Meet Recovery Rockstar, Van

My name is Van, and I am an alcoholic. My sober date is 2/16/13. My original sober date was 3/2/93.

A little history: I have always been a hardcore introvert. In junior high and high school I didn't go on any dates or to any parties. I've never been comfortable around groups of people. Never touched drugs or alcohol either. I went to college in '84, went to my first party and got blinding drunk. I had the time of my life. It was the first time I was ever at ease, sociable, and happy around people. I loved it! I proceeded to binge drink my way through college.

After college I got a job in outside sales, and that was when I started drinking during the day. I got married in '90 and we moved to Chicago. By this time I was drinking in the morning and trying to maintain a certain level of buzz all day. It didn't always work. On March 2nd of '93 I was driving back from a sales call and passed out on the Kennedy expressway outside of Chicago. By some miracle I didn't hit any other cars. I hit a tree stump that stopped my car in the grass off of an exit ramp. Woke up in an ER with no injuries at all. I pulled out my iv and tried to walk out. A doctor stopped me and said if I tried it again she would catheterize me. She told me that my blood alcohol level was .32. I quit alcohol that day for 13 magical years.

We had 3 kids during my sobriety. I chose to be an at home dad when our first was born in '98. Fast forward to '06. I turned 40 and our youngest was starting preschool. I decided I was not an alcoholic and could drink responsibly. I hid a box of wine in the garage and a bottle of vodka in the basement, just in case. I knew that I would drink more than my wife would be comfortable with. But "I didn't have a problem" lol. I thought that I could control it better than I had in my twenties. I then spent the next 6 1/2 yrs drinking around the clock. Worse than before. I drank alone and completely isolated myself. Towards the end I was a physical wreck. Peeing blood, shaking, losing my memory. Waking up in pools of red vomit. High cholesterol, pre diabetic, elevated liver enzymes, etc. I couldn't hold a cup with only one hand, the shaking was so bad.

My wife finally said that I had to get help or she was divorcing me. I had tried over and over to quit. I knew that I was killing myself and destroying the lives of those I loved most. I enrolled in an outpatient rehab. I knew I couldn't do it alone so I started going to meetings every day. I got a sponsor, I did the steps, I did service work. I suddenly had a large group of people that I was accountable to. I opened myself up to people for the first time. I stopped isolating myself.

And I cleaned house. I decided that I was going to get my health in order. Worked out every day and ate 100% clean. The past 3 1/2 years have been incredible. I turned 50 over the summer and have never felt so healthy. Spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. My wife and I celebrated 25 years of marriage last year. I feel truly blessed.

If anyone asks me for advice, I tell them what has worked for me: trust god, clean house, help others. You are not alone!!! Ask for help!

AlcoholKevin ZurekComment