Meet Recovery Rockstar, Dave

I was 6 years old when my uncle gave me his beer to try. I, unlike most 6 years old didn’t spit it out right away. I had at least three or four good chugs of it. Who would’ve known 29 years later I’d be on the brink of suicide and ready to throw my life away? 

Over the course of my teens through adult life I self medicated my depression with alcohol, drugs and women. I had nothing to be depressed about most of the time; I was just a depressed person. I’m sure there was some type of chemical imbalances in my head (mostly due to the amount of drug use).  In high school I started out drinking at parties and graduated to having adults buy me alcohol and stashing it away in the house. After a while alcohol stopped giving me the desired results. I began smoking marijuana and drinking and that seemed to help me forget about my depression. When that stopped working and I got depressed I turned to punching things, anything really; lockers, walls, an algebra book for 5 straight hours, or even a 2X4 wrapped in rope (I saw this in a Steven Segal movie).

              Even marijuana and alcohol, and punching things stopped working. I was angry and depressed almost all day everyday. I hid it from my friends and family most of the time. When they would notice my anger or that I seemed upset I’d make up some BS story, yell at them and run to my bedroom and hide. They hardly ever came to see what was wrong, which I don’t blame them at all. I mean I was a teen and had anger issues, what teen didn’t?

              I can remember the first time I started cutting. I was a sophomore in high school and my cousin had just committed suicide. I sat in my room and cried, listening to Metallica’s “ONE” over and over for hours. I changed the light bulb in my bedroom to red and just sat there staring at it. I took a few hits off my Mountain Dew pop can turned bowl and I don’t really know why but I took out my pocketknife and started cutting the word “DIE” in my ankle. I’ve never experienced such a feeling as that, no amount of marijuana or alcohol could ever give me that feeling of release. I felt that I was cutting the pain out of my body. As I watched the blood drip down my leg I started to feel less pain, I felt numb. I locked my door and finished the small amount of marijuana I had and fell asleep on the floor listening to that same song over and over. I felt fine for a few days, no anger, and no depression. It was as if somehow I was normal now. That feeling didn’t last long and I began cutting random lines and circles in my legs, ankles, and calves and pretty much anywhere I could hide it from everyone.

              As all things with self-medicating, this too wore off. About then I met a friend who sold ACID, I figured I’d tried everything else so far why not this. I dabbled in this for a while. My normal regiment daily was smoke a bowl, drink some alcohol/beer and drop some ACID and that was all before school started.

              After high school my main drug of choice was alcohol/beer and cutting. I continued to cut up until right after my married years. So real time today it has been about 10 years since I last cut or burned myself (on purpose that is).

              Skipping ahead to the night I quit. If you want to know more of the story feel free to check out my book “Dave’s Not Here” (on Amazon) where I talk all about these and more stories in greater detail. Around Father’s Day 2014, I had been on a two-day drinking binge, depressed, confused and angry about my life. My wife cheated on me, I got divorced, lost my job, lost my house and was in love with a beautiful woman and I loved another woman’s child. I’ve always wanted to be a father, the woman I dated who had the child and I broke up a year or so before this two day drink-a-thon. But I still loved and missed her child. I wanted to be with the woman I loved and yet still having the child in my life. I couldn’t figure out a way to do that and instead of being Adult about it and talking to everyone involved I choose to drink and ignore the issue. That night (the second night) I decided in a drunken, angry, depressed state to end it all. I wrote a note on my laptop, took a bunch of pills and set out on a farewell tour. I stopped by my close friends and my sister’s house before ending up in a bar for a few hours. By the time I got to the bar I was so drunk I had no idea where I was, where I had been and what day it was let alone be able to function enough to drive home. I ended up getting arrested for issues not important at this point in the story.

              I got home several hours later and talked and cried to Joy (the beautiful woman). I decided that night I was done drinking because I had never acted this way before, and I had never been arrested before. A few days into my sobriety I was messing around on my laptop and found my suicide note. It shook me to the core. I barely remember bits and pieces from the night I stopped drinking and I certainly did not remember writing this.

              I went to a twelve-step meeting and felt like I was at home and I belonged. I went week after week waiting for my first 30-day chip. Before I got my chip one night, they asked me to chair the meeting. I was nervous and proud at the same time. After the meeting was over, a man who has a lot of years of sobriety told me. “Young man, for not even a full 30 days into the program. You sir have got it! You need to talk and share more.”  I went home and told Joy what he said, and at that moment I decided to write a book of my struggles. I wanted to tell the world what I had done and been through and how I survived it. I wanted to give hope and a sense of peace to the people who still struggle with alcohol, drugs or depression.

              Today I have a great job, great woman, amazing friends and family. I published my first book, working on my second (hoping to be done by October 2016) and going to school to become a Drug/Alcohol counselor. All my life I searched for happiness and until I found sobriety I never knew what it was I truly was searching for. For me happiness is being sober, loving and helping others and doing the next right thing.

              I owe my life, my happiness, my sobriety and joy to my family and friends who stood by me all my life, the band Blue October and most importantly my (now) fiancé Joy. Without all these wonderful people in my life I couldn’t fight this and be so victorious over it. If you know anyone who struggles with alcohol, addiction, or depression please have them read my book it may help. If you want to know more about what an alcoholic, addict, depressed person thinks during their worst days read my book. It’s not a cure-all be-all book but I think it will definitely be worth your time and you might just learn something.