One of my first story submissions was from Kyle Whisman, a fellow recovery blogger. I feel guilty because I promised him well over a month ago to post his story, and then what happened? Life! So I give you, in his words, the biggest accomplishments he's found in sobriety (congrats, sir!). Originally posted on Kyle's own blog; minor edits by yours truly (signed off by Mr. Whisman, of course.)
Sober For Two Years
Today marks a really eventful day in my sobriety, two years ago today, I made the call and checked into rehab. I was a lost soul, dependent on the bottle to survive every day and eventually the bottle was going to put me in the grave. I was a bar fly, a regular, known as a drunk and did all the wrongs someone in that condition would do. I work every day to be a better person in my recovery.
I am a day counter, look at my Sobriety Calculator on my phone to count the days, every morning; it just works for me.
I like to reflect on these big accomplishments and how my life has changed so much for the better.
1) Communication- I can actually carry on a normal, non-emotional conversation with others at any time in the day. I am now such a deep thinker, reader, writer all while keeping a clear head and my emotions in check.
2) My Kids- Although they never really said it to me, my alcoholism hurt them in so many ways. The lies, half-truths, lack of sober parenting skills and parade of drunk women hurt them. Now our relationship is great, I answer their calls, promptly return their texts, we do simple things together and they don't worry about Dad. They are 18 and 17 now, one going to college in the fall and I am so proud they are mine.
3) Finances- Having a second home in Las Vegas has its challenges and I drunk gambled away a lot of money. Yes, I still bet sports a bit and maybe some video poker, but within reason. It’s amazing when you don't have a bar tab or wadded up ATM receipts everyday how much money you can save. I have a finance background and at the end was spending over $10,000 a year on bar tabs, what a waste.
4) Relationships - I finally met someone and got engaged back in February. She is my best friend, my rock and soul mate. We do great fun things together that do not involve alcohol. She attends AlAnon to gain a better understanding of both herself and me.
5) Stress- I drank I thought to eliminate business and personal stress, really I have learned I drank due to my disease and all the different stuff in my brain. I no longer have stress. A perfect example is my upcoming marriage; I am inheriting a 17 and 12 year old and 3 dogs. If you knew me, you would think that would stress me out. It doesn't plain and simple
6) Alcohol- I absolutely hate it and admit I still loved it when I first left rehab. I have no desire to drink and the sight of drunks just makes me sick. It brings out all sorts of emotions, including guilt, pain, stupidity on my part etc. I have my escape plans always at the ready because sometimes I have to go to events and drunks are there. I am now early to attend and early to leave. I have drawn a line in the sand and my friend group has changed from drunks to either those in recovery [who] respect my recovery or those who can drink normally.
7) Health- Checked into rehab with a blood pressure of 182/128, sweating and shaking, probably near a stroke or heart attack. I had the night sweats most every night and people noticed I had the shakes all the time. My health quickly returned to normal. BP, Heart, etc. all are now good to go. Two years later I still shake occasionally, especially if I have caffeine, shows you how messed up I was.
Thanks for letting me share. For those of you who are new to recovery or struggling, I wish you the best and you can do this!