Meet Recovery Rockstar, Mark

My name is Mark and I am am alcoholic. I am sober by the grace of God and the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous since my very first meeting: January 31,1987. For this, I am extremely grateful. I have been doubly blessed with long term sobriety and with having been beaten down so very low that I was willing to embrace sobriety. I got sober when I was 27 after drinking (and dabbling in drugs) heavily for about thirteen years.

NOTE-Everything I am about to say is just reporting. I have worked through it all and quit blaming others or "it" (whatever it was) a very long time ago.....

I had been drinking before the heavy period and had my first drink around the age of five or six. I remember mixing a whiskey and coke (and being very careful to not alter the coke color too much) at my "uncle's" (actually my father's uncle) during a family party/get together. In reality, these were drunk fests that always ended in very angry arguments with us (my direct family) not having anything to do with "them." All would be forgiven by the next "get together" but it would always end the same and "alliances" shifted often.

Up until my heavy period, I would sneak booze here and there either at these family gatherings or from my father's liquor cabinet. My brother and I (mostly me) would get into the cabinet and take some booze. After awhile, my father started marking the bottles and eventually start initialing the marks. To counteract these measures, we (again mostly me) moved the marks, refilled the bottles with water and forged the initials. Surprisingly, nothing ever came of these capers. I was never sure why and still don't know.

Moving on (and for the rest of this extremely shortened version of my story to make sense), I must digress. As a boy, I was massively depressed and had my first nervous breakdown at the age of five (and was put on tranquilizers). I had my first suicidal thoughts at the age of seven and tried to break into my father's gun cabinet.

I spent my childhood convinced I was unloved, probably adopted, maybe an alien and with never ending thoughts of wanting to escape. There isn't time (nor the space here) to go into all of the "gory" details here. Suffice it to say, I spent my childhood depressed, miserable, angry, and/or resentful.

I had a massive hole, unknown to me at the time, inside of me that I would come to fill with large quantities of booze and the occasional drugs. For most of my drinking (with the exception of the last three years-most particularly the last six months), I had no idea I was self medicating. I didn't think I had a problem and hid behind the euphemism: I'm just partying." In reality, I didn't have severe consequences and could laugh off all of my "troubles."

I drank like this for years and eventually became homeless (the last two and a half years). I was living in my car and I once again hit that point where I wanted to end it all (too many times to count). I was about to slash my wrists when I realized I couldn't do it. Rather than being grateful, I took it as the ultimate failure. I said out loud: "you can't even kill yourself!" Then after about twenty minutes of pure agony, I again said out loud to a God I didn't even believe in: "God if you even exist and can hear me, if you put me back in the real world, I'll try to play the game by the rules!"

By the grace of God (and a ton of work on my part), I have been sober since that very moment. It is now (as of this writing) an event that took place a couple months shy of thirty years ago. For that, I am forever grateful. It's been a long journey with every kind of real life situation, moment and emotion.

Being sober a very long time has not excused me from problems, trying situations and/or difficult times. Don't get me wrong, I have also had numerous incredible and miraculous ones as well. What long term sobriety has given me is the ability to deal with either on an extremely easier, by far less emotional and/or egotistical way.

My apologies for such a condensed version of my story. Almost thirty years of recovery (and the twenty seven that preceded it are virtually impossible to relate in one writing, one AA talk or any face to face interaction. To combat this dilemma (and to spread my experiences further), I have started to write them down.

I have started an account on Twitter where you can currently find (it will expand) 100+ of my sobriety suggestions, thoughts and/or serenity micro poems. In addition, I will be starting work soon on my memoirs. In it,  you will find much more of my experiences and (mis)adventures both pre and post recovery.

Feel free to follow and ask me any question via DM on Twitter @gotsober1987

PLEASE-NO @ MESSAGES...I'm going to keep the timeline clear for easier access.

Blessings to you on your recovery and journey!