One Day at a Time
I can only name a few times in my life when I drank “moderately” – as in just a couple of drinks. Maybe it started like that, but for the most part, I used alcohol to settle my nerves, relieve stress, it was my crutch. I realize now and probably knew then, that it made matters much worse for me. Instead of it stopping me, I drank more to try and shut down my brain. Maybe in a sense it did just that. It took a while for me to admit that my life had become “unmanageable” as a result of my obsession with alcohol.
As a child, I was very high strung. One of those kids that could never sit still. It’s brand new for me to sit alone in a quiet environment to reflect. But doing so has had a huge impact on my recovery.
I recall sitting on my father’s lap (I would say I was about 10 at the time) in a deer stand at the JH Rose Ranch on a cool winter morning. We were sitting there watching a 5-point buck. Typical hunting story, except for the fact that my dad had a pint of Apricot Brandy that I can distinctly remember being overly curious about, while watching him sip it. I asked if I could have a taste, a shot really, and without any hesitation he handed it over. I remember the feeling as if it were yesterday … it tasted great hanging out in the cold with my dad, my hero. He was an awesome man, a really tough guy – loud, fun, yet very loving. He was a detective and lived on the edge and took alot of risks proessionally and personally. I probably thought of him the same way my boys thought of me when they were growing up. The difference with my boys is that I’m still here. My dad passed away when I was fourteen years old. He was 49.
As the years went on, I had a lot of mentors that of course, never took my dad’s place, but they were definitely in my life to fill the void, in a sense. Most were some awesome cowboys that I looked up to. Great guys that knew how to have a good time. I was all about that roping deal. Drink, win a little – not very much, but enough to keep on rolling. If I came up short on winning, it was never a problem. My mom always had my back. I could always get by even if it was turning to the alcohol. I really cherish those moments, and wouldn’t necessarily take them back, but it led me to my destructive behavior. I now look back at that day in the deer stand as my first “allergic reaction” to alcohol. I now have an understanding that alcoholism is real. Not everyone has an allergic reaction. I raised a cowboy son, not blood, but close enough. Even though we grew up right beside each other, I have always considered this man a son. I remember him always saying “I’m not going to be like y’all when I grow up”. By “Y’all” he meant me, really, and the cowboys I hung out with at the bar every night, talking about roping – drinknig one drink after another. He never had the allergic reaction like I did and I know that if he had this disease, he wouldn’t have ended up at the top of the profession. He focused on roping and ended up being an 8 time world champion of Pro Rodeo. As my life went forward, my focus was far different.
I was obsessed with everything money could buy. I used my ability to run a business to buy me happiness. And I thought that I could buy my boy’s respect and my wife’s love, even though none of them really ever needed any of it. I never knew that money couldn’t buy inner peace! So, it’s obvious to me now that my allergic reaction to alcohol clouded my priorities, but in hindsight, had I not gone through it all, I wouldn’t be here telling you my story. June 22, 2012 would have had no significance. It was the best childhood and life I could have dreamed of. It was the life I had. My story.
And in my story, June 22, 2012 is extremely significant. I was coming home from a bar in a town that I loved dearly (and still do) and it hit me just like that. I told my wife, “I’M DONE” [drinking].
Boy, was I miserable at first! I started off replacing my “couldn’t go without it Bud Light” with NA (non-acoholic) beer. Initially, it was only about not drinking anymore. It was a gradual process. I figured out quickly that I could easily do without a drink, but it was gradual for my eyes to be opened to realize that I wasn’t going to “treat” my alcoholism, I was going to beat it.
It began by me learning from another friend in that small town (also an alcoholic) and my life started taking on a whole new meaning. I never had to leave the scene to stop so it definitely wasn’t geography – except maybe what was between my ears! He gave me some tools from, what I call, “a simple program for complicated people”. Tools that led me to begin a journey to try to figure out a better way to live and behave like a normal person … a new way to live.
Out of that town, back to my home town and now here in Puerto Vallarta, I continue to practice the outlined principles and really take action in applying them to my life. As I progress, I’m still the same person, still the same Roy. Just trying to find my spot in the middle. I have always said that “if you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space!” I would rather be somewhere closer to the middle now, because maybe I’m trying to make room for more than just me. I’ve got God by my side now and I know that the wreckage from my past that has affected my wife, kids, daughter-in-laws, brother, mom, etc., is all going to be mended. I’ve moved back a bit to let someone else take the reigns and though it is a constant struggle, my babies (which are grown men) and my wife have all given me hope. They have all been behind me in this journey and for that I will thrive to do the best of my ability. I will make it as right as I can while I am alive to stop the wreckage and appreciate how my boys have developed and will continue to develop as men and husband’s. If a little bit of this rubs off on them, then they will pass the positive on to their wives and children. Better futures for all. Things money can’t buy.
This is new for me, but I hope that sharing my story will help someone. This is only the beginning and I pray, with as much positive spirituality as I can obtain moving forward, that God will carry me through the next chapter of my story. Not to delete any previous chapters, but only to make the ending better!