Steve's Story: Alcohol is Killing Me
Alcohol has been my companion for the best part of 20 years now. My relationship with alcohol started off as a casual fling, like it does with most people I guess. Purely recreational, to make meeting friends after work, dinner parties and weekend barbecues more enjoyable.
I was during this period lucky enough to meet and fall in love with the most amazing woman and have two beautiful children. It felt like life couldn't get much better. Alcohol however continued to be my constant companion through all of this, but always manageable I felt, even if my wife thought I didn't need to drink as much as I did.
My father was an alcoholic and I was always very aware of how that effected our family. My parents ultimately divorced because of that and growing up in an alcoholic household affected both my sister and I deeply. My father ended up dying 10 years ago due to an alcohol induced stroke at the age of 52 and that really shook me up.
So even though I've always liked to drink, I tried to be careful about not going over the 'edge' if you know what I mean.
About 7 years into my marriage, things started to get a little rocky. I guess that happens at some point in most relationships. You probably take each other a little for granted and don't put in the effort you should.
My wife and I started fighting more. She felt I wasn't paying her enough attention. I felt she was nagging unnecessarily. And so things continued on a slippery slope for the next couple of years. Regular fights mixed with the odd period of calm in-between.
I just ended up drinking more, but still figured I had things under control and always thought that somehow things between my wife and I would eventually work out because I did still love her. Looking back now, why I thought that I don't know because I wasn't making any effort to improve things between us.
Then the bombshell hit. I can still remember the day clear as night. I got home from work one day and my wife had her suitcase packed and said she was leaving me - and taking the kids with her. She'd met someone else. Apparently she'd been having an affair for the last 6 months already.
At first I begged her to stay. Promised I would try harder and make more effort. She said it was too late. Didn't love me anymore. And then I got angry. Said I would fight her for the kids and make sure she got as little as possible from a divorce.
It got ugly and got to the point where we couldn't even speak to each other except through our lawyers. God, what this must've done to the kids I don't know, and I'll carry that guilt with me forever.
She got custody of course and I would have the kids one night during the week and every other weekend, with the provision that my drinking remain under control.
But something inside me during this period just died. Alcohol became my best friend, my comfort, to help ease the pain. A 'few' drinks everyday became a bottle. And over the last 5 years as a result my life has become a living hell.
My kids wanted to stop seeing me because I had just become a drunk in their eyes. That's probably been the most painful thing I've ever had to deal with. You'd think that would motivate me to sort myself out, but I just don't have the strength.
I guess they just got sick of the dad that always disappointed them because he was too drunk to see them. For every week I was sober enough to see them, I'd miss three because I was drunk. Eventually my ex-wife said enough, 'until you sober up, I won't let you see the kids.' I knew she was right.
I've reached the point now where I know alcohol is actually killing me.
My doctor says I've damaged my liver pretty bad and that if I don't stop soon, I could up like my father.
I do try and stop sometimes and get through a week or two without having a drink, but 'something' always draws me back. I know I should try and get help, but I'm not sure rehab or anything like that is for me.
Maybe I just don't have the will to live anymore. I know I should because of the kids, but I just don't know how I'm going to get myself out of this. It feels like alcohol will probably kill me like it did my dad. Maybe that's also my destiny?