Alcohol Abuse Starts Early in Life
Patrick grew up in a good home, with parents who loved and cared for him. He went to a good school where he did well and was involved in sports. But even with so many positive things in his life, he always felt like there was a void or hole that he needed to fill. He was plagued with self-entitlement, which he eventually addressed. This honest self-examination changed what path he was on.
Patrick was exposed to Alcohol when he was young, having his first drink when he was thirteen years old, and he was hooked right away. From then on, he continued to drink later than anyone else, often checking the liquor bottles to see if there was anything left. He couldn’t get enough alcohol.
When he entered high school, he started to use Cocaine and prescription Amphetamines. He developed some serious entitlement problems, which were only fueled by his parents. They supported him with all their might, but sometimes they overlooked the ways he was struggling and needed help.
Waking up in Treatment for Alcoholism
Being born on Saint Patrick’s Day, being named Patrick and very Irish, drinking easily became a part of Patrick’s identity. He still yearned to fill the void he felt in himself, though, and this drinking became out of control.
While drugs moved in and out of Patrick’s using, Alcohol was his go to substance. It seemed like it was always there for him when nothing else was. In his words, he became a ‘full blown alcoholic.’
He doesn’t remember exactly how he ended up in treatment for the first time. He was so intoxicated that all he remembers is telling his mother that he needed help. A few days later he woke up in an inpatient rehab treatment center. This was the beginning of his journey of recovery, but there was a long road ahead.
Relapsing with Alcohol Until Therapy Breakthrough
Patrick relapsed multiple times and was in and out of treatment for years. He would start to get his life back together, reconstructing things that he had lost, and then he would relapse again. The last time he relapsed, it only took five days for him to lose everything. He wound up hospitalized, in a coma with the Blood Alcohol Concentration of 5.83.
It was after this that he found himself in the same treatment center he had been in four times before. He was seeing the same therapist he had worked with all those times before, but something different happened. In one of their sessions, she told him to shut up and listen for a change. He was shocked and stormed out.
When he came back the next day and said that he wouldn’t improve if they were at each other’s throats, she agreed and said that he still needed to shut up and listen. This is what finally stuck with him— he realized that maybe he had been missing something, that maybe he should try to listen.
Developing Self-Awareness and Finding a Higher Power
Patrick got into a home group that, as luck may have it, aligned with this listening-first attitude. One of the rules was that you can’t share in the meeting at all until you’ve made your first amends, which is the ninth step.
He took pen to paper and wrote about every relationship in his life in which he felt resentment, which was about seventy percent of all his relationships. He relinquished his pride and inhibitions and started to do the work, turning himself over to a higher power.
In doing this, he began to uncover patterns in his own behavior and feelings. Patrick developed his self-awareness, realizing some of the reasons for those behaviors and feelings. Now, he has accepted that a higher power is at work, beyond his own individual will.
He came to realize that he confused his own sensitivities from past experiences with malice, when others weren’t doing anything of offence. His embrace of a higher power helps him to accept these feelings and sensitivities, instead of ruminating.
Fulfillment Without Drugs and Alcohol
Patrick is coming up on five years sober now and he has finally filled his void. The void was a lack of purpose and Alcohol was filling it, but now he has found purpose in helping others.
For years and years, he didn’t like the word ‘potential’ because his potential was never fulfilled. In recovery, Patrick has let go of his want to control and put his trust in a higher power. He holds himself accountable and faces himself honestly. He makes himself available to help others. Through these things, Patrick finally feels like he is fulfilling his potential.
If you feel a void inside, like Patrick did, and you have been using substances to fill it, you can find fulfillment too. You are not alone; there are many people who want to help you and tons of resources available. Call (866)578-7471 to speak with someone who can help.