My Story

I think it only appropriate that I tell you who I am and what I am about.  My name is Tom and I'm a recovering alcoholic.  I'm a 42-year-old bricklayer from Baltimore, Md.  I've been in recovery for almost nine years. I'm fairly new to the world of computers, but  once I got past the intimidation factor, it seemed fairly easy to learn.  I grew up in a fairly normal little town, about 40 miles north of Baltimore, called Silver Run.  Normal childhood, normal parents.  Just plain normal I guess.  There was not much to do but fish, hunt, fight, and drink!  I graduated High School okay.  I never made it into the military for medical reasons.  I went to trade school for two years, while I was in High School, to learn masonry.  I learned the trade pretty fast, thanks to the help of some very hard-nosed Italians!

Anyway, I was never afraid of hard work, so I figured if I work hard, I should be allowed to play hard. That is when I started drinking on a  regular basis.  I spent the next few years working, drinking and not much else.  When I turned 21, I got married.  Ironically, today (5-14-98) is my twenty-first wedding anniversary to that same lady.  That is nothing short of God's grace.  For the first 12 years of my marriage, I put my wife through a living hell that she never deserved.  She was always there for me, but I was never there for her because of my drinking.

I spent most of my time in bars, drinking with my so-called friends, who were just as bad at being fathers and husbands as I was.  That was nothing to be proud of, I assure you, but that's the way it was for many years.

I spent most of my time in blackouts because of the way I drank.  After 10 years of marriage, my first son was born.  I was scared; not so much at the thought of being a father, but at the thought of having to forfeit my time away from the bars and my drinking buddies.  This was some sick thinking!  Six years later, my second son was born.  He is now five.  His name is Tony.  My oldest son is now 11.  His name is Christopher.  They are my life--I would give my last breath for either of them without blinking!

I will tell you how I got to where I am now.  At age 33, I came into AA very sick and confused; almost completely alienated from most of my friends and many of my family.  I had lost many things due to my drinking:  I was separated from my wife three times, four drunk driving charges, jail half a dozen times, prison once, and thousands of dollars in attorney's fees and court costs.  I could not hold a job for more than a few weeks, was on the brink of a divorce, and literally dying from booze!  I had already tried to quit drinking many times, with no success and even detoxed in jail cells a few times.

My first introduction to AA was not very effective, due to a resentment the size of a small house!  As sick as I was, and as screwed up as my life was, I still thought I could stop on my own and turn my life around.  All I can tell you is I almost died trying! Everything I attempted only afforded me a day or two sober, at the most.

On June 6th, 1989, I had just been released from Adams County State prison.  I was at the lowest point of my life, and I thought there was no hope in sight.  I found myself in Baltimore standing in the inter-group office of Alcoholics Anonymous!  I knew, for the first time in my life, without help from other people, I was a dead man!  Thus started my venture into AA.  I met people just like myself, people who had been beaten to a state of misery from drinking.  I noticed something I had never noticed before; alcoholics, just like me, were happy, sober, and had found peace and serenity in their life.  I then did what I had absolutely refused to do for two and a half years around the rooms of AA, I reached out to another drunk and asked for help.  To this day, that was the single most important thing I have ever done in my life!  I was offered a solution to my problem; a way up and out!

Finally, I started to see that it was possible to not have to take a drink and to be able to live sober, one day at a time.  I had finally found the sense of "belonging" that I had been searching for most of my life!

Today, my life is more wonderful than I sometimes feel worthy of!  I have a loving and peaceful relationship with God, my family and my friends in AA.  I have a nice house, a wonderful marriage, two healthy, ornery kids, a good job, security, and a bright future!  It is a miracle and I thank God for it every single day.

My life is now focused on how to be who God has intended me to be:  A good father, husband, employee, and most of all, a channel of His love and peace that allows me the opportunity to be available and to make a difference in the lives of others.  It is a blessing that I will spend the rest of my days being grateful for!  Amen!



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