After a while, my life really became something of a tragic joke. You start examining what everyone around you values and where their priorities lie and you just have to laugh. I’m not saying that I’m better than everyone; I’m just saying that I have a bit more experience than many. After surviving a 12-year battle with alcohol addiction, the concept of wealth and privilege and dollars and cents seems rather trivial to me. I don’t want to take anybody’s struggle away from them, but there’s nothing quite like addiction to make you realize there are more important things in life than money.
I was never the type to flaunt my family’s wealth; in fact there were certain periods in which I was ashamed of it. It made me alien to the kids I grew up with and I was constantly second-guessing whether or not people were interested my actual friendship. I know I sound ridiculous, but it made for a really complicated childhood, to the point where I valued the important things far less than I probably should have, like my life. I started drinking from a very early age because I wanted to feel something different. I wanted to lose my sense of security, if only for a few hours at a time.
As the years went on, I started to drink more and more. I was 13 when I had my first drink and 25 when I had my last. It was, by far, the most pleasurable feeling that I had ever experienced at first. As my body grew more tolerant, however, the buzzes got shorter and shorter and withdrawal periods got longer and longer. After a while, my life consisted mostly of withdrawal with a few blissful hours sprinkled in. It was one thing to be bored, it was quite another to live my life in agony and sickness.
Somewhere along the way, I had decided that I wanted to get straight and stop living like a zombie. My parents helped me get into a luxury alcohol rehab program and I knew it was my best shot at building a life for myself. I took treatment seriously, and despite everyone’s low expectations, actually managed to excel in my program. I was drawn to the idea of individualism and autonomy that my facility preached and started looking at life as a template that you can manipulate anyway you choose. This notion empowered me to make the most of my recovery.
After completing treatment, I finished school and am determined to live an extraordinary life. The cravings for alcohol are stronger some days than others; but they’re never stronger than my belief in myself and my will to break free from my past.