Thomas: Is Alcohol Self Medication Normal?
Self-Medicating with Alcohol
As a young boy, Thomas turned to unhealthy behaviors to cope and began self-medicating with Alcohol. He was born in Korea and adopted by a white American family; nevertheless, he was raised in what seemed like a normal household.
His adopted mother was emotionally and physically abusive, leaving him with emotional scars. His adopted father was a military man, meaning the family frequently relocated and his father was out for long periods of time.
Thomas was always trying to fit in; he was the class clown and would to give everyone a good laugh. Moreover, he struggled to identify with his peers and his family because of his race and being adopted.
He remembers drinking Alcohol for the first time in grade school and immediately liking the feeling it gave him. Thomas felt that everything he was good at got better when he was under the influence and he became dependent on Alcohol to feel happy.
Frat House Drug Abuse
Thomas experimented with drugs and Alcohol in high school—he felt like the life of the party. When he went off to college, he began to throw house parties every night, using illegal drugs like Cocaine, LSD and Marijuana.
He joined a fraternity which gave him the perfect excuse to party every weekend. Thomas barely graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree.
Still feeling unfulfilled and looking for a career that would give his ego and his pocketbook a boost, Thomas went back to college for a master’s degree in human resources.
After receiving his master’s degree, he began earning a lot of money by working at a big firm; however, he felt like a fraud. His colleagues went to bigger and better schools, which left him feeling like the odd one out.
Thomas began seeking out escorts to mask the deep insecurity he felt. After several years in living in Los Angeles, California, he moved back to Wisconsin.
When he returned to Wisconsin, he met a ‘working girl’ who introduced him to using Crack Cocaine. This would be the turning point in his life that took him down a long and dark road in addiction.
Results of Smoking Crack
Thomas recalls not knowing what the substance was, but saying that “I’ll try anything once.” After that first hit, he was addicted to Crack Cocaine, he was hooked.
One night he found himself sitting in his Mercedes Benz in a McDonald’s parking lot, cooking his drugs in a spoon, out in the open. At that point, he was on the brink of losing everything, having already lost himself.
He was convinced that he could master the drug but soon learned that Crack had mastered him.
He was consumed with guilt and shame, trying every day not to use Crack. Nevertheless, he found himself skipping work and calling his drug-dealer.
With the inability to stop on his own and being confronted with the hollow shell of who he had become, Thomas reached out for help and went to residential drug treatment for the first time.
Psychological Effects of Drugs
Thomas spent the next 12 years unable to maintain sobriety for longer than a few months at a time. His health declined, which left him hospitalized on a number of occasions.
He had lost it all: the house, the job, and the car. Facing a DWI and a charge for soliciting prostitution, Thomas’ self-worth declined even further; he felt as if anyone could look up his record and see who he had become.
A deep sense of shame and worthlessness washed over him. Unfortunately, he hit an even lower point: he attempted suicide and was put under psychiatric evaluation for nine days before going home.
Unable to end his life quickly, he bought a staggering amount of vodka with the intention to drink himself to death.
After three days of intense drinking, his roommates contacted a treatment helpline and reached out to his family. They coordinated a family intervention with the help of the intake coordinator at a treatment center.
His addiction to drugs and alcohol brought him to his knees and, ready to accept help, he became willing to travel to another state and begin treatment once again.
Is Addiction Recovery Possible?
After several relapses and seemingly failed attempts to stop his addiction, Thomas came to find that recovery is possible. His first go-around, he completed 92 days of inpatient treatment—the longest amount of sobriety he ever had.
He says that against everything he had just learned in treatment, he threw it all out the window to get loaded. After nine days Thomas found himself without his car, his job and with nowhere to go. He cites the thought that took him back out:
“You’ve been sober for 92 days bro, you deserve a break, you deserve a celebration.”
In defeat, he checked himself back into the same inpatient addiction treatment center for another 45 days. This time, though, he was consumed with reservations.
Equipped with financial resources, Thomas had a big, enjoyable relapse planned in his head. Leaving treatment against medical advice, he took another dive into drug and alcohol abuse.
Thomas goes on to say that it’ll never be like it once was. He will always be chasing that first high and convincing himself that after a little bit of clean time, he can control his using. Thomas realized that addiction will always bring him to his knees—it will always rob him of his job, his car, his friends and his sense of self.
Higher Power in Recovery
For Thomas, what ended the cycle of relapse was realizing that his life had very little meaning in active addiction. He was emotionally, physically and spiritually bankrupt.
He hadn’t experienced enough clean time to see how much more fulfilling his life could be in recovery. Knowing the love and support he gained in recovery made using drugs and Alcohol emptier than it had ever been.
In defeat, Thomas walked back into the rooms of a 12-step program and has not relapsed since. Thomas now has 6 months clean—the longest amount of time he has ever put together.
Thomas lives in a sober living environment and is active in a 12-step program. He has a sponsor, attends meetings and has completed the 12-steps for the first time.
He credits his relationship with his higher power and practicing self-love and self-acceptance for his success in recovery. He’s feeling good about himself and has found his purpose working in the field of drug treatment.
His new focus in life is how he can help others; he has let go of all desires for power, money, and prestige. He provides hope to others who are where he once was, finally feeling like he has a true sense of belonging.
Are you or someone you love hurting from drug and alcohol addiction?
If the answer is yes, there is help available from people who understand. Fight back against the odd and get support in overcoming substance abuse and addiction, contact us at (866)-578-7471.