I was born on February 27th, 1976, to two married parents, and a sister, who is two years older than me. My dad worked in a bank branch, and my mom, a former teacher, stayed home with my sister and me until we were in school. Childhood seemed pretty normal, although we weren’t poor; we certainly lived a very simple life. I remember my mother would occasionally say, “hey, I have been saving some money, let’s go out to eat.” Although exciting at the time, going out to eat meant something like Arby’s, nothing fancy.
My father has always been very into sports, which translated over to me as well. My mother was interested in music and the arts, which was passed on to my sister. That seemed to work well. I remember at age five going to my first Cincinnati Reds game. From that point on, baseball became my favorite sport. I played many other sports growing up, basketball, football, soccer, but baseball was my favorite.
Once I was in school, my mom hoped to get back into teaching, but all she could get was a teacher’s aide job. This was hard on the family finances as we grew up. My sister was always the star of the family, which raised some self-esteem issues [for me]growing up. I continued to play sports growing up, living a fairly normal life. We were very close with my grandparents who lived in town. We would all go to church as a family, nearly every Sunday.
About the time I was in middle school, my mom got a second job to help make ends meet. This was a pretty big change because now my dad had to do a lot of the cooking, etc. There was always alcohol present in the house, although my mom didn’t drink hardly, my dad would drink from time to time, and I can only remember one time that I was pretty sure my dad was drunk.
I went on to high school, now totally focused on baseball. I still had aspirations of playing baseball in college. I also did quite well academically. I had tried alcohol, but never really drank, because I was taking baseball seriously. High school was okay; I had plenty of friends, but never a lot of girlfriends, and I was still, Monica’s brother. Towards the end of high school was when my drinking career began. I remember the first time I got drunk from drinking Zima, which made me really sick. My buddies and I continued to drink some, and hang out the summer before college.
In the fall of 1994, I went off for college. My mother had always been strict with us, so my newfound freedom was amazing. The reigns were off. That fall I joined a fraternity, and that is when drinking went from amateur to professional. Still though, I took school quite seriously, and usually drank Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights only. I had established my own identity and confidence grew. I was really enjoying being away from home, and in college.
After my freshman year, my roommate’s father, who owned my current company, asked if I wanted to work [there]for the summer. So, I did, and really enjoyed it. We would work all over the Midwest. There was quite a bit of overnight travel, and alcohol was usually present in the hotel rooms. It was hard work, but also a lot of fun, and laughs. The money was good.
I continued this pattern, during the school year, and working in the summers. I also got very involved in my fraternity, and eventually, in my junior year became President of the fraternity. About the time I turned 21, I started dating a girl who would eventually become my wife. She was in a sorority that was close with my fraternity. We had a lot of fun together, which of course, usually involved drinking.
In the fall of 1998, I graduated, and started working full-time. My wife-to-be had graduated the year prior, so I spent a lot of my last semester running back and forth from Indy, where she lived now. After 3.5 years of dating, we got married in September of 2000. I was 24, and one of the first of my friends to get married, so we still partied a lot, with and without wives/girlfriends. We bought our first house in 2001. That pattern continued until my first son was born in September of 2004. He was a great baby, easy to handle. I was also getting very involved with a trade organization for people who build sports facilities. The downfall was that meetings almost always involved alcohol.
In March of 2005, my mother caught flu like virus, which attacked her heart. She was at work on a Sunday, and dead five days later, on Friday. I watched as they turned off the ventilator, and my mom took her last breaths. This was a very hard time for me. I had a six-month-old baby, and I had just lost my mother, whom I was very close to.
I rebounded with help, and some tough love at times from my wife. She was ready to have a second child, so in June of 2006, we had another boy. This baby was not as easy [as our first child]. He cried for nearly nine months. This began to put a lot of strain on my wife, and our marriage.
Over the next several years, we focused a lot on raising two boys, only 21 months apart. We had the normal stresses that everyone had, but my drinking was increasing. It was not uncommon to come home from work and have something to drink almost every night.
As my kids got older, and more self-sufficient, my wife began partying a lot more with girlfriends. In early 2013, I started to suspect she was cheating on me e.g. saw weird texts, staying out late, and getting caught in lies. She kept telling me nothing was going on, but she was becoming a pretty good liar. My drinking further increased to deal with the anxiety of the situation. Christmas day 2013, I busted her texting back and forth with this guy. She begged me, and said she would do anything, and it wouldn’t happen again.
I decided I wanted to stay and hoped we could make it work. All through 2014 my anxiety was off the charts, and my drinking continued to escalate. By December of 2014, I was drinking some mornings, and a lot other times. I was passing out and not being a father. I started neglecting my business, and friends. In January of 2015, my wife gave me an ultimatum. Get help or get out. That began my first visit at Fairbanks.
When I got out of Fairbanks, my wife was still partying a ton, I think she even drank around me my first night back. I had no support at home. She said she didn’t have a problem, so she wasn’t quitting drinking. I think I made it about 90 days sober in that environment, and then finally decided I wasn’t going to just sit around and watch, so I slowly crept back into the bottle. I was still suspicious of my wife’s activities. On a positive note, my dad got remarried in June of 2015.
One night I was out with some friends, and my suspicions was confirmed. I ran into a friend of my wife, and she grabbed me and said, you don’t deserve this, I going to tell you what your wife has been doing. That talk confirmed my wife’s cheating, among many other lies that I was blind to. She had multiple relationships according to her friend. I talked to another mutual friend, and she told the same story. Now I was convinced.
Obviously, my drinking had ramped up to drinking every day to deal with the pain. Finally, in August of 2015, I told my wife I wanted a divorce, and I moved out. We filed in September 2015. That didn’t slow my drinking down, I was partying more, and back to drinking in the morning too. Things went along like that for a while. I was neglecting work, family, and friends, and just drinking.
March of this year was the beginning of the end for me. My father was diagnosed with cancer in early March. My grandfather, whom I was very close with, died in mid-March, my grandmother had brain surgery, and my divorce was final, via mediation on March 25th of this year. All of these tragic events, sprung me into my worse stint of drinking ever. I had to drink in the morning to stop the shakes. I would have a couple [of drinks]at noon, then after work drink until I passed out. This went on for nearly a month until I drove myself, and checked in at Fairbanks again on April 25th. I blew a 0.26 BAC.
I now realize that I was very lucky I was never arrested, killed, or hurt anyone. I drove drunk all the time. I knew this time in rehab it had to, and would be different. I came because I wanted to, not because I was told to.
So here we are now as I start the next chapter of my life. Soberlink has helped me get my life on track, and regain the trust of my ex-wife. It has also helped me rekindle my relationship with my kids.