By Bill I., Transformations Alumnus
Hello, my name Bill and I’m an alcoholic. I started drinking regularly at the age of 13. Before I started drinking I viewed myself as a loser and was never really good at anything; mediocre at best. I was full of fear and self-doubt. I was bullied in school and was made fun of by older kids and that did nothing but make me recede into myself further. When I was introduced to alcohol, my whole outlook on life changed. I was no longer a loser and I felt like I had self-confidence. I could relax around people and no longer feel like a target. I stood up for myself.
I made it through high school up until I got expelled in my junior year. I moved out of my parents’ house and went to Baltimore, Maryland, where I got a job working construction. I was good at what I did and was promoted very quickly. At age 19 I had my own company truck and a 4-man crew working under me. I went to St.Louis, Missouri, and was there until Christmas of 1984. We were getting ready to take Christmas break and we went to work on a Wednesday but it rained the night before so I told the guys we couldn’t work and had them all come to my place for some beer and cocktails. Around noon, one of the guys needed to leave so I offered him a ride. Big mistake!! On our way to his house, I was flying down a service road, I came to a knoll in the road and as soon as I ripped it, there was a car at the stop sign and I couldn’t slow down fast enough. I swerved to miss her and as I swerved she proceeded to turn and I T-boned her, hitting her driver’s side door at 70mph; she had her 13-year-old son in the car with her. That lady was Norma Rae Wilkins. She was 43 years old, had three children and a husband who loved her. She died at the scene of the accident. I was in a blackout and don’t remember much of that day, but I remember the crash like it was yesterday. When I was in the holding cell it finally hit me and if I ever needed a drink, it was then.
I told you that to tell you this; at that time and for many years later, I didn’t think I was an alcoholic. More about alcohol in the Big Book talks about all the ways we tried to control our drinking. I’ve tried countless times with no permanent solution; 14 rehabs, 13 1/2 years in prison and I still wasn’t broken yet.
When I got to Transformations I thought I was done. I did the PHP and outpatient programs there and I relocated to Florida. The thing was, I failed to grow spiritually. I failed to go on with the 12 steps. I had no solution. After a few months of no solution in my life, I resorted to what I know works. You see, my mind was screaming and I couldn’t shut it off. So I started drinking again, and while it only lasted a few days, I was immediately homeless. The alcohol stopped working so I went to my other go-to drug which was heroin and I overdosed. I woke up in Bethesda Hospital very ungrateful. I tried another halfway for a few months and I was doing alright. I still didn’t expand my spiritual growth and relapsed again on a flight back home to Pennsylvania.
I drank and did my thing like everything was good but deep down I knew, the seed was planted. I moved back in with my parents because that’s what all 52-year-old alcoholics do. Then the night came when my mother and I had words and I could see all the pain and hurt that I caused her. That stuck in my head. The next morning I woke up and something changed, I knew I couldn’t go on like this. I called a friend of mine in recovery and he picked me up and took me to detox. I went through yet another treatment center and had a spiritual experience. I knew something had to change. I became willing to do whatever it takes to stay sober. Today I continue with the same willingness and vigor that I had upon getting out. My sobriety date is 11/4/17. By the Grace of God, I am still sober and do my part to help others like me.