I grew up in Silver Springs, MD, the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and started drinking when I was 11 years old. I drank to "fit in" and to impress others. I had very good parents and a great childhood up until I thought I needed to change to get along with the many different types of personalities and groups of other classmates.
I started running away from home and skipping school for no other reason than the fact I did not feel like I belonged to any set of friends. The truth was that I was drinking more and more everyday, and could not function comfortably around anyone. I was hiding my drinking any way I could. Finally, at 15 years old I was drinking everyday and scared of what might happen to me, so I ran away from home for the last time, and hitchhiked to Texas where my family was from. I wanted to live there with my grandparents.
My folks had done nothing wrong and were at a loss as to what was wrong with me. They never knew I was stealing liquor from under their kitchen cabinets. I told them I just didn't like living in Maryland, and wanted to live in Texas – that would solve all my problems!
I soon found out what I had feared, I was an alcoholic. My folks drank everyday, but had no problem at all with their drinking. They never went out and never got plastered or even close to it. They drank responsibly.
After a couple of years of failing school, I dropped out and got married. The drinking went from bad to worse and after 25 years of hard drinking, 2 DWIs, and over a dozen P.I.s (public intoxication), I was given one last chance to sober up by a judge who said I was to attend a recovery support group for the next 3 months and then report back to him. I did as he said and quit drinking. When I went back to report to the judge, I was told that the judge who had sentenced me had just been "filling in" when I appeared before him, that he was retired and has not worked since that week. I call this my first miracle being sober.
Since then I have stayed sober and been involved in recovery service work. I went from trying to fit in, to not wanting to fit in, to wanting to fit in – sober, to getting others to fit in. The benefits I’ve encountered are that I still have my wife and family, and I am able to help family members and others find sobriety in a world that is not as bad as some of us once thought.
David M -- Comanche, TX