Destructive Behaviors

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A list of destructive behaviors and the effects that I've participated in under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Effects on my emotional life:
One of the earliest areas that using alcohol affected me emotionally was my relationship with God. I grew apart from a spiritual relationship with God at roughly 10-11 years old. This was after I had been using for a couple years and around the time that my parents were getting separated. I used alcohol to retreat from the pain of the change that was happening and I retreated from God as a result.

Over the years of drinking regularly, I grew a shell or wall around me that could only be brought down briefly when I was under the influence. I became an outcast and was very self conscience of myself around others. At school functions, like dances or field trips, I was usually the one standing by myself. I can't count how many times I would be standing with a group of people one minute only to find myself standing alone the next. That still happens to this day, but not nearly as often.

Using alcohol regularly from such an early age affected my sense of compassion for others. I still find myself having callous feelings about others that I do truly like or love.

Effects on my family, job and social life:
When I was younger and still in school and living at home there was not a huge effect on my relationship with my family or job. My social relationships are another story. I pushed away any relationship that I had once it started to blossom. I had many girlfriends or potential girlfriends that I threw away or never gave a chance in the first place because they would interfere with my relationship with alcohol. And if the potential girlfriend was already a drunk, then I didn't want her anyway.

Effects on my family came next. After I graduated and moved out on my own I grew steadily more distant with my family members. I slowly stopped attending family gatherings and generally ceased any and all communication. Looking back I see that the main reason was that I was ashamed of my using when I was sober and just didn't give a fuck when I was drunk. On the rare occasion that I would attend a gathering, I was totally uncomfortable in my own skin until the effects of the inevitable alcohol consumption kicked in. Once that happened I would be ok in my surroundings, often becoming quite jovial and usually getting way more intoxicated than intended. Usually more than others around me. If I was required to stay the night due to not being able to safely leave, the next morning would bring the same uncomfortable feelings as before the previous nights drinking. The effects on my married life were many broken promises, bills unpaid, children's school functions missed and in general caring more about maintaining a buzz than enjoying my family. Finally having to move to avoid getting evicted and living apart from my wife and kids.

Effects on my job were next. I got a degree and started a career. I managed my drinking quite well for a while, but soon was finding myself drinking on the job. I'd go to lunch and usually ended up in a bar to slam down a couple beers before getting something to eat. I would get something to eat only to try to mask the smell of alcohol on my breath. I left that job for a better one and the pattern continued. For 15 years I continued this pattern until the point that I could not even make it into work in the morning. I was reprimanded once for drinking on the job and was threatened to be fired if it happened again. I continued to drink on the job until I got my DUI, then quit. I had been doing freelance work for years and had a fair client base, so I told everyone that I quit to become self employed and that I would make twice the money with half the effort. I actually was making a third of the money with half of the effort.

Effects of spiritual life:
This part is quite simple. I ceased to have any spiritual connection at all. My higher power became the drink and I felt I needed nothing more.

Effects on my character:
The one main thing that stands out in my mind on this subject is a time that I put my friend's needs in front of my wife's and after the fact could not understand why she was so upset. Looking back I know I was acting foolish and making poor decisions, but at the time it all seemed reasonable. A sane person would have made totally different decisions in the same situation.

Insane behavior:
There are way too many things to list in detail.

I put myself and others in danger 1000's of times, yet didn't think twice about the consequences. I can't begin to recall the number of times I woke up at home with no idea how I got there, or whether or not my car was in the driveway or in a ditch somewhere.

Destructive behavior against myself and others:
Drinking and driving. 1000's of times. Many times with my kids in the car. Destroying my family life, financially, emotionally and psychologically.

Accidents caused under the influence:
I broke my leg once after consuming a fifth of tequila with a buddy and trying to play wrestle-mania, spent the weekend crawling around in pain, looking like a fool and the following week on borrowed crutches and borrowed pain-killers before finally going to a doctor.

I used to get drunk and hang out in Pioneer Square in Seattle. That in itself is dangerous and self destructive. I do not recommend it.

Wrecked my bicycle on many occasions under the influence which resulted in quite a few skinned knees, elbows and hands. Mostly I hurt my pride on those occasions.

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