It has taken me almost 40 years to realize that what I have been doing to deal with my issues wasn't working. In fact it took me 24 years to admit I was an alcoholic and go to my first ever meeting one month before my 45th birthday. I am proud to say I have been sober since January 2, 2023. I was fortunate enough to phone a friend and through the grace of God was able to get help through the IAFF Center of Excellence. I entered the facility on January 5 and as of this writing I am still here on my wellness journey. I have now found out at 44 I have PTSD, OCD, Depression and Anxiety. I am being educated on the facts that these need to be treated together otherwise one can run off to the races and exacerbate all of them. I have been divorced twice. I do not have the best relationships with my family, I have two grown children, nor do I have many friends. I tend to isolate, withdraw, avoid and have social anxiety. I am currently learning that my alcoholism has played a gigantic part in all of this and since being sober I can now FEEL. I am now much more in tune with myself, my feelings and my emotions. I am currently learning the skills to deal with these feelings and emotions. Most importantly for me has been learning that emotions are OK to have and it is in how we choose to deal with them that truly matters. In addition to that I am learning that I need to feel these emotions in the sense that it IS ok to hurt and it IS ok to cry. Emotions are very therapeutic for the sole. I am also learning that it is ok to take time for me in a positive healthy manner such as a massage or even a spa day. One of the biggest things for me also has been to realize that backward thinking is not healthy and I need to be more present and in the now and forward thinking. I need to smile more and take compliments. Stay calm and relax. I am working toward a sober future one where I can be present in the moment of what I am doing and FEEL that moment and remember it. I am also working on mending the relationships with my two children. They are fully supportive of where I am now and hope that I find the healing and clarity I need. I have a support system upon my graduation from my journey here and I fully intend on using it. I have been told by many others here I have a great voice and that they would love to hear me on the radio as they would definitely tune in so that may be something I look into upon my graduation from here as well. For now the plan is to return home and return to my current job as a Firefighter serving my community.
Thank you Demons Behind Me for all you do and the inspiration to keep striving for one more minute, one more hour or one more day. I know personally knowing you all have in one way or another overcome your demons that I can too, THANK YOU!