My name is Troy and I am an alcoholic. On May 5th, 2018 I celebrated 3 years of sobriety and, for me, this was no easy task. I had never been able to put together any significant time without those demons calling me back into the bottle. It is a time to reflect, though, on not just how hard it was to get here but what it was like before. I have made most of the amends I can, save one, my son. Kind of hard to make amends when you don’t really have any significant contact. It wasn’t always like this.
My son was born in January of 2001 to my wife and me in Cheyenne, Wyoming. My life was, at the time, what I would call “functional.” I was a drinker for sure, but I convinced myself it was under control. The night my wife gave birth I was out drinking at a bar I managed (yea I know, let an alcoholic run a bar, great idea!) and I rushed to the hospital. I was terrified. I looked at that boy and said to myself, “I will be a good dad.” He was a smart little boy and as he grew I saw more and more of me in him. At two, he figured out that if he waited for me to fall asleep he could change the remote and watch whatever he wanted. I would have never found out except daycare called me in one day saying that my little boy was cursing at school. I wondered, “Where did he learn that word?” It was the BAD one, you know which one. Anyway, I went in to the center and he was standing on a chair with a plastic golf club pointing it at the ground saying, “F&#*ing rats!” It was later when I caught him changing Finding Nemo to Bad Boys 2, I figured out where he got it from. Smart kid.
My wife and I had divorced and had a traditional custody agreement. The time I was with him was fun and such an adventure. Those days were always full of, “One more daddy!” One more book, one more movie, one push on the swing, or one more shoulder ride. I loved the ‘one more shoulder ride’ and I can still hear his little giggle as we ran around the house; “Just one more daddy!”
Soon though, that little voice of my son was replaced by a darker one. See, my addiction had found a voice and it too said “one more.” One more drink, one more high, one more late night; and I listened. I was in and out of my son’s life at this point and not all of it was bad but I was, to say the least, unreliable. At one point when he was 12 I was able to put some time together and get the chance to see him again, but see I never solved my problem with that other voice and it creeped back in. Cunning and powerful it whispered, “You can drink one more time, you can handle it.” I couldn’t, so after several troubling years and my second divorce, I gave up and came to Transformations.
In the program I work we talk about one day at a time, and I have done my best to practice this for the last three years. I fall short every day but I keep fighting. It is in the moment that the dark voice has no power. Surrounded by a great support network, I keep it up every day. I go to bed and breathe, thinking, “I didn’t drink today. It was a good day.”
My son is 17 now and rightfully wants little to do with me these days. I got an email at Christmas and again for his birthday and I count those as gifts. I can’t change the actions of my past but I can live right today. I think about that kiddo every day and I pray that he doesn’t have the same demon whispering to him in the future. So I continue every day trying to do the next right thing and keeping it simple. On days that are tougher, I think I can hear that little boy whisper to me, “One more daddy!” and I know I can make it one more day. One day at a time.