by Frank Deschamps
(Ottawa, Ontario Canada)
My name is Frank and I’m an alcoholic, among other things. My first drink was when I was 5 years old. I’ve been sober now for over 4 years and I’m 53 years old.
Just to give you an idea of my drinking and debauchery career. I say career because I really worked hard at ruining loved one’s lives as well as my own. My thinking was, “nobody knows my life and what I had to go through so I’m going to put them through what I went through, then maybe they’ll understand why I drink”.
I had a beautiful, loving and caring wife of 20+ years and 4 children. They all felt as if they were in prison when I drank, and rightly so. They couldn’t make a move without me controlling every aspect of their lives. I would start arguments with my wife so I could use that as an excuse to drink. I would use my own life story as an excuse to drink. Hell, I would drink just to celebrate that it was Tuesday. I would be drinking a beer and throwing it up in a separate glass and it was still cold so I drank that too. My family saw all of this and more. I would have blackouts and wake up covered in blood or come home bloodied up. My wife expected this but my kids were scared to death at the sight of me. When I wasn’t drinking they were afraid to approach me because they didn’t want to feel as if they were the next excuse I’d use to drink.
My first crack at AA didn’t turn out so well because I didn’t give it a chance. I would go to a meeting and use them as a reason to drink. I had just added yet another excuse to drink. Finally, when my wife and kids left for their own safety, I went to AA and stuck with it. I swallowed my pride, threw out my excuse book and went to 3 meetings a day for 5 months straight. I dove in head first and read the Big Book. I started the steps and got a sponsor that I felt (comfortable) with. I got into doing service work (making coffee, setting up for meetings and even chairing a few meetings). It felt good that people had seen the effort for me to stay sober and work the steps. I was given the keys to the church basement where we held our meetings. Imagine, (I said to myself) I was just trusted enough to have a key to the church. I must be on the road to reality and it feels pretty good.
I went from service work to actually speaking at several meetings and I feel brand new. I still attend and speak at meetings today. The 12 steps work but you have to accept and apply them. ALL OF THEM! My wife and I are best friends and my kids love me and I see them all the time. I now have 8 grandchildren and another one expected in August, 2017. 20 years ago if anyone had of told me that I was going to be this far in AA and sober for years, I would have asked them 2 questions:
1) What are you on? and
2) Do you have any more?
My life and the lives of the people I hurt through my drinking has changed for the better. I’m going to close now by honestly saying… “God, Thank you doesn’t cover it but Thank You anyway.” May God Bless you all.
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My new life
I stopped drinking 5 years ago and I will never go back!!!
I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. I have since settled in North Carolina. I have experience working with various stages of addiction, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, trauma, stages of life concerns and relationship concerns.
I tend to use a person-centered approach which simply means that I meet you where you are and work collaboratively to help you identify and work towards accomplishing goals. I will often pull from CBT when appropriate. I do encourage use of mindfulness and meditation and practice these skills in my own life. I believe in treating everyone with respect, sensitivity and compassion.
I recognize that reaching out for help is hard and commend you for taking the first step. We have professionals available who would be happy to help you move closer to reaching your goals related to your drinking concerns. You may reach these professionals by calling 877-322-2694.