As a young man, I grew up in lower income project housing 15 miles south of Los Angeles. I grew up with a loving mother and an alcoholic father. At the age 17 I left the house to live amongst roommates, trying to put my childhood behind me. Due to living with an alcoholic father, I wouldn’t even think about touching alcohol. I was ashamed of this man and wanted to be nothing like him. At the age of 19, I joined the United States Marine Corps and found myself stationed in 29 Palms. One day after work my roommate at the time in the barracks asked me to go get a 40 oz. with him. I told him I do not even know what you are talking about as he laughed and told me it was beer. I told him I never drank a sip of beer in my life as he laughed.
So off we went to the local PX on base picking up two forty ounces of beer. We went back to the barracks and drank the nasty beer. I thought how can anyone drink this stuff? As the night went on I got over the taste of beer we decided to go get another one. This was the start of my alcoholic career. I enjoyed alcohol so much I was drinking every day after work and this is when alcohol became a problem. I got caught for alcohol in the barracks and started to pay the price for alcohol. I was up for military office hours with a 29 day restriction to base.
Most people would be upset about the restrictions, but I really didn’t care because I was still able to drink. As my Marine Corp career came to an abrupt end due to a training accident, I found myself out of the Corps with no solid plan. My plan was to get drunk every day and forget about my childhood. Fast forward 25 years. I was married to a good woman and had two girls that I loved dearly. Before you knew it I was looking at my third DUI and a divorce from my wife. Coming off another binge I told myself if I ever drank again, that I would go to drug and alcohol treatment. I submitted myself to a 30 day stay at a popular alcohol treatment facility in Palm Springs, CA. I left the treatment center after 6 days, thinking I now have everything under control. I could not have been further from the truth. As the years keep going, more alcohol trouble set in.
Fast forward a couple more years and I became out of control. It took a Veteran court judge to see right through me. He let me know that I needed to be in an extensive alcohol treatment program or I was going to jail. I didn’t want to go to jail, so I signed up for this drug and alcohol outpatient program at one of the local VA hospitals. This program was designed for veterans and allowed me to get to the bottom of why I drank. At first, I hated this program. After about six months into the program, I started to like the program and started taking it very serious. I found out one of the reasons I drank was my childhood with my father. I got to work through that process and learned to forgive and love that man today. I learned that my father was just an “alcoholic” and that I was just like him, drinking the same drink as he did.
Once I graduated from the program I started to look into helping other veterans or people that have drug and addiction problems. I worked as a drug and alcohol counselor as I started my way back to school. As I sit and write this today with tears in my eyes, I have come full circle. I am one year from graduating with my BA long with graduated from CCAPP drug and alcohol school and other certifications. Today I look at 4 years of sobriety and the desire to help others. As I was learning to stay sober one day at a time, I started to scuba dive with a veteran origination called WAVES. I use scuba diving and the ocean to relax my mind and body as I take in the awesome underworld of the ocean. I so enjoy scuba diving and I believe it helps with my recovery I started a dive group just for people in recovery. Come be a part of this awesome group.