Tag Archives: alcoholics anonymous

How I Got and Stayed Sober in 5 Steps: My Journey, 13 Years later…

Authors Note: Some of what you’re about to read may disturb and/or bother you. But, here is my attitude about that, first, how intriguing of a beginning huh? I got your attention, now I better not fuck it up. Back to my attitude, if things in life don’t bother those that are the subject, than I really don’t find it necessary to allow myself to be bothered by it. Unless the subject isn’t strong enough to have a choice, then, you have the strength of two and fight for them. This isn’t one of those cases.

For those who have read many of my tales, you know they usually consist of online dating fails or experiences at self-help seminars. But guess what? I’m actually a paid blogger now! No shit, big shout out to Chris at Six Marketing for taking a chance on a guy known for self-deprecating vulgar posts where I take aim at defenseless, psychotic women.

Authors Note: Holy shit do I have a story for you! I’ve written 3/4 of it, but I can’t release it quite yet. It’s called “The Rosary”. TEASE!

Nonetheless, I’m a paid blogger. And yes, I have a crush on a girl that is way too young for me. Why? Because I’m a non-committal douchebag (more on that in a moment) who loves pretty girls. Anyway, yeah, I wrote it. Let the line for possible sexual harassment suit start right…here. Kidding, I don’t have the balls to sexually harass someone. Matter of fact, I’m typically the one being harassed. What can I say, my ass of a pregnant black chick looks nice in a pair of designer jeans.

So, I’m told.
Anniversary Alert

Yesterday, I was about to hop on the Facebook to stalk all you like usual, but my computer loves to post images on my log in screen. Typically they consist of beautiful, exotic locations I could never afford to voyage off to. Even though these shit brown, near and now far sighted eyes of mine have been blessed with the marvels of God’s canvas.

Other times, I have images of spectacular animals from said regions and beyond. Well, I was graced with a picture of a snow owl that looked as if it was dying of laughter.

laughing snow owl

This isn’t the exact one, but it’s equally as magnificent.

Anyway, I instantly googled images of laughing white owls. They are actually snow owls, but I guess I have some deep seeded racism within me. And to think, the race of my sexual conquests are as diverse as the Captain Planet Planeteers!

Never had a ginger though…I don’t think…Maybe…I had spots on my penis once afterward, so I may have…

Anyway, while googling said images of said owls, I came across one that looked drunk

drunk keith owl

And another that looked stoned

hippie keith owl

And then I recalled something… It’s been 13 years since I stopped getting piss the bed drunk and almost having a heart attack on cocaine.

And then I thought to myself, “self, why don’t we tell people how we got there?” God forbid I write about something other than my self absorbed ramblings about the opposite sex and Tony Robbins.

I mean, I’ve almost overdosed twice. Once, was half-hearted intentional when I was 17. I say half hearted because right in the middle of it all, I grabbed a handful of my late, the man I aspire to be, grandfathers xanax. And when I say half-hearted, I mean this: In my drunken, drugged haze, I went downstairs to grab more xanax, I did. Then, well then, I put some back. You tell me if I wanted to die that night?

As opposed to the completely unintentional time I was “coked outta my skull” on my lifelong friends couch, her mothers couch to be precise, and my heart was beating so hard it caused my sternum to visibly bounce. And it just…wouldn’t…stop…I prepared myself mentally to die that night… Not a good time, not at all.

Funny how as I write this, and anyone suffering from any form of addiction will empathize, I realize:

While under the influence, your mind wants more than your heart can handle.

Yet while sober, your heart wants more than your mind can handle.

Folks, I know myself. I know myself quite well. Whether it’s telling you about why I’m god fucking awful at dating and/or relationships. Whether it’s telling you about my journey externally and more so internally on a voyage into and through “Emotional College”.

And, whether it was being treated at facility at the age of 17 for my aforementioned suicide attempt, whether it was for the weeks that followed surrounded by court mandated alcoholics and drug addicts who were twice if not three times my age, or whether it was from all the projectiles being flung at me from all angles of life…Many of which, self-induced…

It’s time to share a story about how I got to 13 years without a sip or a snort.
Step 1: Acceptance

Ya, there was none of that.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew good and goddamn well that I was sucking at life. But, when you’re in the deep end of the Olympic sized pool of addiction, all that matters is when you’re getting more and how…

Truth be told, when I officially went sober a week and a half into February of 2005, it wasn’t the first time. Hell, it wasn’t the first time in six months. And I’m clueless as to why I went sober six months earlier.

But, I could tell you about the night I relapsed. I could tell you what caused it. And I could tell you about the hell that followed including getting thrown out of college and having one of my best friends swallow a self-inflicted bullet.

Instead, I will tell you the last bit of “cocaine” I did was probably powdered sugar. No, it was powdered sugar. And thank god, because I had just polished off an “eight ball” of blow hours earlier. No, not by myself, but when I was sharing, I sure as shit was inhaling right next to them. By the way, those that don’t know why it’s called an eight ball, it’s mathematics. An eight ball is 3.5 grams of coke. An 1/8th of an ounce. Your street cred just increased by one point, you’re welcome.

And the last bit of alcohol I tasted was a warm Miller Lite.

Two days later, I got pulled over.

Driving to work, a block drive from where I was living, I got nabbed because I didn’t have my seat belt on and I didn’t have my 93′ Cadillac El Dorado (I’m such an asshole) inspected.

I mean who could afford to get something like a car inspected when I was paying 80 fucking dollars for a goddamn gram of confectionery sugar?

Nonetheless, I got pulled over and ticketed. I was informed by said officer if my car were to be inspected within the next week, I would have my ticket torn up.

Told the cat at work I needed to take care of some personal shit and took my car to the local garage, Blows Service Station. Still to this day, greatest slogan ever:

“There’s no job like a Blow job!”

No shit, their last name was Blow. People so wanted to be offended. Especially in city of 12,000 that had 3 Catholic Churches. Know why they couldn’t?


I’ve been going there for years, they even gave me a t-shirt. God I loved that shirt.

But on this day, they weren’t going to give me an inspection sticker unless I had $1500 for new brake lines and some other shit that sounded like high pitch ringing once I heard $1500.

Instead, well, they may have saved my life.
Step 2: Make a decision and get leverage against yourself

So, of course, I couldn’t afford the repairs, I mean $1500 is a fuckload of powdered sugar.

What was I to do?

God knows it wasn’t simply go to one of the 975 other places in Vermont that would have inspected my wannabe mafioso, chubby, hairy ass. I mean, I wasn’t too fat back then. After I quit drinking, different story. After I quit drinking, I looked like a glazed ham that got dropped on a barber shop floor.

hairy guy selfie

I wasn’t THAT bad. But I’m a little furry. And when I say a little furry, I don’t mean I’m little and dress like an animal while attending conventions for said fettish.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, I didn’t go to the garage in Proctor with a guy named Ernie who would throw an inspection sticker on my window for a twenty. Instead, I did the rational thing.

Ya, I couldn’t afford a new one. And no, it wasn’t because of my negotiating sugar price skills. It was because my credit was so good I received no less than 5 calls a day from credit card companies wishing to speak to me.

Needless to say, I owed a few bucks.

Needless to say, I was failing at life.

Needless to say, I needed something that would snap me out of it.

And it came from the most obvious of places:

A 1999 Ford Explorer with a dent in the door.

Somehow, I was able to get approved, but the cost? $100 more a month than I was already paying…or more so, not paying for my Caddy.

How was I going to do it?

“Fine, I’ll have to quit drinking and doing drugs”.

Funny, in life, at least back then, I would select one person every year, consciously or subconciously to be my arch nemesis. And back on this day, it just so happened to be the gal selling me this car.

“Like you can do that.” She quipped in condescending yet accurately cunty way.

Little did she know that’s what I respond to.

Doubt me, please.

Let me know you feel that way, please.

Because, that’s when I say:

“Fuck you, watch!”

I should really thank her for that…

Ya, Im good.

Step 3: Commitment

Oh the first few days were hell. You have to cut out at least 25 people from your life, and even alienate yourself from the only friends you thought you knew. And somehow ask for forgiveness from the ones that watched you die from the sidelines.

Try not to get angry with those that say, “I was going to tell you that you need to quit”.

Try not to respond with, “Oh really? I would of thanked you if you did”.

Which is nothing more than a bold faced bullshit of a lie. Like I would of listened to anyone. Cindy Crawford could have been naked with a sash saying “Property of Keith Hannigan” telling me I was dying from my addiction. And I would have told her to go fuck herself and she turned Richard Gere gay.

For you see, I was simply looking for someone, anyone to be pissed off with.

When the cocksucker in the mirror is the one I truly hated.

You go and tell your mother and kid brother that you’re an alcoholic and an addict. She doesn’t know what to do, so she offers you to cook for you. Bless her heart. All the while kid brother looks at you and you see him judging you as weak and a coward. Bless his heart, he’s just sick of being scared about losing his only brother.

You tell your dad and he freezes. Bless his heart, only months earlier he was suffering from a marriage he couldn’t escape from.

Bless your friends that didn’t know how to respond because at the age of 26, who could have such a drug and drinking problem? I mean, that’s for guys in their 40’s and 50’s…right?

Bless all them for only years earlier, they were all standing above you in a hospital room asking:


You want to be angry, so angry. What the fuck! Why can’t I drink? Why can’t I ever again have a goddamn sip ever again? Why God, why did you do this to me?!? What did I do, huh? What the fuck did I ever do to you to give me this goddamn disease? Fuck you God, FUCK YOU!

Then, well, God gave me this and…I cried… a lot…

God also gave me a friend, her name was Nina. She too was battling this godforsaken disease. A disease I’ve had since birth. A disease I still have. A disease that is mine for perpetuity.

And Nina, well, she held my hand for the first month, because the first month, I wasn’t just struggling mentally. I wasn’t just struggling spiritually…I began to suffer physically…
Step 4: Supplementing and Rewarding

Now, there is a fat kid within me. People that see me today don’t believe it, but…well…

Fat Keith

Ya, I’m the one with the tits on the right.

Sugar… I had an unquenchable hunger for all I could get my hands on. And now that I was sober, I stopped paying $80 a gram for it. But Ben and Jerry’s is pretty goddamn close!

Not to mention my marijuana consumption had grown exponentially trying to alleviate the pain of withdrawal. Withdrawal feeling like you have the goddamn Bird-Flu for a month.

Authors Note: For those that say marijuana is a “gate way drug”. Folks, when I drank, I snorted cocaine, pills, and anything I could break into a powder. I smoked crack, cocaine, pills and anything that could be smoked. And I tried to sleep with any woman that gave me a second look. Good thing there is a very true tale of what cocaine does to the male libido at 4am. Very true. Meanwhile, pot, ya, it made me want to write, it made me want to eat Ben and Jerry’s and it made me want to kick my roommates ass in Madden. You tell me which one is the gateway drug!

You try to not smoke a carton of cigarettes a week because, well, your caffeine intake has also doubled if not quadrupled. And nothing pairs as well as a Marlboro Medium and a Vanilla Caramel Coffeemate.

Authors Note: This week is also my 10 year Anniversary for quitting butts. Now that, that sucked! Again though, the same principles here applied. And yes, including my marijuana consumption.

Then, then you realize something…you have more money. Holy shit, you have a lot more money. Don’t get me wrong, your luxurious tastes in ice cream (something about high priced sugar and me), coffee, cigarettes, and marijuana deplete the account. But not nightly. Not like before. So, what do you do with all this excessive income?

Save? Boring.

Pay off debt? Only as much as necessary to stop the cell phone from ringing.

And did it ever stop ringing. Especially when you think you’ve lost all of your friends. But you didn’t. Just the posers drifted away and the real ones came and took rightful place.

Not many, just the perfect amount.

You set up a reward system. Once a week, every week that goes by without a sip or a snort, you buy a dvd or a cd. The things that actually provided you joy, real, true joy. Movies and music.

But you keep thinking of something…

You miss your friend, Rocco. He was my friend who shot himself. He would have liked this healing version of me.

Instead, well, you only remember not answering his call because you were too hungover. The call he made the day before he, well, you know where this is going.
Step 5: Life without being numb.

There were days, weeks, months, and years that comprised the past 13 years where a drink would have been nice. Anything would have been nicer than having to sit and absorb, deal, think, and feel things like a painful divorce.

Instead, well, you grow.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still the 5’6 guy that has a slight Napoleon complex and I guess is racist too. Who knew? Goddamn snow owls.

You develop new addictions. You know this about yourself. You know you have this addictive personality which goes guns blazing into everything that you do. So, you focus on your health. You focus on your fitness. You focus on your mental strength. You focus on getting smarter. You go back to school and knock it out of the fucking park while finding the one thing that you’re blessed enough to not only love to do, but actually have some talent at. And you focus on becoming an emotional titan with the ability to tell your tale in hopes of someone reading this and realizing they are not alone.

But first, you needed to ask for forgiveness and more importantly, you need to forgive.

Yom Kippur is the day where those of a Jewish faith ask for the forgiveness of God. The day before is Erev Yom Kippur, the day you ask for the forgiveness of your fellow man.

In the years that followed, you ask for the forgiveness from the ones you loved, yet hurt.

In the years that followed, you forgave and thanked the ones you hated, yet loved.

And then, one day, well, one day you look in the mirror and ask for his forgiveness.

One day you look into the mirror and you forgive him for all that he put you through…

And one day you look into the mirror and you thank him.

Because without him, you wouldn’t be who you are today.