The Courage to Surrender
Unlike the memoir of a famous person, my story lives with the millions of baby boomers who passed me a joint and a beer in college and again at the corporate picnic. My memoir is rough around the edges, and so was I, as you will see throughout my life.
Before the Woodstock weekend in August of 1969, I graduated from college and married the mother of our love child, after which we moved to a strange city where I began training for a computer programming career. In the next six months, I got a high number in the draft lottery and my use of recreational drugs escalated from fun getting high to a craving that trumped my love for drinking beer. The older I got, the more I need both to get through the day.
With computer technology on the verge of changing the world, my training qualified me to be aggressive in searching for jobs, so within four years I made a job change. My background quickly established me as the software guru and I earned an award with an invitation to enter the company’s fast track management program. My inferiority complex with the weight of my daily drinking and drugging caused me to wonder if I deserved being a high level manager. At the time, I was content to live on the edge of my potential.
When my career collided with my addictions, I moved the family across the state for a position with a substantial salary increase and a chance to advance within a smaller company. We moved to a small suburb that was populated with professionals who drank regularly, had drug connections throughout the city and partied enough to satisfy my addictions and validate my lifestyle. My alcoholism was exacerbated with an addiction to speed that left me spinning out of control.
We left party town, when I was promoted to a project manager job at the corporate offices of world-wide company. The fast track to higher management became a fast lane to the bottom of my life. Those days began by smoking dope to medicate my alcohol ravaged insides, so I could tolerate the gridlock of the morning rush-hour traffic. Business days included getting high at noon while on the way to seedy strip joints for a lunch of drinking. For the rush-hour home, I drank with my car pooler who accompanied me on my four year trip through hell.
The true measure of my self-destruction lay hidden on the dark side of my life where substances and out of control people influenced me into doing things I knew were wrong.
During those years, I jeopardized my career and compromised my innovative solutions by being under the influence when I gave senior management presentations and attended business events that were opportunities for career advancement. With the aid of myriad personal lists I was functional enough to rebuild our house, coach my son’s soccer team, and play tennis with my other friend.
On a 1982 business trip home from Singapore, I decided to take a job on the seacoast of New Hampshire so I could cleanup my career, rehab my life, give the kids a fresh start, and kick my drug addiction. Three years later I was clean, but my wife began a drug addiction that dropped her into a drug den shooting dope with outlaws who stole from me until I was broke.
My wife’s highway to hell ran through our family and was characterized by the terror of her drug partner’s erratic behavior that invaded our private lives. We were heartbroken from feelings of lost love and our trust was shattered forever from the false hope of failed promises. Despite the danger and humiliation of trying to piece together our American Dream, I failed.
On Dec 17, 2001 my doctor showed me the results of my physical to explain that if I continued to drink I would die sooner rather than later. His prognosis scared me, so I poured out all my alcohol, found an old AA meeting schedule, and attended the first of some 1800 meetings I’d participate in over the next eleven years of my continuous sobriety.
My story is full of experiences from my days at the bottom of life through the first years in recovery into a day in sobriety. My book combines short stories with vivid descriptions of actual situations that allow you to see this life-threatening disease from all angles. There are messages for the friends and family of an addict, concluding that secrecy and enabling are part of the madness.
When you have finished my memoir some of the mystery that surrounds alcoholism and drug addiction will be answered because my examples show the mental processes related to bottoms, rehabs, behavior, thoughts, decisions, fears and motivations
Although my past is a mixture of shame and guilt, I'll tell you who I was, what I did, and the lessons I had to learn more than once. Since my first day of recovery, I have not found a problem or instance that I thought drinking and using would improve. I do not preach the virtues of sobriety I merely open my story as an example of what worked for me and offer it to you. But I am confident you will not think the same of the disease and the codependence of enablers once you have read my story.
The truth has set me free.