Guest Post: Letting the Pieces Fit
Today’s guest author is Mark Goodson who is a sober father, teacher, writer and blogger. He took his last drink on October 13th, 2007 and his last drug not long before that. His habit nearly killed him. In fact, at the end, he found himself in Mexico staring death in the face.
In his blog, Man in Recovery, he writes about his experience, which has been more than just not drinking. It has been a spiritual journey into what really matters in life! This is his story:
Letting the Pieces Fit
by Mark Goodson
I had every privilege you can imagine growing up. My family is well-off. I had a great education, was pushed to excel by teachers, coaches, and most importantly–family.
Yet there always felt like something was missing. Something never clicked for me the way it clicked for others. I watched people often, and tried to imagine what was going through their minds; how did they just live so effortlessly? I questioned everything I said or did. At worst, it was a paralyzing social anxiety that turned me into a wallflower, or a mere observer of my own life. The best way I can convey the feeling is that I was watching the movie of my life, I never lived it.
Alcohol changed all that. Worry and concern melted away. I felt a part of. I felt a sense of belonging. This was ‘the mark’ I always tried to hit. To feel good about who I am. To feel like that puzzle piece who found the right grooves and snapped into place.
The only problem was, I kept getting in trouble. The cops kept picking me up as a minor for public intoxication and drunken vandalism. I was always the one in the group who was too drunk to hear the sirens. I once refused to abandon a keg in an open field as cops arrived, clinging to it like a life-preserver.
For every time I got in trouble, I felt an urge to balance it out with some achievement. I worked hard in school, and on the playing fields. I always wanted to be able to point to my name in the paper on the “Principal’s list” so people wouldn’t hassle me when they turned the page and found my name in the police report.
I learned to put up the front that I was O.K.
The ‘work hard, play hard’ lifestyle escalated in college. I played harder, and had to work harder to manage my life. I was also introduced to all sorts of drugs that expanded my ability to fit in. Alcohol was no longer sufficient to feel whole.
My first year out of college was when I hit bottom and took, I pray, my last drink. My need to keep up appearances had morphed into a round-the-clock drinking and drugging habit. I prescribed myself with whatever I needed to get through the day. I stopped sleeping. Cyclic drug abuse took over: a drink to stop shaking, a toke to calm anxiety, a bump to look alert.
I wound up in Mexico during my final bender in what doctor’s would diagnose as a “drug-induced psychosis.” I stripped naked and was hollering about the end of the world. I thought the Apocalypse had come. And it did. The world, as I knew it was over. I new life was about to begin.
A friend of mine drove me to a San Diego psychiatric facility and my sobriety began. I learned early on that by admitting I am an alcoholic, I feel right-sized. My edges smooth and fit in perfectly to the puzzle of the universe. I’ve blogged about this in further detail on my site.
The strength of that feeling has been diluted in my eight years clean and sober, in the family I started, and the job I have held down, and the house I bought. But I must never forget that all of the good things in my life are a result of me accepting the fact that I am an alcoholic and an addict. When I can truly admit this to my inner-most self, anything is possible.
I invite anybody to join me in the journey at www.markgoodson.com.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with alcohol addiction, please click the Find Support link for an extensive list of support groups. Also please check out the links to many useful resources in the sidebar, and always feel free to contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.