Lost

When you face addiction head on, you may get support from those you love and that love you back. However, addiction is a monster that even those facing it, don’t truly understand. Your cravings come and go. Anytime and anywhere, you can be faced with such a mountain of urges and feelings that it is hard to know which path will lead you back into the “light” so to say.

When discussing addiction, mental health is synonymous with facing it. I work in the healthcare industry, however, I have little faith in healthcare altogether. People who suffer from severe mental health crisis, very rarely get the opportunity to receive the help they so desperately need. It’s a battle between “should we force people to get help” or should we “educate those that need help to seek it out”. Part of me for a long time thought, “if it’s obvious that someone is a danger to themselves and in an altered mental state, we should force them to get treatment by whatever means necessary”. That brings on a complicated issue. Who determines the “obvious”. Are parents allowed to lock up their children thinking they are “helping”? Are spouses able to force their significant others into mandatory rehab? How is it determined that human rights are not being violated?

Therein lies the problem. Those with mental health issues, have to seek help out themselves. Yes, they can be coerced by loved ones and qualified medical personnel, but ultimately they have to make the choice to seek assistance. This is problematic for me because when someone is in an “altered” state of mind, they are lost. A persons thoughts become their own worst enemy. While searching for an answer or a way out, it starts to become more and more clear… your way out is to end your malicious thoughts once and for all.

I want to make one thing clear. I AM NOT SUICIDAL. I am talking about people who suffer from mental health issues in general. Suicide is much bigger in our society than we all think. The sad part is, people who aren’t affected directly by it don’t really pay much attention to this issue.

Last week I lost a cousin who was troubled to suicide. I don’t blame anyone in particular, just the system as a whole. This person was clearly troubled and even ended up getting in trouble with the law. From what I know, rather than being given treatment and a rigorous course of mental therapy, they were dragged through the legal system for almost a year and treated as a criminal first, mental health crisis second. Well after this person appeared in court multiple times and still did not really get an answer or ending to their criminal charges, they ended up taking their life.

This is such a tragic end to someone I have quite fond memories with growing up together. My only wish is that they are no longer suffering the harmful thoughts they had while still on this earth.

The mental health crisis needs reevaluating. I am unsure of what steps need to be taken, but I am positive that there are certain steps that need to be taken today. If you see someone struggling, reach out. If they push you away, push back. Give those you love an extra strong hug today. Tomorrow is never promised. I love you all. Thank you.

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Role models and the impact they have on my life.

A positive role model can take many forms. With the simple task of sending someone a card, you can alter ones perspective on life.

So it has been a few days since I started this blog. Today marks 1 week alcohol free. It may seem like a small milestone, but nonetheless it is an achievement. Since I shared this blog, not only myself, but my wife as well, have received a ton of support and well wishes. Today I would like to write about role models.

Throughout my schooling, (grade school through high school) I have had many positive influences in my life. I was the target of bullying. I have always been a bigger guy and I don’t necessarily conform to the typical “male” persona. I am not ragging on the male gender as a whole, but social standards have always put males as the “strong silent” type. I happened to grow up full of emotions and I was never ashamed of showing those emotions. When I was sad, I cried. When I wanted to explain my feelings, I talked about them. This caused a bit of ridicule from my fellow classmates. I wasn’t really big in the “popular” crowd so to say, but people knew who I was.

In High school I was nominated for Prom court, which blew my mind. I honestly didn’t think that many people knew me. In a school of over 1400 students, enough of them knew me to say I should be there. I played a few sports and sang in choir. My extra curricular activities were not super plentiful. Where I found one of my life’s passions was in choir.

While in choir I made many friends. I was so passionate about singing. I never really pushed myself in my academics, but with choir, I strived for excellence. There was a reason for this. Not only was I truly in love with singing, but my director played a huge role in my success. He was a man who took the time to make sure his students were on the right path. He was encouraging, thoughtful, and a person I always looked up to (he still is). He helped shape me into who I am today. For that, I can never thank him enough.

I lost touch with him over the years, but as fate would have it, I happened to run into him 15 years after I graduated. What made this so memorable, is even though we hadn’t seen each other in over 15 years, he spotted me from a distance and called me over. We talked about choir and how life was going. He still has that same honest and heartfelt interest in how I was doing. He read my first blog post and even though so much time has passed, he took time out of his busy life to send me a card.

The words on this card mean more to me than I can even begin to explain.

Role models in my life have always left such a huge impact on me. As I write this blog, with tears in my eyes, I cannot express how much this means to me. So I say to whomever reads this post, focus on the role models in your life. Surround yourself with positive ones. You’ll be better for it. Thank you.

My Current Position

This will be a longer post as it is my first. Today is the day that I decided to blog. It’s different for me because I have never really shared any of this with the public. Only those closest to me know what has truly been going on in my life.

Today marks day 3 of being sober. I’ve been attempting sobriety for almost 3 months now. In that time I have actually had 3 relapses (my latest being August 6, 2019. I have been lying to my friends and family about my use. Attempting to go at this on my own. I know now that it takes a community of support and well minded people to help with this very common struggle.

On June 10th, 2019 I started going to an Intensive outpatient program through a local psychiatric hospital. It was 3 hours a day and 3 days a week. I met many people who were facing similar struggles and some who were even more severe. Through this program I’ve learned coping mechanisms and helpful tools to work at staving off the cruel world that is addiction.

I used to think I drank for many reasons. Celebrations, mournings, parties, and social gatherings. Yes, these are a few of the most common places for consumption, but what I didn’t realize is the factor that I was always the one who drank “the most”. It usually ended with those I care about having to take care of me and make sure I got home safe even though I argued that I was fine (if I was still coherent enough to argue). Drinking to me was like “turning off” for the night. Pushing today’s troubles to tomorrow. Only to have those troubles pile up as I kept pushing them further and further down the timeline by continually drinking.

My fear ran rampant along with my anxiety. What if I was only fun to be around while intoxicated? What if I wasn’t the outgoing crazy guy who would do anything for a laugh? Would people still like me if they knew the real me? Well in truth, I didn’t even know the real me. I had been drinking for so long it had become second nature. Going out? Let’s drink. Playing games? Drink. Playing sports? Will there be alcohol?… etc. my life revolved around when I could have my next drink. So much so that when I found myself with no one to drink with, I would just drink alone.

In 2012 my friends told me to stop drinking and I argued. They even got me home safe but I wanted to drink so badly that I decided to get in my vehicle and drive to a bar. Well there I ran into my current girlfriend and she was hanging out with her ex boyfriend. This fired me up and of course, I answered it with more drinking and decided to be reckless and drive home. I was pulled over and given a dui. Rather than admit to myself I had a problem and call someone for help, I spent the night in jail to sober up. The very next day, I got another bottle and continued to drink my “problems” away.

Alcoholism is a very real disease and it affects many many people. So here is the beginning of my journey. My path forward will be a sober one. A brighter one, and a healthier one. I do hope anyone who reads this continues to follow my path to recovery. I sincerely hope that anyone who may be struggling with addiction, whether it be alcohol or anything else, will reach out to loved ones for help. I am also hear for anyone who needs to talk. I love you all, see you at my next post. Thanks!

About Me

Hello, my name is Andrew but I go by Andy. I am currently 33 years old (almost 34). I graduated high school and joined the Navy where I served for 6 years. I’ve been all over the Middle East while doing two deployments. After the navy I came back to Wisconsin where I met my wife Sarah. We moved to Iowa for 3 years while she worked on her PhD in education. After that we moved back to Wisconsin where we now reside. I am currently employed at a hospital where I fix medical equipment. We have 2 sons, Ben (3) and Will (2). We also have two dogs Penny and Copper. We live in a beautiful house at the end of a cul-de-sac with a large fenced in backyard. I am starting to blog in hopes that there are people out there that share my experiences and struggles through life. I will be touching base on marital issues and resolutions, child raising, addiction, and overall life experiences. I hope you enjoy what I share and feel compelled to discuss in the comment section. I will be active and respond whenever I can. Thank you for taking time out of your busy lives to listen and read about what I think and feel. Have a pleasant day.