I am 40 years old, and I am alive. A year and a half ago, my life was in a very deplorable state. I am not looking for someone to blame, I am not complaining about my upbringing, environment, or circumstances. My absolute love of alcohol caused me to hit rock bottom.
In 17 years (before I came to rehab), I remember only six days when I didn’t drink. Alcoholism has led me to live in the Kyiv woods in a hut. I have a young son, but he doesn’t know me. My wife wants nothing to do with me. I had my own firm, a good profession, and a great job. Analyzing my life, I see that I always had opportunities to live normally! But I drank it all away. Friends, loved ones, family. I just couldn’t stop. But how innocuous it all started
when I was young; I liked hanging out with people older than me. I wasn’t interested in my peers. I was into music, and from 16, I started hanging out in these “creative circles. “We got together virtually every night, relaxed socializing, drinking, light drugs, interesting people… I quickly “grew accustomed” to this party. Now I understand that it was a gathering of alcoholics and drug addicts who loved to speculate on higher matters (in fairness, it is noteworthy that some of them still became good musicians, but this is the exception). At that point in my life, I felt significant, intelligent, and mature in that community. The only thing I learned there was that being tipsy was the norm of life. Drugs frightened me, and I saw and understood the consequences of using them. Everyday light alcohol seemed like a harmless prank compared to narcotics. How deluded I had been!
I was growing up. I got a well-paid job. I got a girlfriend. Then my boys and I opened our own firm. All this time, I continued to drink—little by little, but practically every day. Of course, it couldn’t go on like this all the time. Eventually, I started getting drunk. At some point, I stopped controlling the process. They asked me to leave the firm; I was setting a bad example. I broke up with my girlfriend. My pride was hurt that a specialist like me was out of work. At the time, I did not want to think that there was an objective reason for these consequences! It was easier to blame everyone and everything than to be honest and admit to myself that I should stop drinking. I had to stop drinking. Completely. But I wasn’t ready for that sacrifice.
As a result of all the turmoil, I lived for three years as if in a fog. My bruised ego, sense of worthlessness, and incredible arrogance threw me into a stupor. I reacted very painfully to reality. The only way I could cope with it was to get stupidly drunk. Sometimes binge drinking alternated with attempts to pull myself together. During such periods of enlightenment, I tried to work but did not stay anywhere for long; I snapped. Hard times, dark times.
Then I met the future mother of my child, Julia. I was offered an excellent job, and some money came in. I had a feeling of permissiveness, impunity, and complete control. Life was getting better! The only thing that didn’t change was my ritualistic liter of beer a day. Several years passed like that. Three painful years were wiped out of my memory without a trace, and I allowed myself to relax. The binge drinking started again. I lost my job.
There was a severe misunderstanding with my family. They began to tell me about my drinking problem openly, but I did not hear them. The birth of a child did not stop me either. At one point, Julia said it would be better if the child didn’t know his father at all! She didn’t want to see me again.
What happened next was terrible. I ended up in Kyiv, in a wooded area. My companion in misfortune (a local bum) and I built ourselves a tent there, draped an old mattress and a couple of rugs inside, and covered the outside with plastic sheeting: collected waste paper, PET, and metal. Furthermore, we climbed trash cans, which always had something to eat. We drank everything we could get away with. It was cold in the hut in the winter, so I often went to the church on Geroev Dnieper to get warm. I was never bothered there, it was warm, and they fed me. I liked it there. I do not remember exactly where from, but I heard there were rehabilitation centers somewhere. I didn’t understand what it was and asked the church to find out if such a center existed. They agreed to help me.
They found a free rehabilitation center for me in Makarov. They helped me get a chest X-ray and put me on a bus. I was driving along thinking – what kind of rehabilitation was waiting for me there?
At the center, I was met by a big man in boots and an overcoat. What do they feed them here? Then it turned out that it was the attendant of the center, and I was sinking. They were building something in the house. “That’s it,” the thought flashed through my mind, “I’m in the construction site of the century!” Just try not to get beaten up because I’ll unlikely escape. Of course, Misha (the rehabilitation leader) and I later laughed together about my first impressions, but I had no time for laughter at the time. The only thing that comforted me was that it was warm; most likely, they would feed me.
But then, things were not as I had imagined. I saw a completely different life. I saw respect, support, and genuine help. Many guys who had lived for years in a strong friendship with drugs and alcohol were learning to cope with their addictions together. They were just like me.
For the first time in years, I felt comfortable and at peace. I didn’t even realize the exact moment it happened. The resentment toward the world was gone. It was only now that I was beginning to admit that I was solely responsible for all the troubles in my life. I didn’t previously appreciate anything except alcohol. I began to think about the fact that there were so many others just like me and each of them needed help as well. I asked to stay at the center to help others, and they left me alone.
Now I dedicate every day of my life to the people who come to rehab. Ready to be a support to those who now still exist in their closed and selfish world, where addiction stupefies and puts themselves first. As I analyze my past life, I clearly understand that I could never have dreamt of living the way I do now. I am genuinely grateful to God and all those who helped me through rehab for what I have now – my sober state. I am learning to live again and enjoying the fact that I enjoy being sober!
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