As this is Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 6-October 12) and addiction and substance abuse are a part of mental health, I wanted to share something here that I shared publicly on Facebook for the first time last month during National Sober Day.
I don’t talk about it much, but alcoholism runs deep in my veins, much like it did my father who was an abusive alcoholic when I was a child. There was once a time when I could and would drink you under the table. The hard stuff was like water in my system. I loved the taste of it and the burn as it went down. But no longer.
All of that changed for me when I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure in December 2008. The condition and treatments made it imperative that I give up those vices. And my diagnosis came 7 months after my father died of a massive heart attack. Yet another way in which I did not want to be like him. So, I chose life and sobriety.
It hasn’t been easy fighting those urges that are ingrained in me. I’ve lost friends, have been left out, and often feel like the odd man out at gatherings because I don’t drink, but my life and wellbeing are worth the struggle. I have no issues with those who do drink, it’s just not for me anymore.
December 29, 2019 will mark 11 years for me.
If you’re on the path of sobriety, I commend you and support your efforts. Keep going and know that you’re not alone.