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Substance Abuse

Returning Back to School


“Hi. My name is Bob and I’m an alcoholic.

As part of my journey of recovery I’ve been saying these words for over 20 years now (… but who’s counting, right?).

I grew up in a drinking culture. There wasn’t a lot of drunkenness, but there was always a lot of drinking. As an adult, I worked 25 years in a business that was steeped in a hard drinking tradition—the NFL. I was a high functioning drunk and fortunately had a relatively high bottom. After several failed attempts to control my drinking, my body finally had enough and blackouts began to occur ever more frequently, even after moderate amounts of alcohol. I entered rehab in January 1991.

Early in sobriety I was shocked to discover that most of my life was built around drinking. Sure, I knew that I used booze to celebrate wins and drown losses—and that would have to change. I also recognized that most business functions and all my social functions had plenty of alcohol available—and that would be a challenge. But what alarmed me the most was the realization that drinking was so pervasive in my life that I didn’t even know how to grill a hamburger without a beer in my hand. I must say that getting sober was the hardest thing I’ve ever done—but I have never regretted it for a moment.

After about a year, I lost my compulsion to drink. I continued to do well in my job and, being a curious fellow, became interested in the psychology of recovery—why do those silly sayings like “One day at a time” and “Take it easy” seem to work? This led to me pursuing a master’s in psychology in 1994. In 1996, however, my world was rocked. I was arbitrarily fired from my job of 20 years. Over the next several years my marriage of 30 years, which had become increasingly dysfunctional, ended in divorce. The 12-Steps and the “Rooms” sustained me as I entered my personal “dark night of the soul” for the next five years. But, because the 12 Steps taught me how to fearlessly self-examine, during this difficult time I was able to decide and define who I am today.

I can honestly say that the promise of the 12 Steps that in sobriety your life will exceed your wildest dreams has proven true for me—and I have always had very bold dreams! I now teach psychology at a small health sciences college in Virginia. I am both liked and respected by my colleagues and appreciated by my students. I am married (ten years) to a most wonderful woman who is not only my wife, but also my partner, my colleague, my lover, and my best friend. I live in constant gratitude for my life—especially my sobriety. While I cannot imagine life could be even better, I hold open the space knowing that it can!

Finally, I hope information and understanding obtained from this Registry can help more of the “sick and suffering” to recover so that they may, like me, thrive and flourish in sobriety.”

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