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Putting Down the Bottle is Not Enough

On 12/19/2019


Given the life I’ve lived, you might expect something different, but my upbringing was not awful. My parents didn’t neglect me. We did normal things. For some reason, however, I always felt something was missing. From a young age, fears and doubts haunted me. I put on a facade to keep myself safe from discovery yet lived in fear that my imperfections would show. Then I met alcohol. With booze I had no worries of the future, no regrets about the past. For the first time in my life, I was able to be present and enjoy the moment. Alcohol seemed like the perfect solution to my problems! 

Living alone, there was no one to give me those familiar looks of disappointment. I was finally free to drink as much as I wanted!

Through the next 27 years and a series of failed relationships (including with the mothers of my three children) booze finally led me to a one-bedroom apartment in Hudson. Living alone, there was no one to give me those familiar looks of disappointment. I was finally free to drink as much as I wanted! Within a year, I had stopped going to work, lost my license, lost my car, and stopped taking my kids because they were a burden on my partying. I got evicted. Somewhere along the way I drained my 401k…I couldn’t tell you where that went.  

I decided to stop. Based on the fictional detoxes I saw on TV, I figured I could take some nausea and shakes. I’m sorry to tell you, but my detox was a lot more than nausea and shakes.  

Soon I couldn’t walk ten feet without falling. No problem, I thought — I’ll just crawl wherever I need to go.

I became delusional, hallucinating, having seizures. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep, and suffered nights barraged by negative self-talk. I remember crouching beside my bed, praying to go to sleep. Then one day my legs gave way. I hit my head on the bathroom sink and fell against the tub. I hoped it wouldn’t happen again, but it did. Soon I couldn’t walk ten feet without falling. No problem, I thought — I’ll just crawl wherever I need to go. And that’s what I did. Pretty soon I’d worn through all three layers of skin on my knees. 

An ambulance brought me to the hospital. They first treated my knees because they were seriously infected, then helped me relearn to walk. I was healing, physically but the staff couldn’t heal me mentally or emotionally because they didn’t treat alcoholism. The nurses tried multiple times to secure a place for me at Keystone Hall, but there were no vacancies. Then, on my last night before discharge, a nurse came running to tell me that a bed at Keystone had opened. This was the first time in my life I fell to my knees and began to cry.  

For every problem I had they found a solution. Keystone gave back everything I put into it.

I came into Keystone Hall void of all resistance and found that Keystone has more to offer than they could possibly advertise. They can’t list all the things they do for clients because everyone has different needs. What I know is that for every problem I had they found a solution. Keystone gave back everything I put into it.  

I did everything they told me to do including finding a sponsor and a program, mending my family relationships, creating a resume, finding a job, and slowly reintegrating back into the community. After graduating from Keystone Hall, staff helped me secure housing through Harbor Homes.  

Just putting down the drink and drugs is not the solution; learning a whole new way of life is.

What I’ve learned from all this is that “just putting down the drink and drugs” is not the solution. Learning a whole new way of life is, and that’s what I’ve done and am still doing, because life is nice enough to not be too consistent.  

One last thing – 2018 was by far the worst year of my life on so many levels, and if it wasn’t for the structure I’ve formed and the people I’ve met, I would have taken my life a couple of times. And now I work here. Full circle. And that was my main goal. I had other options, but I wanted to work here. This is where I can save lives.  

Please consider donating to Keystone Hall so that the other staff and I can keep teaching a new way of life, one client at a time. Thank you! 

Learn more about the various ways to donate here

 

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