September 13th, 2023 - 12th Step Work
Camp Lejeune to CT 2011 – 2012
By the time I left Camp Lejeune, I was only staying sober because my command wanted me to. I wanted to still drink every night until black out. I moved into my parents’ house after the Marine Corps and would just do what I do now but in my old bedroom. I had my internet antenna like I do now and was posting on Boxden. I would drink in my old bedroom and psychotically tape things to the wall. Only a few people got to see that, a few from high school and my family would also live in the house. I eventually cleaned everything off because after a while I realized that it was odd and should just be plain paint on the walls. It was my therapy before therapy because I enjoyed the freedom of writing on the walls in the bedroom and pasting things that I wanted onto the walls. I would buy alcohol pretty much every night and go on the internet, but I spent most of my time taping things to the bedroom walls and listening to music. I was drinking around a 12-pack with extras, like a few tall cans of teas with alcohol in them or just a small bottle of vodka to mix with something. I wasn’t going to AA meetings at this time because getting sober wasn’t even something I wanted to think about. This time was when I first started to learn about computer programming, the basics from online courses on YouTube. I had this urge to learn everything possible in life but facts that didn’t matter. I had these journals that I would write into that were just things I learned on the internet. I wanted further education in life but had no clue where to get that because I had no clue about the VA benefits I rated back then. I had gone to rehab in North Carolina off base for 28 days but once I got back to Camp Lejeune I started drinking again because the other Marines were. Now living back in Connecticut, not going to AA meetings, and even thinking about being sober I decided to move to Iowa. Back to the Quad Cities I went, where things got worse.
2012-2013 - 11st Street House – Tonya’s apartment
I moved into my dad’s house in Iowa right away but had $400 in Facebook shares that I sold to move into a big house my uncle Ray owned. This was a time in my life on 11th Street when I had little money from alcohol every night but somehow managed to drink every night. I was drinking even more beer or at this time the preference for what I drank depended on how much money I had. So, I basically bought the cheapest beer and alcohol to max the money I had. This was the time in my life when I realized my drinking was a problem, no legal trouble or any trouble but just for my personal life it was bad. I remember crying in the shower at the 11th Street house just wishing I could go back to rehab. I started going to the AA meetings on Locust and Main Street in Davenport, where I would go 2-3 times a day for a week or so and relapse back into drinking. I would drink with my aunt and her friends and eventually moved into the apartment she was fixing up. I started a fancy new job where I finally had money for alcohol easily every night and would continue to drink every night at Tonya’s apartment. I was pretty much a peaceful drinker; I would just have headphones on and write in my journals.
At this time in life, I finally got arrested by Davenport police for “drunk in public with a sword”, By mistake I started going out into the alley with my sword I was all drunk and the police were called. Nothing too bad and I remember the Davenport police officers knowing me and just agreeing that my drinking would be bad if I continued. I started outpatient treatment at the Federal Courthouse VA building and got to know them very well. After going to the VA every day for treatment and relapsing every week, the VA said they did have a rehab option in St. Cloud that was 54 days and I agreed to go. Agreed but more like begged to go because I deep down knew I had a major problem.
2013 -2014 - St. Cloud – Veteran House on 31st Street
I took a bus to St. Cloud, Minnesota for rehab and when I got there, I realized it was like being in the military again. I was just so appreciative of the VA staff, the other veterans, and what we did there from morning to sleep. This VA campus is huge, it has veteran apartments on it and a bowling alley plus just lots of awesome things to do. When I was there, drinking alcohol was completely pushed off because I was living the rehab life on that VA hospital campus. Classes each day and meetings at night, and if you don’t know; meetings are where the magic happens! AA meetings you will hear yourself in other people through the speakers. Sort of like the AA book but in real life, where you then can for an hour realize that you’re not alone. I did the 54 days of treatment and realized at that point I had nowhere to go after I was finished. I had no money to move back into my aunt’s apartment and the VA staff in St. Cloud realized that and asked if I wanted to move into a veteran sober house where other veterans from the program lived.
It was only $275 a month for rent and I would have a place to live, I got a job right there in the neighborhood that was the best job I ever had at that time in life. I moved into the sober house and stayed sober for a bit, but I then somehow relapsed and continued to drink and basically say fuck you right to all that amazing treatment I had just gone through at the VA. All the other veterans were drinking in the sober house and my trying to stay sober wasn’t going to happen. I stopped going to meetings and just got back into hiding my drinking in that sober house, where I then got to learn the city of St. Cloud well. I then lost my job that I was so proud to have, not really because of drinking by probably. My brain was foggy, and I was still messed up, and I was done with St. Cloud. It was super cold in the winter there of 2013 and I was ready to move back to the Quad Cities.
2014-2015 Quad Cities - Des Moines
This was the point where I entered the program for sure, and now moving back to Iowa, with full VA benefits now. I moved into an apartment right in my dad’s neighborhood, it was nice. I was on a mission to stay sober, and I did for a while there, even started going to a community college in the Quad Cities and was on a mission to become a police officer. I studied criminal justice and was making connections there with the people at the federal courthouse the VA had. I was going to outpatient at the federal building in Rock Island and I was taking a drug test every day, things were going great. I bought a new car, and had an apartment, and was at this time when I had money for paint supplies and my journal writings stopped. I started painting, and I loved it, but the alcohol-fueled journal drawings led to alcohol-fueled painting. I then relapsed, I started drinking with my cousin Justin, and the VA in Rock Island simply said that rehab inpatient would be best because outpatient treatment was not working and now with money, I was not motivated to stop drinking.
I then moved to Des Moines, Iowa for treatment there just like I did in St. Cloud. I lived in a room there on the VA campus and did classes every day. Still brain foggy because I wasn’t taking the classes seriously as I would now but I was staying sober and lived there in Des Moines for about 45 days and during that time I worked for the VA there after classes. This was the time in my life when I started going to meetings with a purpose because the past few years were so rocky and wild that once I got to Des Moines it was on me. The VA helped; they did everything they could possibly do to help me. If you can’t manage life in St. Cloud as a veteran, where they literally help you with everything; then it’s on you. I need the want to the determination to change for a sober life. Des Moines VA was just like Minnesota where we all got to know each other with the goal of staying sober.
I started mining Bitcoin at this time on my laptop with the internet and electricity from the hospital and somewhat saw a sober future for me. I moved back to Davenport, Iowa (Quad Cities) and now with a life mission to beat alcoholism. I had friends online telling me that marijuana was the way, just smoked weed and left alcohol behind. My cousin Justin had a connection to buy some, and I gave that a try. With full VA benefits now, I realized that maybe moving back to Connecticut would be best because I had failed so hard at life in the Midwest that maybe the East Coast would be nice. I would get to see my parents and sister again often and stay sober.
2016 – Current
I moved into an apartment here right away in Salem, Connecticut, and have been here since I moved here. My cousin here in Connecticut was able to buy weed for me and I just smoked weed every day and all day. It was starting to be a lot where I was smoking about two ounces a month, but that didn’t matter because I wasn’t drinking. I completely stopped journaling drawings and painting since I wasn’t drinking, and I started becoming active in the Anonymous IRC chat and the Boxden website. I met some people who are now my only friends, the F.I.C crew and I became very active on the Boxden website. Got to know the owner well by posting threads he would make “Hot Topics”, basically the goal was to know what the news cycle was going to share before they shared with the rest of the world. I wasn’t drinking but just smoking weed. And over the past few years, I didn’t realize how helpful marijuana was for me. I then finally got a medical card and was smoking and not drinking.
Fast forward a few years and the alcohol usage started to fade away from my life. I was smoking weed but honestly, it felt like being sober since weed gets out of your body within a few hours and I didn’t care because I wasn’t drinking. Going from the nightmares I had drinking and having no future while everyone at the VA trying to help me, to smoking weed to stay away from alcohol seemed perfect. I have been living here in Connecticut since 2016 and have relapsed a few times but never made it to a second-day event where I kept drinking. I fell off once here in Connecticut for some wild reason and then when I visited my dad back in 2021 for a couple of weeks, I drank two beers and that was it. After years of smoking weed, I finally smoked the last time 358 days ago, I keep track of my total sober days through a Snapchat streak with someone from the Boxden group. I just finally got tired of smoking weed and it not being addictive I was able to stop and become sober from alcohol and weed. For a few years living here in Connecticut, it was weed pretty much every day but for about a year now it’s been sober for everything and just trying to improve my health. I gained some weight but that can always be lost with some diet and exercise.
After all the treatment at different VA hospitals, and all the AA meetings across this country, I truly know now how good it feels to be completely sober. From how bad it was back when I got out of the military, to now where I don’t even want to drink anymore and living the sober life. I see how this blog could be as close to the 12th-step work as I’ll probably get. I don’t go to AA meetings anymore but think about going to some. I don’t have any real-life friends, but I do have online friends, and maybe not having real-life friends is best because maybe they would lead me to drinking. I have some family I see often here in Connecticut and just wanted to share my experience getting sober with everyone. If you are thinking alcohol is too powerful to quit, I am a living example of how much it takes. I used to drink until blackout every night and after a while of smoking weed, was able to easily quit weed. Doing the step work helps, reading the big book (AA book) helps, reading the bible helps, or just reading any self-help book helps. Going to AA meetings helps, and going to inpatient treatment extremely helps. You first need to realize you’re an alcoholic too, and that you have got to a point in life where you cannot help yourself. This blog has been my longest ever, so thank you for reading.
Be a nice human.