I needed liquor to survive, yet it was killing me

I was 18 years old when I took my first sip of alcohol.  I hated it.  What I did like however, was the feeling of being accepted by my friends.  I had arrived.  The answer to my loneliness and self- loathing, was finally revealed to me: Alcohol.  It fixed everything for me and I was finally, a part of something.  For over 15 years, I searched for that feeling, having both good times and bad.  Eventually, the good times that were had while drinking faded and alcohol turned on me. By that time it was too late. I needed liquor to survive, yet it was killing me. My family and friends are loving and supportive people and I used them to get what I needed.  Lying and manipulating were the tools I used to get what I wanted at any cost.  I thought I was fooling everyone but actually, I was fooling myself for the day came when all of my resources to get drunk had dried up.  I was alone with no money, friends, or a place to live.  I wandered the cold and dark streets of Chicago desperately seeking anything that would give me the means to cure the dismal state of mind and body that I was in.  Nothing seemed to work.  Things were even worse than they were when I started drinking at age 18.  Broke, homeless and out of resources I had hit bottom. On May 9, 2011, I walked into the doors of Bridge House.  I was a broken man.  I had spent most of my adult life in active addiction. Hopeless, had become a normal state, for me. It took many poor decisions, missed opportunities, broken relationships and scrapes with law enforcement for me to realize that I was doing this thing called living, all wrong. I was eager at the opportunity to have a better life.  I was more than willing to listen and take the steps needed for me to regain happiness and peace.  I was not willing, however, to get sober.  My very first counselor at Bridge House explained to me that in order to achieve happiness and peace, I had to get sober.  It was at that point that I realized, for the first time, that I was an alcoholic.  What a relief that revelation brought to me.  On that Monday morning, my journey to a new life began. I was given opportunities to work on discipline, to have respect, and to be honest.  I learned how to form relationships with people and to accept life as it came.  More importantly, Bridge House required that I begin a 12 step program to learn how live this life as a sober man, successfully. My life today is better than it has ever been.  The happiness and peace that had eluded me for so long, now exists.  I live a life that is dedicated to helping others and being of service to mankind.  I have a relationship with a power greater than myself which solves all my problems. I have been a grateful, sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous for over three years now. I am forever indebted to Bridge House and I spend much of my time giving back to a place that welcomed me and gave me a hand when I could not help myself.  Although I am years removed from Bridge House as a client, it still plays a vital part in my recovery.  Every time I share my story with a guy who is there, it helps me.  Every time I work with another man living at Bridge House, I take out a little more insurance on my own sobriety. Mike B.

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