My name is Jeff Bertolet and I’m an alcoholic and a drug addict in recovery for the past 5 1/2 years. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming, to make sure this is really me and actually my life. You see I have this alcoholism, the disease of alcoholism, and with that an allergy to booze and drugs. Once I start I can’t stop.
This Alcoholic & Drug Addict Is Telling It Like It Is
When I’m not in recovery I think about alcohol all day long consciously and/or subconsciously. A little over 5 years ago the end result of 25 years of active alcohol and drug abuse had me hopeless, friendless, squatting in a house with no heat or fridge, unemployable, strung out on heroin and stealing beer every day as soon as the store opened in the morning. And hating myself and wanting to die.
My children were all living away from me and I couldn’t take care of myself or them. 25 years of my disease progressing and this is where it took me. Now I’m sure most people reading this might say “whoa I’m not THAT bad maybe I’m ok”. Well I wasn’t THAT bad either.
Until I was.
I started out just like most kids do. I was actually the good looking, smart, popular, good athlete, lucky gifted kid coming out of 8th grade. Voted either best looking or most popular I can’t remember which….but the point is I had it all going on and was just a happy, lucky kid with a bright future.
Alcohol and drugs turned that bright future into years of settling for less, blown opportunities, a “hole in my soul”, treating myself and those I loved horribly and finally a lonely despair I can hardly describe with words.
Why didn’t I just get clean and sober a long time ago?!?
Well I tried. I tried for 12 years and several rehabs. But not hard enough. I didn’t believe sobriety was worth having. I thought it would suck and be boring and I wouldn’t be myself and I’d have to hang around a bunch of teetotalers with no lives. Plus I thought It was impossible and a waste of time to even try.
Until I got sick and tired of being sick and tired.
And scared my kids would end up hating me and that I’d continue to let them down. So I tried again. And this time I gave it time and I did what I was told in rehab. And I reached out and I asked for help and I made sober friends and I started seeing “sober dividends” really quickly.
My family liked me again, my kids were proud of me and the look in their eyes told me they loved me 100x more sober. We laughed and I made amends and I went back to work and then I got married to an amazing woman who’s never been arrested!!
Wha wha what?!?!
I have self esteem again and I’m healthy and consistently happier than I’ve ever been. I can look myself in the mirror and not want to smash the image looking back at me. That hole in my soul is FULL now of love and empathy and hope and dreams.
THIS. This life on life’s terms and being accountable and responsible and not wanted by the law (haha) and an example to my children and a good dad and son and husband and brother. This is what sobriety is to me. This is the greatest gift I’ve ever received and it’s your’s for the taking as well.
It’s not easy. It’s like loosing your best friend (who’s actually your worst enemy but you don’t know that) it takes time and is uncomfortable in the beginning. And you CAN’T do it alone. And you DON’T have to. sobbah’s bettah and its TOTALLY possible!!!
Sober doesn’t Suck! is a safe place for people to share their stories of being an alcoholic, addiction and recovery openly and honestly. There is no requirement of sobriety for posting, if you’re concerned about your using I want to hear from you too.
I recently received the following article from my friend Jeff. I’m honored to share his story, hoping someone will find comfort, tools and hope in it.
If you’d like to tell your story, your feelings about your own addiction or that of someone else in your life please head over to the Sober doesn’t Suck! page. Addiction affects the people around us, I’m interested in sharing all sides.