career as a roofer. i always had access to booze and drugs because he was old enough to buy it, and knew where to go. things went good for a while, but being a city kid living in the burbs, i had to adjust. i was angry, violent, and didnt trust anybody. as time went on, i went to jail a few times, had many encounters with the law, but always managed to escape prison. that was the perks of having a job at a young age. i had money to pay a lawyer, and the fact i grew up how i did, i knew not to ever rat anyone out, and to keep my mouth shut. at age 18, i was court ordered to go into another 30 day rehab located in rockford illinois. i went there, told them what they wanted to hear, did my time, kept my nose clean, and got released. however, i still wasnt powerless over drugs and alcohol, and went back to my normal drinking and using on a daily basis. again, for a few years i managed to stay out of trouble, and to continue to do my thing. at age 22, two big things happened for me. first being that my dad was killed in a motorcycle accident in arizona. this was a huge shock to all of us. he died with 8 years, without drinking/using. he was in AA, and from what i had seen of him, i wanted no part of AA. i dont use the word sober with him, because he was dry. i'm told, and am experiencing the 2 types of recovery people i see at the programs of recovery. 1 type is the ones who think drinking and using is the only problem, and if they stop doing those things, that’s good enough for them. their behaviors and such remain the same. some examples of that i got from my dad. he secretly left my mom, they got divorced and he remarried on her birthday with nobody knowing. his new wife is the one who informed us of his death. she also informed us of his last wishes. and that was to have my mother, (his wife of over 20 years), my sister, and myself not attend his funeral service. my other brothers were welcome there. that completely crushed me and my family. i drank and used heavily through that time, and for long after. i also believe that has something to do with my mothers mental issues you'll hear about later. Then there’s the 2nd type of recovery people. those who have a complete psychic change, find a power greater than themselves, help others, and work those 12 glorious steps that save our broken lives. they are the ones like the founders of AA and the ones you hear at major speaking events and such. they work a solid program, learn to forgive and completely change everything in there life. they realize that the drink and drug are but a symptom of this disease. that the real problem of thealcoholic and addict is themselves. that is the category i am leaning into, and hope to remain in. i see no point of being miserable while sober. if i'm going to remain the same miserable person, i might as well be getting drunk. Lets face ourselves, do the work to the best of our ability, and get past these resentments like i just spoke of with my dad. only then can they have a spiritual experience and change there life for the better. an example, i have forgiven my dad and his wife for that, and everything else that has happened. i realize today, why he made that decision, and that he did the best he could at the time. i wouldn’t change any of it, because it helped to shape me into who i am today. ok, enough of that. second, i got into the roofers union making $32.80 an hour. i was the youngest journeyman in northern illinois. a lot of heads were spinning then. i was one of the best, and better than most guys that had 20 years experience in the field. like most alcoholics, when we put our minds to something, we excel at it, and that i did. that was also the year i got my 1 and only D.U.I. i was drinking all night at my brothers house, we got into a fight, and i took off in mid-february during a snow storm. i got about 5 miles away, and rolled my 1992 chevy astro van. i was with my girlfriend and 2 dogs at the time. and from that point on, things are pretty hazy. i remember trying to get home on foot, holding each dog by there collar in a t-shirt, with my girlfriend lagging behind. then the police came up, asked if that was my van back there, and i said of course not! i'm out walking my dogs. duh. doesn't everybody walk there dogs without a leash or winter coat in a snow storm?! needless to say, i went to jail. i refused all sobriety tests, and threw up in the police car. i also got a good lawyer, and beat the case. i had to do a victim impact class, some dui classes, and a hefty fine.. got no probation, jail time, and didnt even lose my license. still, i'm not powerless over drugs and alcohol, and my life is far from unmanageable. a few weeks before i turned 24, my arrogance on the roof catches up with me. at this point, i'm thinking i'm so good that i can drink and use whenever i want, including on dangerous roof jobs for the union. for those of you in the construction industry, you know about roof hooks, boards, harnesses/ropes, and roof anchors... i was the guy that put in all the safety equipment, and took it down for the other guys. so they could get up safely, and off the roof upon its completion safely. after finishing up a job, i've gotten all the equipment out and off the roof, and i have one board and hook to go. it starts raining. i have one foot on the roof, one on the ladder. next thing i know, i'm looking up from 3 stories down, trying to figure out what the hell just happened. i had fallen. shattered my foot, and severly sprained the other. lucky to be alive. had i falled head first, i would have surely broken my neck. i had several surgeries and bone grafts to repair my foot. i was in a cast for 2 years. i decided i was in desperate need of a vacation. so, i buy a plane ticket back to ol'arizona. meet up with some old friends, and have a good ol' time. while on vacation i decide to go with mom up to showlow to visit some family and relax a little. naturally, the first thing i do when i get there is find a bar that suits me, and have at it. i have no idea how long i was there, what the bar name was, or how much i drank. the next few weeks are spotty. i remember leaving and asking me friend if she's good to drive. of course she says yes. then i remember arguing over what CD we r gonna listen too, then i'm coming to on the side of the road in a ditch. i remember people were pulling her out of the drivers side window. i remember breaking the passenger side window and falling out. then being dragged to the road. my next memory i'm in the hospital, cops are there, asking questions i don't have the answers too. i remember being irrate to the point that they sedated me. several times. then i remember doctors talking about amputating my leg. hearing that was quite sobering. then i'm being irate again, and sedated again. my next memory is being in an ambulance heading to flagstaff memorial hospital in AZ. then i wake up with an external brace on my leg. pins, rods, screws, weird devices sticking out all over the place. turns out that as we were arguing about the CD, my friend swerved into oncoming traffic, and we got into a head on collision at at least 65mph. we were in a toyota avalon, and hit a gmc yukon. needless to say, the yukon won. neither one of us walked away, everyone in the yukon did. however both vehicles were totaled. i spent another few years in a cast, surgery after surgery, but my leg was saved :-) i will always walk with a limp, never be able to run, and will always be in pain. a consequence of my actions that i have accepted today. i wish i could say that is the end of my story, but unfortunately the pain still wasnt great enough. after my accident i met a woman who in may of 2008 would become my wife. we drank and used together the whole time. it wasnt until my wife got pregnant with our first child, that i started to see i had a problem. she was able to stop drinking during the pregnancy, however i couldn't. that was my first moment of clarity. however, i still wasnt ready to quit. my daughter was born in june of 2009. things were just getting worse. i wasnt paying the mortgage, barely able to hold a job and pay the bills. my wife and i were rapidly growing apart. then... she got pregnant again. i had no idea what i was going to do. in july of 2011 my son was born. i didnt feel attached to him at all. i maybe held him half a dozen times the first 4 months of his life. i left my wife with all the burden of raising 2 kids on her own, while her husband was gone, drunk, ALL the time. since the car accident, i have also experienced memory issues that i still struggle with today. but i do remember the most important things in my life. on novemember 27th of 2011 i came home from work. my wife asked me to give our son a bath. i said no, walked down into or basement, and continued to drink. what i couldn't tell my wife was that i was incapable of bathing our son. i was afraid i would drop him, or even worse, forget he was in the tub and walk away. i then decided something had to change. i got a phone call from my sister in law. she began to tell me about AA. long story short, i decided to quit drinking (not drugs) and promised her i would go to a meeting the following day. i have not had a drink since that day. that is when the journey to sobriety started for me. my first few weeks without drinking were rough. i went through withdrawal, and lost a dear friend of mine to the disease. she died from aspiration. she took too many pain pills while drinking, fell asleep, and choked to death on her own vomit. that was a REAL eye opener for me. thats exactly what i was doing on a daily basis. i didnt think things could get any worse. i struggled with that. Wondering why her, and not me? i still didnt drink. a week before Christmas i received a strange phone call from my mother, who lived in idaho. she wasnt making much sense. i became concerned. after Christmas i flew to idaho to see what was going on. i found out she was acting funny for years. i thought she was just getting senile. she was diagnosed with dementia. i was now faced with having to pack up her house, sell it, and move her back to Illinois with me. i didnt think it could get any worse. i still didnt drink. however i was still smoking pot and popping pills like candy. still thought the drink was my only problem. after 3 weeks, and i road trip from hell, i arrived back in illinois on jan 27th of 2012. grateful to have accomplished everything i did for my mom, alone, i just wanted to see my wife and kids. nothing was more important to me at that moment. i remember walking in the door to be greeted by my wife who was disturbed, looked like she was crying. she then told me she didn’t want to be with me anymore. i was crushed. completely caught off guard. my entire world was crumbling, and i didnt know why. i thought things would get better when i quit drinking. at that point, i quit thinking it couldn't get any worse, and just waited for the next bad thing to happen. after my wife said that, i got my mom settled, jumped in my truck, and headed to the bar. i couldn’t do this anymore. i was crying, then yelling. then punching the steering wheel, then crying again. i got to the bar and sat in my truck contemplating going in. then, those magical 2 words... "fuck it." i walked up to the bar, put my hand on the door knob, crying. i then asked God if he was really there, now was the time to prove it. then a sudden calming feeling came over me. i felt as though everything would be alright. it was VERY strange. i didnt go into the bar. i got back in the truck, and went home to face the mess i had made. that was the last day i had any mind altering chemicals of any kind. i changed my sobriety date to jan 28th of this year (2012) and got busy in the program. as i started the work to get better, my sponsor fired me. no rhyme, no reason. i couldn’t figure out why. Meanwhile, I’m noticing that him and my wife are spending a lot of time together. so i confront her. she loses it. i have no actual proof, but i believe that why i was in Idaho, my wife and my sponsor had an affair. After a lot of ugliness, i filed for divorce in feb. Today, my soon to be ex-wife and ex-sponsor are now dating, and have a relationship together, that i have no control of. i have given up my house, my possessions, am unable to see my kids on a daily basis, and have started my life over. i am coming up on 7 months sober, and since then i have had many of the promises come true. But I have done the action, and worked hard with my new sponsor to get here. i now have a excellent relationship with my 2 children. My son reaches for me when i enter the room. We have a connection now that blows my mind! We just celebrated his 1st birthday at my condo. My daughter loves to play with me and my heart melts every time she says daddy. i get my children every weekend. God willing, my divorce will be finalized next month. my wife and ex-sponsor are still together. i have also reconnected with other family that got lost in the mix of things. i have a full time job with my brother. i have lost owning part of the business, but will always have a job there. Like i said a minute ago, i have a condo. step down from a house, but its good enough! i also have a girlfriend in the program who just celebrated 4 years of sobriety, and who has helped me along my journey. today i am working on my 9th step. i go to meetings everyday. i work with others, and i live my life according to the principals i have learned from the program of alcoholics anonymous. today i am an atheist who has found a higher power. Today I am a father. Today i don’t have everything i want, but everything i need. today i am sober, and happier than i've ever been. Today, i live one day at a time. thank you for reading my story. and for those of you who still suffer, DON'T QUIT BEFORE THE MIRACLE HAPPENS!!! Matt G.
Lessons Learned in Life
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