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The Help I Needed

Years ago, I had a strong sense–no, I knew–that something about my drinking alcohol was not right.  I felt bad every morning. I could hardly eat breakfast. I had no energy to bring to the new day.  At that time, I mostly drank with other people, but I noticed they weren’t having the physical problems I had.  I was having fun with alcohol but was paying a price.  I was in my thirties.  I drank to have a good time; I drank to make good times better.  I drank on weekends, then after work.  Suppers got later and later.  My dental practice was thriving and so was my social life.  But I wasn’t.  Everyone seemed healthier and happier than me.  There were mornings I would have no memory of what I did or said the previous evening.  But my wife would remind me, and I would be ashamed and embarrassed at my behavior.  I sometimes became a man extraordinarily different from the man I believed I was.  I was losing a lot of time drinking.  And sleep.  Alcohol was taking over my life.  And yet, I refused to face the facts that my alcohol issues were significant.  I took more time off from work to reduce my stress, but always ended up wasting that precious time by using it as an opportunity to drink even more.  

My wife and parents expressed their concerns about my drinking.  But none of us knew enough about the disease of alcohol addiction to connect the dots.  I believed if I could go two or even three months without drinking, I was fundamentally alright.  But I was fundamentally wrong.  I had passed the point of controlling my drinking.  My need to drink was controlling me and my behavior.  I missed out on my sons’ school and athletic events.  My amazing marriage had become strained.  More and more health issues developed.  Life was going on around me, and I was being left behind. 

I had heard of NC Caring Dental Professionals but was afraid of admitting I needed help and reluctant to commit to anything like a supervised sobriety.  Finally at a time when my life was truly unraveling, I decided to accept the help that the CDP offered.  I found in that program other dental professionals who could not control their own drinking/substance use alone.  I was in good company.  I was neither weak nor morally deficient.  I had a disease.  Alcohol truly affects my body differently from the way it affects non-alcoholics.  

The process of recovery has been rewarding and sometimes difficult for me.  No switch was flipped to suddenly change my life for the better.  I have needed and received the help and guidance of the NCCDP.  I have worked on myself to treat my alcoholism. And that recovery work has resulted in my ability to be comfortable with and confident in myself.  I am now one of those “healthier and happier” people.  

Now as I face retirement I am thankful to have not lost everything to alcoholism.  Sadly, I know many souls who did.  On the other hand, I also know a number of professionals who sought care and treatment before their children even saw them drunk!  What a blessing!

Addiction is real.  Recovery is possible.  The lifeline from the NC Caring Dental Professionals for me was only a deep breath and a phone call away.   

from a Grateful Recovering Dentist