Two years later….

May 1 of 2009 a lot of things changed.

When I woke up that morning, my family didn’t realize the extent of my drinking problem and I had a job as a teacher.

By midnight both facts had changed.

It was inevitable by that point, I just didn’t know it.  My body was crashing.  I’d had more alcohol than my system could process.  My judgement was gone.  I wasn’t thinking straight and about a month earlier the events that would end my employment had been set in motion.

What does it take for an alcoholic to get help?  Where is “rock bottom” and once you reach it will you stop or just figure out a way to break rocks and get even lower?  I don’t remember much about that week.  From about Wednesday on I only recall bits and pieces and frankly I don’t know what order to put them in.

I remember waking up on Friday, taking a drink, walking downstairs to say goodbye to my father who was heading back home that morning and then the next thing I recall I was sitting on the end of a table in the emergency room trying to convince the doctor that my 4.2 blood alcohol level was the result of having taken cough medicine.

I was on my way to N.C. so that my family could try and figure out how to help me when I got the call from my dean that I needed to come in and talk with him.  My job was gone before I could get out of town and then a night of the worst detox I’ve ever been through began.

It’s two years later now.  In that time I had a bout where I was drinking again.  I went to a 7 month rehab program.  I spent a year working in food service and fought depression and despondence.  I’ve had dark days and days of hope.

Today, I’m happy.  My family and friends rallied around me.  I’ve fought my way back to a job that I love and it looks like this year, even more than 2009 was a year of negative change, it will be a year of life changing events that are positive.

So, tomorrow begins another year.  This last one, while less traumatic than the one before has been just as full of the unexpected.  The opportunities for joy and defeat were there.  God saw fit to grant me grace and victory in most cases.

The biggest difference between this and last year?  Last year I was wrestling with the idea of cosmic irony and expecting little from life.  This year, it’s about hope and new opportunities.

My thoughts this year:  If you know someone who you think needs help.  Stop waiting and get that process moving.  If you suspect that you are in trouble….well if you think that about yourself…others have probably noticed a long time ago.

If you find yourself doing an internet search on the warning signs of alcoholism and then ignoring it because you only have 6 out of 10…. you are in real trouble.

It’s not worth the wait…It’s not worth your so called pride.  Make the move.  Recovery is possible.  No matter what you think you’ll have to give up to get better…you can do it.  Don’t let a job, fear of what people will say or concern about separation from your family and friends during the process stop you.  All of that is able to be restored.

Now is the day to get help or start offering help.  Regrets are inevitable.  Don’t let the regret for not getting or offering help in time be one of yours.

    • Roxanne
    • May 1st, 2011

    Thanks for sharing and so glad you are on the right track!!

  1. Joel, I’m delighted to hear that life is turning around for you. I have no doubt that the opportunities you envision will in fact develop and that you will be successful in both seizing and maintaining them. Welcome back!
    Peace & song,

    • Alex
    • May 14th, 2011

    Hey, remember me from Panaera….Anyways I hope your broadcasting gig is going well……Regards

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