Voices of Recovery — Courage to change came after childhood | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Voices of Recovery — Courage to change came after childhood

Tahoe Daily Tribune

My name is John. I’m a 48-year-old addict and alcoholic in recovery. When I was 11 years old two friends and I found three gallons of wine in a basement. For whatever reason we decided to drink some and chugging contest began, with me emerging victorious. The night ended with me being dragged home because I couldn’t walk. My friends left me on the back porch. When I tried to sneak past my dad who was asleep in his chair after his nightly martinis, I vomited everywhere. I made up a lie about riding a roller coaster at the amusement park, but I don’t think he believed me. I was very sick and swore that I would never do that again (have a wine chugging contest that is). I didn’t know at the time that I had triggered the disease of addiction that would only get worse over the next 26 years.

The following years included failure after failure in school, work, relationships with family, friends, landlords, etc. It got to the point that I had to move all the time because I couldn’t pay my rent. Then, I found myself living in a bush. It seemed that everyone on the planet knew how to be successful at life — except me. I felt lost, afraid and ashamed. I used more and more substances to try and hide from those feelings. I was still thinking of drugs and alcohol as “a solution to my problems” instead of the cause of them. I could never seem to get enough of them to forget about my sorry life.

At age 37 I entered a drug and alcohol treatment program for the first time. I mainly went into treatment to try and save my marriage. My wife had decided to get help for her drug problem. Treatment worked for her and she is still clean and sober to this day. I ended up participating in three programs that year. More than 10 years have passed now without the use of alcohol or drugs, since I surrendered to a program of recovery. I am willing to do whatever is necessary to stay clean and sober on a daily basis. I attend 12-step meetings regularly and I help others to recover. My wife and I will celebrate our 16th anniversary in March. We are now homeowners and productive members of society. I am no longer afraid or ashamed. I have found a new way to live and am excited about what the future holds. I have a new feeling of purpose and direction in my life that I never thought possible. Treatment works!

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol and/or drug addiction, we have have many treatment options available. Please give our hotline a call at (530) 541-5190. We are Sierra Recovery Center entreat you to have courage to change.

— John Wishard is an addict and alcoholic in recovery and is affiliated with the Sierra Recovery Center.