This All-American City Caused My Alcoholism!

My secret was that I was a certified addict struggling with alcoholism.  I didn’t want anyone to know, yet everyone that knew me and saw me, understood one thing: I was out of control.  So what did I do?  I moved from Kansas City to Los Angeles to get away from it all.  Mainly, I wanted to experience the party scene out West.

I told everyone that the midwest was not for me, that I belonged in a bigger city with more action. My family did not want me to move, while my friends were excited (and frightened) for my new adventure. Mostly because they wanted to live vicariously through my stories. It took me 2 days to drive out to LA. With a car full of clothes and an old college friend’s couch to surf, (until I found a place of my own) I was ready to take on the new city.

As soon as I arrived, I found my ‘home.’ I went out that night with an old college roommate, met a bunch of people and went back to their house for an after-hours party on the beach. There were pretty girls, plenty of alcohol and a ton of cocaine. Only this was different, no one was sneaking in the bathroom to hide it from each other. It was out in the open and everyone was partying from the same place. It was something out of the movies; I had never witnessed before. This was what I had come to LA to experience and I was getting it on the first night.

Clearly, my first night in LA was a sign of how my time would be out there and it was not long before my addiction and alcoholism reached new and incredible heights. My thought was since it was so readily available and since everybody partied like that, it was completely normal. I had a drug dealer that delivered straight to my apartment at all hours of the day/night. There were all night liquor stores that catered to us alcoholics regardless of time. I didn’t go anywhere: downtown, the beach, beach cities, hikes, tour the city, none of that was for me – I partied!

I went to work when it was convenient for me and then spent my nights getting whacked. My parents would come to visit me and would leave crying. They wondered how their ‘good’ midwestern son who they had raised well, turned out to be such a self centered, egotistical, impatient and judgemental asshole. They knew by their visits I was in trouble and they wanted me back home.

I missed out on a lot of that great city because I was either blacked out, whacked for days, or too hungover to leave my place.

It would have be really wonderful to have experienced that city sober. I would have loved to have gotten sober in that city. But I was in such a hurry to get out of there for fear I was going to die. I was afraid that LA was the reason for my bad alcohol and drug ‘habits’ and that I would definitely be cured with a move!

After 5 years in LA, I moved back to Kansas City; thinking my drug and alcohol ‘habits’…err alcoholism would die down. I told myself that I would limit my drug use to once every month and my drinking to a few very casual couple of nights a week. Ha. I was dead wrong!

I spent the first 3 weeks on pins and needles trying to limit my alcohol intake. I knew that once I started drinking, I was going to want to do drugs, so I was watching my consumption very carefully. As any alcoholic and drug addict knows, this ‘self managing’ behavior is absurd. I had no control over my alcohol and drug consumption. My disease was way more powerful than I was and it was about to take over.

An addict will always be able to manipulate, persuade and convince anyone to get what they want. I am a true addict. Turns out, KC was easier for me to score drugs, find the best nightclubs and run harder with the party scene than ever before. I quickly became a big fish in a small pond. and was worse of an addict in KC than I ever was in LA. I was in big trouble. It wasn’t the city that was causing my addiction – it was me!

It took me roughly 2 years of hard partying back home to realize that my ‘geographic’ reasoning was just another way to justify my addiction and alcoholism.

I had come to understand the problem was me, I had the disease of addiction and I needed help. It didn’t matter what city I lived in, I was my own worst enemy. I hear thousands of stories from sober people, many of whom had a geographical move that put them in worse shape than they were, all because they were not ready to admit that the problem was them. I love sharing this story because I know I’m not the only one!

What I get now from my sober city is: amazing fellowship, a wonderful program that I work, incredible restaurants that I now get to enjoy to their fullest, simple parties that are centered around kids and family, and a true genuine love for others in this great city that I live in. I have my sobriety to thank for that

Thanks for letting me share about my alcoholism.


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