Born and raised in the heart of Cajun Country Louisiana, “Laissez les bons temps rouler” (Let the good times roll) was the way of life. Every event, and there was one daily, centered on cooking, drinking, and dancing. I was exposed to alcohol at a very early age; a sip of beer from the adults here and there, to sneaking drinks from the liquor cabinets. I witnessed first hand as a child, the destruction, devastation, and wreckage that alcohol and the alcoholic perpetrates on their loved ones. My father died at 52 due to poor health from a hard life of drinking. I swore off; “that was never going to be me!!”
Throughout my adolescence, college years, and adult life, I struggled with overindulgence with alcohol and drugs. Long successful periods of manageability and abstinence, then the vortex of chaos would touch down leaving a trail of wreckage and destruction in its path. I again would swear off never to do it again, repair the damage, and forge forward. This cycle continued, however, the periods of manageability and abstinence became shorter as the years went by; the destruction, devastation, and consequences spiraled out of control. Despite the knowledge, firsthand experience, and all the willpower I could muster, I became a slave to alcohol and drugs.
Surely I was not an alcoholic/drug addict!! Not me, I couldn’t be. I had a family, beautiful home, vacation home, Vic President of a major company, had interest in several other businesses, and all the worldly assets one could dream of, surly I could just walk away from this foolishness, I was a strong, self made success!!!
In 2007, I had a near fatal accident, which required seven surgeries over 18 months. I was prescribed an unlimited amount of narcotic pain medication for 24 months. That event unleashed my addiction like I had never seen before. For six years, six agonizing years, I sank lower and lower, and life got darker and darker. The career, the businesses, the worldly assets, the family homes, and even the family all were consequences of my addiction, all just a faint memory. My life was over, had it all, and lost it all.
In my darkest hour, I reached out to someone I met in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous years prior. I had received my first gift in recovery, the Gift Of Desperation. This man, following step 12 of Alcoholics Anonymous came to my aide. He said I never had to feel this way again. He spoke of a life beyond my wildest imagination; all could be mine if I was “willing to go to any length to get it”. I was ready, I was beyond ready, my best idea was to just give up and end my life. Surly, this was worth a try, it worked for him and countless others.
Off I went, didn’t know where I was going, but was willing to follow Good Orderly Direction. I spent five months in a remarkable in-patient program. I worked, and worked, got honest, really honest for the first time in my life, became teachable, became vulnerable and stayed willing. I followed Good Orderly Direction once again, and continued my recovery journey with eight months in a half way house. This phase of my journey proved to be invaluable in acquiring, learning, and practicing the application of the tools to keep sober outside of the confines and safety of in-patient care. Attending multiple 12-step recovery meetings daily, working through the steps with a sponsor, and developing a Higher Power of my own understanding, began to give me hope that I was not “permanently broken”. Still needing extensive work, and remaining willing to follow Good Orderly Direction, I enrolled in a relapse prevention intensive outpatient program for 14 months. Additionally, I enrolled my three sons and I in a one-week intensive to begin the repair process of the damage I caused in the pits of my addiction. The miracles of recovery were beginning to take affect in my life and the life of those around me. I later followed up, at the same facility, a one-week intensive to deal with some lifelong trauma issues, again, another miracle of recovery and willingness.
Being the Father I never had, but always longed for, to my sons today, active involvement in twelve-step recovery, working with other addicts and alcoholics daily, service work, continued individual therapy, and a trust and belief in a God of my own understanding, has given me freedom from drugs and alcohol. Today, I have a life that exceeds anything and everything I have experience or dreamed of.
My journey; from the beginning as a young adolescent, to my business success and imamate failure, my experience as a father, my journey from the gates of hell to a life so abundant, has prepared me to offer my experience, strength, hope, and guidance to those willing to follow the path to freedom that is available to all.