I want you to know that I am not
writing this with any credentials on this disease,
representing any 12 Step program, endorsing any type of
program, or offering any counseling or solutions.
is not my intent.
am speaking only from my experience, strength, and hope.
loved to party with the best of them when I was in school in
the late '60's. I helped organize the parties and made sure
everybody was having a good time. I was responsible, made
good grades, held a good part time job, and got married
during my senior year. I had a promising career ahead. But,
I did love to drink those beers and be around that keg. I
held my booze well and seldom did anything for which I would
be ashamed the next day. I always offered to set up and
clean up. Little did I know I just wanted to be near that
wasn't a falling over drunk. I was a respectable young
college fraternity man in the eyes of most and I had no idea
that I even had a problem at all. There had been problems in
my family, but it wasn't going to be like that for me. I was
so darn fired sure it wouldn't be like that for me. I always
knew if I ever got as bad as some of them or as bad as some
of those old guys I saw sitting on bar stools, then I would
quit right then and there.
were times when I did, ever so slightly, question myself
about how much I drank and why I could drink more than the
other brothers. Those moments didn't last long. I always
can only use hindsight and realize that drinking always
controlled my entire life. If I wasn't drinking, I was
looking forward to when I could. If I was going to a party I
would make sure there would be something to drink. I would
always get a head start on everybody by having a few while
getting ready and then would have a few when I got home to
wind down from having such a good time partying. After all,
this was college and I was supposed to be enjoying my early
care free years, "Wasn't I?"
I guess by now you're wondering where I'm going with all of
this or if I am crusading to get the "demon rum"
off our campuses and out of our fraternities? Not at all. If
you can drink and suffer no ill consequences then more power
to you. If you don't hurt yourself or others, that's fine.
Drink as much as you can hold if that's what makes you feel
comfortable. I'm not judging you in anyway. That is not my
intent nor is it my right.
just give you a short history of my life and what happened
when I failed to ignore my inner thoughts and the comments
of others about my drinking.
graduated, became a father, started a successful career that
brought me a lot of money and a lot of fame. I rose from a
small radio station disk jockey to a highly respected
television news anchorman and producer. I worked in St.
Louis, Nashville, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles. I had a
small part in the soap opera Santa Barbara and did a
bit on the Today Show. I wrote for several magazines
on a freelance basis and did commercials all over the
country. All by the age of 35.
drinking continued and I continued to function. I also
continued to hurt all of those around me and put the jobs of
others in jeopardy by my actions. I was not giving it my
all. My all went to alcohol. Some people label this as a
"heavy drinker" and others as a "functioning
alcoholic." I now understand that the label makes no
difference in what I think, feel, or believe. My actions
eventually became those of a very irresponsible person. I
became that person I said I would never be. Remember,
"I'll quit if I ever get that bad." What I
found was that there was always somebody that was more "that
bad" than me. I continued to do what I wanted to do
and ignored the feelings of all those around me.
see, I couldn't be an alcoholic. I was too important, too
famous, and way too intelligent. I had acquired a lot of
knowledge about drunks. I just had a lot of pressures and
responsibilities from which I needed some relief. I always
felt insecure and egotistical at the same time. I smiled and
cried on the inside at the same time. I was totally empty
and my whole life depended on who and what you thought I was
and how good I looked on the outside. I was always
"trying to find myself." I would be what ever I
thought you wanted me to be so that I could please you and
therefore be happy with me. I went to self-help seminars,
read self-help books, tried different churches and different
ways of praying. I tried different ways of drinking and
different types of booze.
was a way for me to find relief. A way to quiet that
internal upheaval inside my head.
Now this is important!
didn't always drink every day, although for some periods I
would. I often wouldn't drink for weeks or months and one
time for six years I didn't drink a drop. So you see, how
could I be an alcoholic? Eventually I learned that the
frequency and amount made no difference. It was the internal
affect on me and how I used those around me.
may come as shocking to some of you, but it is reality to me
and part of my story. This successful media person drank his
way through jobs moving from one city to another just ahead
of being fired. This successful media person became willing
to give up his wife and children so he could drink the way
he wanted. This successful media person gave up a second
wife and a top anchor job for the same reason. I ran away
from my problems mentally, morally, and physically. I twice
disappeared without a trace for weeks on end with everybody
searching for me and fearing the worst. And this successful
media person burnt so many bridges and alienated so many
friends, family, and associates that he eventually found
himself living in a homeless shelter with nothing, but the
clothes on his back.
had given up on me including me. I had finally achieved what
I wanted. I had wanted everybody to "just leave me
alone" so I could do what I wanted. My
self-centeredness and selfishness had left me all alone,
don't tell you this for pity, but simply for the reality of
what happened to me. I won't go into all the gory details of
what happened in-between. Suffice it to say, my life was a
living Hell. For years I tried to quit drinking and
couldn't. I made endless promises to my family and friends
that I had had enough and would stop "forever."
For over ten years I could never keep that promise. I
attempted to hide my drinking from everybody. In some cases
I was successful and in others I certainly was not. Of
course I was only lying to myself, but I didn't care.
October 7, 1994 at 2 AM I came to a point in my life where I
could no longer live with alcohol or live without alcohol. I
no longer wanted to live and I didn't want to die. I had
barricaded myself in my apartment for over a week and
decided to drink myself to death. I was about to be evicted.
My phone had been disconnected. I had run out of food. I had
run out of hope. I was at a turning point in my life
although I didn't know it.
family, friends, minister, psychiatrist had all tried to
help me and just couldn't. I wouldn't let them. But, that
early morning a beautiful surrender came and my life has
never been the same again. A moment of clarity lead me to
ask God just one more time for help. I gave up control of my
life and put it in his hands. It was truly a spiritual
experience. It's an experience only another alcoholic will
probably understand. Today I am happy and life is good. I
have so much less materially, but I have so much internally.
I have been blessed with a wonderful gift. I am happily
married, have my own business (which is struggling, of
course) and my children are speaking to me and I have a
beautiful one year granddaughter that has never seen me
is not the end of the story. Each day I continue to work
hard on my recovery and love every minute of it. I work with
others. I speak about this wherever I can. I share my
experience strength, and hope so that others will have hope
that there is a solution. At times this is selfish since it
helps me more than others very often. It also reminds me
daily of what things were like and what I am and what I
could be again.
what's the point of this whole story? Why have I taken the
time to tell you my secrets? Why should you care?
is a wonderful section in the book Alcoholics
Anonymous on page 44.
is help available. Call your minister, doctor, or look
in the phone book for AA.
no longer a secret that makes me feel unworthy.
may not care, but there might be somebody that will be
saved from going through the living Hell I went through
just if they know they're not the only one suffering.
when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit
entirely, or if when drinking, you have little
control over the amount you take, you are probably
alcoholic. If that be the case, you may be suffering
from an illness which only a spiritual experience
Today there is a Higher Power alive in my life and it
is not me. It is a very loving God.
doesn't matter how I think, feel or believe at any given
moment. It does matter how I act. I must always act and not
react. My actions must be responsible no matter what my
thoughts, feeling, or beliefs. I must avoid rationalization.
I was once told the definition of rationalization is,
"a socially acceptable answer for my socially
unacceptable behavior." Being an alcoholic never has
and never will be an excuse for me to display inappropriate
behavior. No matter how tough the situation, how
distasteful, or even how boring at the time, the situation
may be, if I act appropriately I have a shot at recognizing
my own inappropriate behavior and correcting it with the
guidance of my Higher Power.
be more than happy to point anyone in the direction that
worked for me. I am not a doctor, counselor, psychiatrist,
or minister. I realize there are many different ways to find
a solution. I'm just an average human being that suffers
from what I believe is an incurable disease that I have
under arrest just for today. I can only tell you what has
worked for me and brought me out of a living Hell into a
wonderful peace within.
God Bless all and may you find the inner peace that is there
for the asking.