Fear And Loathing In Corporate Alcoholism: A Weird Drunken Tale of #Addiction #Rehab & #Recovery
Updated: Sep 14, 2019
A Series: PART 1/4 - "The Drunken Years"
Follow The Links To:
You Are Here Part 1 "The Drunken Years"
Read Part 2 "The Prescription Pill Addict Next Door"
Read Part 3 "An Almost Famous Chicken Named Woop"
They say "When the going got weirder, go to REHAB",
But first I need another drink, another drug, and another new car!
~Cow Hood Ornament Not Included
"I am not sure but I think it was somewhat tied to a DUI, the kidnapping of innocent farm animals and a totaled BMW. But, you know, the way I saw it was... no big deal. I don't need to go to REHAB?"
‘Sober Living House’ huh?!
That’s what they were saying six and a half years ago as I was ready to leave treatment.
“You don’t understand”, I said, “I have a home, a wife, a decent piece of land, bills to be paid and I’m SELF EMPLOYED. Like, really! I have clients paying good money for the design work I do & they’ll be expecting me back to work”! I just needed to get this stuff out of my system and now get things back to ‘normal’. That was the thinking.
Honestly, I knew I was a wreck. I’d been through the total blur of detox and made it through six or seven weeks at a treatment center and deep inside I knew I couldn’t think my way out of a box. I was pretty sure I didn’t need to go back home in this shape, but an extended sober living house?! No way! How wrong I was. I wouldn’t have made it without it.
I’d been through a 28 day program before. Of course, that was twenty years ago, included the ‘Xanax cure’ and was mostly just to ‘fix’ my constant drinking. It was somewhat tied to a DUI and a wreck where I’d totaled my BMW, broken my pelvis and basically made a mess of things for a while. But, you know, the way I saw it was, “You play, you pay” ... no big deal.
We have the craziest ways of justifying our behavior. So learning about the disease, its progression, and all the science I got in that treatment center worked, for a while. But I never felt happy, joyous & free, like they talked about in the meetings. Eventually, I decided, if I worked as hard at limiting how much I drink as I worked at not drinking at all, I should be fine. That worked too, for a while! It started with two or three a night, pretty quickly turned to a six pack, then a little vodka for a kick, and within nine months or so it was bad! The benzos and the alcohol mixed together turned into some pretty sloppy adventures. Some admittedly fun and humorous and some that simply do not make for good telling. Talking with old friends always leads to,
"Man, you remember that time you ..... ". Y'all know how it goes. Sometimes you remember and some you don't.
I’d always been pretty successful at everything I did. Growing up, failure was not an option. I made Eagle Scout, got a job early, bought a car as quickly as possible and never considered not succeeding along the way. It was never discussed. You did your stuff, things worked out and you reaped the benefits. Those who didn’t have anything or struggled in life, in one way or another, just made some bad decisions along the way. That’s what I was taught. I do remember some uneasiness, especially in crowds, and very early learned that most anything out of ordinary would fix it. Very young it was loud, obnoxious, disruptive behavior. By age 11 or 12 it was any drink I could sneak from my folks or a joint with the guys in the neighborhood. That continued to progress, adding new and wonderful colorful and exciting substances all through school.
After college and a few jobs I had made it to Senior Designer for a multi-billion dollar corporation. During the aforementioned dry spell, after the 28 day program, I was recruited to be Manager and Creative Director for an even larger company. I was making big money, had plenty of talent working under me, traveling around the country and participating in seriously high powered meetings. I’d get drunk enough each night to limp through the next day, often having a couple vodka & tonics at lunch to settle down enough to make it until five o’clock. Some days were tougher than others, but for the most part, I did a pretty damn good job.
My team and I were cranking the work out, making the company money and even winning some awards along the way. So, eventually the really big dogs come into my office, closed the door and said, “Look, we love what you do, we appreciate your work and your team ... but you obviously have a drinking problem, we want to send you to treatment ... and we’ll pay for it”. Uhhhh, “I don’t need that! I went through a treatment center a few years back. I know what they say. I watched all their videos, learned all the stuff, sort of got a sponsor and even worked the steps I thought were right for me! It doesn’t work”!
I’m a creative type. Always have been. I drank, smoked weed and did dope all through high school and college and even managed pretty decent grades. I need a little escape. Every great creative mind throughout time has had a little substance abuse problem of some sort, right? It frees the mind and allows me to loosen up and be a better me. During that thought process I totally forgot how miserable I felt every single morning. How I swore each day I was going home that night and get a full night’s sleep. And then how, those same nights, I’d stop by one place to have a few beers and go home ... but after those few beers I’d stop by just one more place for a liquor drink and end up in a dart tournament, chasing some gal, shooting pool, or simply sitting at the bar at ‘last call’, drunk as a skunk ... over and over again!
How some of us would decide to have drinks after work every so often and I’d have to get there early to pound a few down so I could be ‘normal’ when the crowd showed up. How I finally just decided that alcohol was completely legal, really nothing wrong with it at all, and I was just one of those who ‘needed a few drinks’ to settle down and make my brain work right.
I was making plenty of money so that part wasn’t a big deal. But somewhere deep inside, I knew this kind of drinking wasn’t right. It didn’t seem right that the thought of getting tanked that night was often the single thing that got me out of bed in the morning. And the idea of being able to really pour it on, all weekend long, was a lot of what got me through the week. That obsession of knowing that no matter how bad I might feel at any particular time would go away just as soon as I had the chance to get a few drinks in me instantly settled me down. But the biggest problem of it all is that I could not stop at those few drinks! They always meant a few more drinks and they always ended the same ... drunk. Then the hangover the next day and the whole cycle would start over again ... day after day after day!
So, while I knew in my heart I probably really did need some help, I knew a treatment program they were offering wasn’t the way to go. How embarrassing ... the Creative Director being sent off to treatment. Ha! It was 2001, my work was superb, I was 40 years old, dating the woman I would eventually marry, plus I had been through treatment at the age of 30 ... no way! They offered a very nice ‘walking package’ and said I could resign with no consequences. I thought, I can combine this walking money with money I had saved, plus cash from my generous stock option package and open my own damn business ... so I did. Now I was free to do as I please! Pick the clients I work with, charge as much as I could get ... and drink whenever I wanted. I sort of knew I had a problem but at the same time, I knew that problem was also my answer. It allowed me to forget all the madness in the world, drop my anger at life and totally focus on the project at hand. I had already bought a beautiful house, on a hillside, with a creek below on eight acres of land. I totally tricked out one of the bedrooms into a creative workspace, had room in the basement for big sized projects, had business cards printed and I was ready. It was the perfect setting to do some serious creative work. Along with some serious drinking and no one to bother me. I’d been the Creative Director for this huge company so the business came easy. Of course every business around wanted some of whatever secret magic I could work for their company to make them more successful and plenty of money! I’d manage through a meeting with clients, amaze them with a napkin style drawing of what I thought may work for them and typically walk out the door with that project in the bag. Of course I’d stop off at one of the nicer bars to celebrate my victory. I was so cocky I’d save the receipts and claim them as business expenses on my taxes at the end of the year.
The next morning I’d get up when I wanted, have a couple cups of coffee and then straight into the bloody marys. After a few of those, all loosened up, I’d normally call my newest client and babble about the ideas for their project that came to me in the drunken stupor the night before. It was almost as if my clients new I was a drunk and were perfectly okay with it. As time went on my drunken life was more and more apparent. Eventually I’d walk into morning meetings with a big V-8 container turned into a stout bloody mary. In the afternoons it would be some generic container filled to the rim with vodka and tonic. This went on for a few years! My business growing more and more. At the same time, the drinking was becoming sloppier and the hangovers way worse. The girlfriend started nagging about my constant drunkenness and I even had to start hiding booze all over the house ... from her and myself. I’d picked up a few DUI’s over the years and didn’t need any more. On the often occasion when I was far too drunk to drive, I’d grovel all around the house and find a bottle or twelve pack I’d stashed from sight to hold me over until the next day.
Eventually the shaking set in, along with that awful gag reflex with the first few sips in the morning, not knowing whether it was going to stay down or not. The misery was growing and my work began to suffer.
I became unreliable on my business meetings, deadlines and nearly everything else I did and said. It got to where I had about four hours of functioning a day. Somewhere after choking down those first few drinks in the morning, often with a straw because of the shaking, I’d change over and have a few beers around 10 am to officially make it ‘daytime’. After those few beers I’d seem to gain some sanity. I had about a two hour window to get some work done, make some phone calls that made sense to the client, and to sort out the blackout from the night before. Then I’d force myself to eat a little lunch and inevitably pass out on the sofa. I’d wake up an hour or two later, get back in the beer, then the vodka tonics and find two more hours of reasonable clarity in the late afternoon, before total oblivion again. It was bad ... and I knew it! It had gotten to where I wouldn’t even get drunk anymore. I just kind of chased the total craziness away enough to function a bit. A good long day & I could finish off a half gallon of vodka and a case of beer and not even be falling down drunk ... just kind of ‘He’s had a few too many’ kind of drunk. And I’m not a big guy. I just had a hell of a tolerance. It was time to do something drastic. And little did I know, my troubles were getting ready to go from bad to worse.
-By An Anonymous Arch Recovery Alumni
Next PART 2 >>>> "The Prescription Pill Addict Next Door"
Follow The Links To:
Read Part 1 "The Drunken Years"
Read Part 2 "The Prescription Pill Addict Next Door"
Read Part 3 "An Almost Famous Chicken Named Woop"
The purpose of the composition is not to romanticize substance abuse, but rather give an unfiltered look inside the mind of a person in
the cusp of chemical addiction and how they "recovered" and live a happy, free and cool life today.
If you are politically correct, have heart problems, jaded, overly cynical, lack a sense of humor, or do not understand
the therapeutic value of laughter in recovery, this article may not be right for you.
Through reading this "four part series" we hope you are able to gain a better insight into the following:
• Why some people habitually abuse drugs and alcohol
• The sometimes slow, sometimes quick progression of addiction
• How a family intervention helped get this person into a treatment
• What addiction recovery really looks like
• What it really takes to recover from addiction
• What long-term remission from addiction “recovered” may look like
• Most importantly we intend to share a message of hope to you the reader
We hope you find the following content as useful and entertaining as the cow did.
No farm animals were harmed during the production of this blog.
About The Anonymous Author:
This man was by far one of the sickest men we have ever witnessed here at ARCH, who paradoxically became
one of the biggest miracles of restored health and sanity we have had the privilege to witness over the years.
He is one of the coolest guys I know and has logged over 2,372 days of continuous sobriety
Thank You ~ARCH Recovery - Statesboro, GA
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