I was born in Los Angeles, California 36 years ago. My mother had a fling with my father, and I never got to meet him. In my gut, I know I inherited this disease from him.
I was raised by my step-father. As a teenager, I was very rebellious. I started drinking here and there. Once I got to college, I stayed drunk on most nights and all weekends. I thought that I didn’t have a drinking problem if I made myself go to class and if I didn’t drink during the day.
When I was 28 years old, I met Tanya. It was love at first sight. She was so beautiful. At first, we would drink wine together. I quickly realized, though, that she could drink like a normal person. I always wanted one more glass. We were married within a year. We were very much in love.
After we got married, I got a job with a marketing company. All of my co-workers were very much in the culture of drinking and partying and my drinking only got worse. I also picked up a cocaine habit. I had already gotten two DUIs in my twenties but I still managed to convince myself that I didn’t have a drinking habit.
Drinking had become such an integral part of my work culture, my social life, every aspect of my life. I didn’t know who I was without alcohol. But one night in January two years ago when I nearly died from alcohol poisoning and I had to have my stomach pumped, Tanya said enough was enough. She gave me an ultimatum: rehab or she was leaving.
I went to rehab. The first week or so I was incredibly resistant. I still didn’t think I had a problem. I thought I could control my drinking. But during one therapy session, I had a complete epiphany. I realized that my entire life revolved around alcohol. I had never really been able to see how sad it all was until I had that realization.
As soon as I had that moment of clarity, it became easier and easier. I got the help I needed. I joined Alcoholics Anonymous. I quit my job and found another job in a better company. Tanya supported me completely and threw out all of her wine. She never drank again.
It’s been a difficult road since then, and at times, it’s been quite a challenge to stay sober. But I can really look back and say my entire road to recovery began with that single moment of clarity. I didn’t want alcohol to be in control of my life anymore. I wanted to control my own life.