My story starts out the same as many others. I started drinking at high school parties and with friends on the weekends. It wasn’t a big deal right? Everyone drinks in high school. My drinking stayed pretty normal, you know social, for a few years. I joined the Marine Corps right out of high school and my drinking started picking up a little bit but hey; I was a United States Marine, guarding our country against all threats, foreign and domestic! I deserved to drink a little more on the weekends and a few times during the week right? I wasn’t hurting anyone, plus I could always keep up on the runs and physical training.
Then I got married and began working as a recruiter. I had a new baby, a new wife, and my boss worked two hours away from me. The job required me to work 12-hour days, six days a week. Now I know I deserve to throw a few back! Late at night, making calls, I could have a few right? If nobody knows then nobody gets hurt. That worked really well (or so I thought) until I started forgetting what happened the night prior. Did I make an appointment? Did I talk to this person or that person? Did I tell my boss I was going to be in at 8 or 9? Maybe I should slow down a little bit. My wife was concerned and a few friends were concerned. I wasn’t concerned, but maybe for them I could cut back a bit. Or could I?
Well, I couldn’t.
Under pressure from my wife, I contacted a supervisor and within a few weeks I was headed to a treatment center in Chicago. I learned a lot of great things there. I learned how to stay sober and how to live sober. I just wasn’t ready to stop once I went back to work and within a few months I was back to my daily drinking. This kept up until my family and I moved to Hawaii and my drinking started severely impacting my work performance. I started attending 12-step meetings and finally got sober for a few years. By that time it was too late to save my marriage and my wife ended up leaving me.
Surprisingly, that didn’t affect my sobriety. I focused in on my career and made some huge progress. I had it made. I was able to stay sober for over four years and then I started thinking “I’m alone, I’m an adult, I can have ONE beer right?” One beer would not get me drunk and one beer would not kill me. So one Friday afternoon I stopped off at the grocery store and picked up not one, but two Coors Original 22oz beers. I got home and quickly drank them both down. They were so good that I went back and bought a few more! Within weeks I was back to drinking every single night. Sometimes I would wake up with scratches or bruises with no recollection of how I got them. I was sunk. I woke up fearful not of what I did the night before but of what I was going to do that night. I couldn’t stop, no matter how bad I felt, how guilty, how miserable, I had to drink!
I kept it up until February of 2010. That 28th day of February I took my last drink. I found the courage to stop through AA and with the support of my new wife. I loved not being a slave to the bottle, being able to be present physically and emotionally for my wife and children.
On July 20th of 2012 I was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps and went back to school. I was still sober but wasn’t taking care of myself. I ate what I wanted when I wanted and did not do any physical activity other than walking to the freezer to get a bowl of ice cream! I could feel my health deteriorating. I was rapidly gaining weight; I was always tired, and always out of breath. I hated it but wasn’t sure what I could do until I finally had enough. Like many others, on January 1st I made a resolution. I completely changed my diet and my physical habits. I started eating right and exercising daily. I joined a couch to 5k program through a local organization called Healthy U and now, nine months later, I feel like a new person. I recently found the Runwell Organization and it stood out to me like a beacon of light and I knew it was something I wanted and needed to be a part of so I can help others struggling with the disease of addiction.
About the Author
Dan has been married to his wife Valerie for nearly five years, he considers her his saving grace, as she provides the support he needs on a daily basis. Between the two of them, they have six children ranging from 9 years of age to 18. Every day, Dan strives to set a positive example for his children and show them, and everyone, that anyone can recover from past mistakes if they put their heart into it.
Dan is Runwell's newest ambassador, and is running to raise funds to help those struggling with addiciton get the help they need. Visit his page to support his and Runwell's mission.