For a very long time, I allowed alcohol to take control over everything about me. It was very difficult for me to realize how far it had gotten because I was blinded and focused on making up excuses for every single time I got back home drunk and about to pass out. Then came the point where things started to crumble down into pieces without me even noticing. I was told by everyone around me that I had a serious problem and that I needed help, but as most tough lessons in life, I didn’t learn a thing until it came to a wake-up call.

My girlfriend and I had been having some issues, we wanted to start a family and get married, but due to some financial and circumstantial issues, we decided to postpone it. It was a big disappointment and I didn’t know how to better deal with everything and chose to take on drinking more than usual. As things went on, almost 2 years would have to pass for me to realize that I needed to do something about it. Otherwise, I’d lose everything.

One Friday evening I was driving back home from the bar. I had been drinking on my own as usual and didn’t even really want to face the reality of yet another fight with my girlfriend so I decided to drive as slow as possible. Quite under the influence, I wasn’t too sure about what was happening outside of my car until I turned around on the corner, where our house was, and almost hit the neighbor’s 13-year-old son. Fortunately, nothing happened to him. In fact, as far as they told the story I wasn’t even close to getting him. But, for some reason, that’s what woke me up.

As a way to reflect, I’d like to tell you 5 ways abusing alcohol almost destroyed my life:

I almost ruined someone else’s life

That night, that kid told me it was his ball what I had seen because he was considerably far away from where I stopped. But just as we were both lucky that nothing happened, something could have happened. I thought I was a high-functioning alcoholic until then, but acknowledging so many people’s lives could have changed so dramatically that very night, made me realize I wasn’t as in control as I once thought and I really needed help.

I kept thinking of the kid, his father, his mother, all of his friends, everyone that could be involved in his life. Then I thought about my girlfriend, how we had stopped trying having a baby, how someday my very own child could be in the neighbor’s kid’s place while some drunk guy drove down the street. It all hit me like a ton of bricks. Whatever I was feeling, thinking or dealing with at the time wasn’t enough for me to take such risks of altering someone’s life that way.

I almost lost the love of my life

When I went back home, I told my girlfriend I needed to do something about my drinking problem. She broke down in tears as I told her how I had this epiphany. We were discussing how we would proceed and as I was getting to the idea of joining a rehabilitation program, she said that she had been thinking of leaving for good.

It was overwhelming for me to realize that it all had to go that far for me to see how I was destroying my own life and my girlfriend’s. She said she’d be there for me if I truly meant what I was saying. She also said she’d be my support and would stand by my side as long as I showed her that my heart was in the right place all throughout the process.

I lost control over my drinking

Before the night of the incident, I wasn’t aware at all how much alcohol was controlling me, and not the other way around. I couldn’t really decide anymore when I wanted to have a glass as it had become an uncontrollable need. I was craving it and kept trying to make excuses for myself in order to start drinking earlier, or at work, or with every meal.

Unknowingly for me, life was revolving around the bottle, and I just couldn’t see it.

It made our finances get even worse

We were having lots of arguments and fights at home almost every night because we were having some financial difficulties. The company I was working for had been firing a lot of my colleagues lately because they were made redundant, and a couple months during that year they froze our salaries for a while in order to “get back on their feet”

This was as stressful for me as it was for my girlfriend, but unlike her, I was drinking to cope with the situation, which as anyone would imagine, also had an effect on our finances. Drinking is expensive even if it’s just a night out once a month. Try to imagine doing that on a daily basis. If we had financial problems before, buying alcohol all the time was definitely not helping.

Addiction

Dealing with addiction has ruined millions of lives across the globe. Luckily for me, it never got to that point. I had a lot of difficulties and caused a lot of pain to the person I love the most. But I don’t consider that it ruined my life; the epiphany from that night came in good timing. If any of the events that led to that moment had happened in any other way, things would have probably never been the same.

I joined a rehabilitation program, went through the hard recovery process and learned to value life for what it is in many different ways. Our finances eventually got better and we managed to get back on our feet. We don’t really talk about those times before I decided to get sober, but sometimes our eyes meet when we’re both thinking about it at the same time, and realize that in one way or the other, that night was the start of the new life we have now.

Are you struggling with alcohol? If you or anyone you love is showing signs of abuse or even addiction, never hesitate to seek professional help. It can literally change their life.

If you’d like to ask a question or suggest any other ways alcohol can ruin your life, leave a comment below.