I’m Chaz. Glad to meet ya.
I graduated Magna Cum Laude in Business from a notable institution. Have worked in Technical Sales for many years.
By age 29, I thought I had everything. Less than 10 years later, almost lost it all. 5 years after that, I am recovering and gaining back much of what I lost. In many respects, more than what I lost. I am not talking about materially, although that is coming back too.
More importantly, the journey through the hell of betrayal, divorce, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, financial crisis, depression, and anxiety has forced me to dig deep and search wide for wisdom and recovery. As a result of the journey, I have found inner peace like I have never known. I no longer need booze or drugs. I seldom feel depressed or anxious. Today life is good. Very good. The good things are gifts for which I am grateful.
I try to share these gifts that I was freely given with all those whose paths I cross. I hope I can share some of them with you.
I grew up in a working class family. My parents were divorced when I was quite young which was untypical in my neighbourhood. This left me with feelings of being different. Plus a less common name and less common ethnic background. I am sure many of us can relate to feeling different. No matter how much others see us as “part of”.
I did much of the typical teenage stuff growing up including party drinking, some marijuana smoking, chasing girls. But basically was a typically functioning teenager and enjoyed popularity, friends, family, sports, and adventure.
My Dad was an alcoholic. So were other family members as I later found out. I swore I would never drink like my Dad. I despised his behavior. My mother always made sure that although he was difficult, that we maintained a relationship with him and revered him as our father. For this I am grateful.
I got married in my early 20’s. Got an education. Got a career. Bought a house. Had wonderful kids. Things seemed ideal. Maybe it was too much too soon. I don’t know. I did not drink through any of this. My whole adult life, I felt a mild depression lying just below the surface. I was often anxious too. I always feared failure even though life appeared to be a tremendous success.
As life’s pressures mounted, and booze was offered to me in business and social functions, I found it very easy to say yes. Inside, I remember saying to myself, “Man, I love this stuff. Good thing there isn’t much alcohol in my environment or I might become an alcoholic”. So I fooled myself that my enjoyment of drinking and increased frequency was not a pathway to active alcoholism. And certainly I was not a conspicuous drunk like my Dad.
One thing led to another and my marriage started to get strained. Due to a lot of factors including booze, my marriage ended with my ex leaving for another man. This hurt to say the least. I was devastated. Loss is one thing…seeing the one you lose with someone else right in front of you is something else. The life you created with all of your blood, sweat and tears simply ends one day and is served up to another man. Me out, him in. That fast, that shocking, that painful.
I quit the booze, or so I thought, with sheer willpower. As the pain of the divorce escalated, I lost it. I wanted to die. I approached suicide a few times. I truly felt I had lost touch with reality. Every waking moment was living hell. I was haunted with dreams. All I thought of was suicide, suicide, suicide. I tried antidepressants. Didn’t work. So I figured it was ok to self-medicate and went back to booze.
Wrong time, wrong place, wrong blood alcohol level…. I got introduced to drugs. Life got a lot more complicated at this point. Total chaos. My world blew up in every way. Emotionally, relationally, financially, physically.
I have never lived on the street but I was headed that way. Drugs will take you there. So will booze. I went from a comfortable suburban life to almost nothing. I am grateful to say I have been given the opportunity to rebuild and recover.
Through a lot of effort and intervention, I was able to get off drugs and booze. My life was still in shambles, but at least I was alive and had some capabilities to work with. I am clean and sober a few years now. I have found ways to deal with much of my anxiety and depression. These journeys continue and probably will for the rest of my life. But this I will say, things are amazingly better.
I have since remarried and restored relationships with my kids, family and friends. I changed careers and have begun rebuilding life. I am blessed for the opportunity to do so.
I hope my story and journey is helpful to you.