Meet Recovery Rockstar, Kyle

I'm Kyle and I'm an alcoholic. I've been sober since April 28th 2006. I'm 31 years young as we speak. I grew up in a somewhat "normal" home. I had/have an alcoholic father that was very abusive towards my mother. My mom left with me when I was 3 years old. I was lucky I didn't remember most of what went on but I remember things that happened growing up leading to my first drink. I was living with my mom and stepfather in Canmore, ab, Canada and my real dad was supposed to have me every other weekend. Usually he wouldn't show up because he was so drunk he forgot. This went on for years and years.

When I was about 12, myself and a kid from down the street found my mom’s stash of homemade coolers in 2 liter pop bottles. We took a couple and went out to the woods were we usually spent our time. I remember like it was yesterday. Soon as we cracked those open and took the first few sips it was amazing.  I loved the burning feeling I got in my stomach.  After we polished off both bottles I remember starting to feel funny and boy was it a good funny. I biked home fast as I could and went right to my room it was pretty early too (haha) like 4 or 5 pm. I was blown away by what the alcohol did to me and loved the feeling. Luckily I never touched it again after that, at least for a couple years.

My parents and I lived in Cochrane, a small town about 20 mins outside Calgary, ab. I was 14 years old and scared to start a new school but was also excited because I was bullied back in Canmore. I met a few people that smoked pot my age and I started to dabble with that a bit because that's what the "cool" kids were doing and I wanted to be cool. Booze also resurface, so I started drinking again. Once the alcohol grabbed me, it was hard to let go.

I got kicked out of one high school, then I was kicked out of my mom and stepdad’s house for not obeying them and coming home drunk all the time at the age of 15. I had to live with one of my teachers for a while and then I was kicked out of the other high school for drinking moonshine, go figure. I moved to Calgary shortly after that and thought I could start over again. I was living with my dad and stepmom while my dad worked overseas. On his days off I was his drinking buddy which I loved. Going to pubs with him hanging with bikers, I thought I was on top of the world. I started to dabble in harder drugs now like cocaine and crack along with the liquor.

I was turning into an animal.  No one wanted to be around me! I didn't care if I made new friends because I lost them, but made new ones again, easily. Midway through grade 12 I was a full blown alcoholic and drug addict. I made a big mistake and beat up the "wrong" guy who had an older brother that knew some people. I ended up having to leave high school, escorted by the police to my apartment that I lived at with my dad. I was pretty much told to watch my back and be careful. WTF? Why are the cops telling me this?

I decided to drink more and more. By this time, I didn't care anymore. I actually graduated high school which amazes, but I had teachers that liked me and saw potential, which was what I think helped. Once I was done with school my best friend from Canmore moved to Calgary and we went crazy! We partied and putting ourselves in some really shitty situations. We always came out unscathed, fortunately. We started running drugs for a high ranking gang member back then. Not sure where he is now nor do I care. We were his mule bringing drugs and money from the big city to smaller towns. This lasted a little while.

Everything was spiraling downhill now I was pawning things to get money to drink and do drugs. I had no care for anything but my addiction. I had a steady girlfriend at this time whom I thought I loved but brought her down with me. My best friend’s dad was in AA at the time, 20 years sober. I thought I would always call him crying saying I wanted to quit, but I never did though… yet haha. I kept punishing myself and the people around me. There were many days I woke up begging God to not let me die because I was so sick. I overdosed on crack cocaine around this time and had to be revived at the hospital. When I got out I went back to drinking right away. Insane?!... I’d say so. I overdosed again a few months later and came out and went back drinking. I knew I had a problem! I was different from the people I knew. I tried to quit for my family, for my girlfriend, I tried treatment and all types of things but nothing worked.

I had a few more close calls after trying to get sober. One day I remember going to my friend’s dad and telling him I needed to come to a meeting with him. He took me on a Thursday and that night I went on a bender until Sunday. My best friend gave me 3 beers to take home to my girlfriend’s mom’s house where I was living.  After she went to bed, I chugged the first two beers and cracked the 3rd I drank about half. I remember like it was yesterday. A lightbulb went on and I thought to myself, “What the fuck am I doing? I'm going to be dead soon.” A month earlier my doctor told me my liver was starting to shut down and that if I kept doing drugs my heart would most likely stop one day. I was 21. I put that half beer down and didn't finish it which was crazy because I always finished. This was February 19th 2006. I dabbled with weed for a while hence my sobriety date is April 28th. It was all or nothing for me.

I've been going to meetings on a weekly basis (AA) for over the last ten years. This is what keeps me sober. I do my steps, reach out to others in there. I do the service work that is the program of AA. Is it for everyone?  No.  But it sure as shit saved my life and for that I will be ever grateful. Especially since nothing worked until I found AA.

In the last ten years life hasn't been perfect.  I got married, I have two gorgeous children right now. But things still happen even when I’m sober. I'm at the beginning of a divorce from my wife but I've been given the tools from AA to live a happy and sober life and to deal with this shit without picking up a drink. We aren't perfect, we are allowed to make mistakes. As long as we don't pick up that drink, we will be ok. “If you have one foot in the past, and one in the future, you’re pissing on the present." We only have today. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff. If i could say anything to someone struggling with any addiction, I’d let them know that there is hope and there is help, just pick up that phone. I guarantee if you want it bad enough, it will work. Love and tolerance is our code!