It is estimated that my last drug was near February 4th of 2013, at least that was when I was admitted to a hospital having attempted to cancel my life twice in the same day. Looking back at that brief time before my long hospital stay I did not know what was real and what was not. I was suffering from hallucinations and extreme paranoia. Now I can look back, I know I was not consciously trying to take my own life but sub-consciously I was; in fact I was going to unplug the pain, a pain so suffocating that it strangled my every breath. I needed restraints, I needed padded walls, I needed something to save me from myself. I needed the alcohol to let go its toxic grip but alcohol was not going without a fight.
I walked for hours, toes bleeding, limp proceeded. What time was it? Truth of the matter is, I had no idea what time, day or year it was. I had no idea who I was, I only knew that walking away to my own quiet peace was what I was doing.
Today, I am past 1 year of continued sobriety. I never thought I could do it but it took that last bottom, it took near death to realize life. Merely existing for 33 years was not much of an existence at all and the new chance at life was something I desperately wanted because I have never known life prior.
The first 30 days of this recovery was tremendously raw, nerves not being numbed by alcohol or pills, I was forced to feel emotion for the first time. I hated emotion, I drank to conceal them. I hated people, I popped pills to deal with them. I hated myself, I consumed both alcohol and pills to destroy myself. If anyone tried to stop me I turned into Mike D, an arrogant, conceded, manipulative monster who got what he wanted, when he wanted it, however he wanted it. This is one of the many alter egos that came with this mental disease of addiction. Alcohol and other drugs were just a symptom of my disease, a disease of the mind.
Knowing that addiction is a disease and an epidemic was not going to keep me sober another 30 days. I went to treatment (rehab) before and when I say it was the best thing that has ever happened to me is a complete understatement. I really believe treatment saved my life, it was substance abuse school in my estimation. I met others like me from all industries. I learned that this stigma, this epidemic they (mass media) have tried to push to us for years was bullshit. 150 other people at treatment was all I needed to form my own opinions of what addiction looks like. I met teachers, doctors, nurses, executives, police officers, musicians, athletes, and the list goes on and on to represent the world’s industries.
The problem I personally had with treatment was that I actually had to leave, how would I make it outside? How was I going to make it after being in an institution? I was never going to be able to handle life out there with the “normal people.”
Eventually I relapsed, so I suppose my point to continue is simply this… knowing about substance abuse was not going to keep me sober. I had to be willing to be sober and stay sober. I really had to want to be sober and I did this past time around. As I mentioned above, it took almost certain death to find life.
I could not get sober for anyone else except me. No amount of geographical location changes was going to make me feel better. No amount of attention from women was going to make me happy. Not even my newborn son could ultimately keep me sober. I had to want sobriety and it has been worth every 24 hour cycle I spend to work on this recovery of mine.
How I stay sober is day by day. I stay sober by a wonderful support group that I meet with on a regular basis. I stay sober by calling other addicts in recovery living in the solution and not the problem. I am finding it much easier to stay sober than to get sober. I am finally gaining trust back, I am beginning to gain my footing again in my career. I may be 33 years old but from my perspective I am just over 1 year old. I am just learning how to walk for the first time, I am learning how to talk for the first time, I am learning from these crazy things called “people.” My family (blood or not) have also been vital to my success from all of their support.
My best advice to anyone looking to live a sober life is to do what it takes in order to make changes. If this addict can do it, anyone can do it. If you want to learn more about the disease of addiction, I would highly recommend watching Pleasure Unwoven DVD by an addict and doctor, Dr. Kevin McCauley. It is great to not only watch by the addict but also by the family, afterall, the disease of addiction is a family disease.
My goal in year 2 is to continue to do everything I did in year 1 so that I can constantly remind myself that I am 1 drink or pill away from being a drunk addict again. I will continue to work today on my recovery. I will help lift up the rug from this stigma of addiction, for that I am not anonymous… I am Michael Dadourian and I am an addict in recovery.
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For more published blog entries on michaeldadourian.com as it pertains to addiction