My name is Kristian, I am an alcoholic.
I’ve uttered those words countless times over the last thirty-one days. I’m not ashamed to say it either. Judging by my social media accounts and a few scattered text messages on our WWL text line, some of you wondered about my whereabouts. No, I didn’t catch Covid-19, and no, I wasn’t suspended. Twenty-nine days ago, I checked myself into an addiction treatment facility in central Louisiana to treat my substance abuse. I’m out of treatment now, but the road to sobriety is just beginning.
For the better part of the last 10 years save for the last thirty-one days I would drink until black out, every night, every week, of every month. I was sober here and there for a few days at a time, but none longer than a handful at a time. I was never drunk on the air or on the job in any capacity. I drank, alone at night after work in a very dark and scary solitude. I drank to escape my fears; I used alcohol to mask my social anxiety and to “manage” the stress of life. I ran from my fears to the bottle.
Some of you reading this might have an addict/alcoholic in your family or life who is in recovery, or an addict/alcoholic who hasn’t yet decided to admit it or get help.
Getting help was perhaps the hardest decision I ever had to make. Here I was, pretty successful, with a good job. My bills were paid, my kids are healthy and I’m a father actively involved in their lives. Nothing the matter, right? Not so fast. Just to give you the insight into the depth of my drinking; I didn’t just drink three or four beers and call it quits. I drank a 12 pack of beer and a fifth of whiskey nearly every night for the past ten years.
I didn’t want to admit I was an alcoholic. But, what my brain and heart refused to realize, my body actualized. My body told me that I needed to knock it off and do so quickly. My blood pressure was at a life-threatening level. My liver enzymes were at a very dangerous level too. This once fit Marine sergeant had even become morbidly obese. The end result- I drank myself into a type two diabetic. That’s my reward for neglect, remorse...for hiding out. That’s what I got from years of drinking my fears away...for not facing the man in the mirror.
So here I am, thirty-one days sober wondering..what is next for me? I go to one or two Alcoholics Anonymous meetings a day in the metro area. The good thing is I know I’m not alone. In fact, some of you reading this are either in recovery or thinking about getting help for your addiction. The statistics prove that fact. If I can only reach one of you who is struggling with addiction, then I consider my confession, my outreach a success.
If you are scared, don’t be. If you think there is no way out, you are wrong. I thought that! Prior to seeking help, I was resigned to the idea that my life was just going to involve alcohol every day, until I either I found a new way of life (won’t happen) or died.
Truth is...I would be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified right now. I used to go to bed completely oblivious to the world I had to wake up to because I was so intoxicated, I didn’t comprehend the world after several drinks. It’s the way I wanted to be. Numb. Without pain. Now, I wake up willing to tackle my fears, run toward them instead of away from them. I’m still scared, check that... completely terrified, but I’m willing to face life’s challenges sober.
I’m scared because I didn’t live in reality for the last ten years, and now I have to live sober for the rest of my life or it could mean the end of my life. I mean that. The next time I take a drink, it could kill me. Alcoholism/addiction is a progressive disease that only gets worse, never better. Some of you can have a couple of drinks on the weekend or a couple times a year and leave it alone. Addicts/alcoholics..we can’t do that. If we have one, it turns into multiple drinks and then... off to the races.
In thirty-one days, I’ve thought about drinking. Again, I’m an alcoholic so who could blame me. The difference so far is, I like being sober. I like what life has to offer when I am sober. I was angry, I thought the world owed me something. I was self-centered, selfish and my life, my thoughts, my emotions were out of control.
My drinking began when my marriage started to fall apart in 2010. At the time I passed it off as my ex-wife’s fault. Looking back, it was my fault 100%. As the marriage progressively soured, my drinking increased.
I used to buy a six pack on my way home from work and sit in my driveway smashing four or five of the six beers I bought before walking into my house. I did this to numb the pain I caused myself, ending my marriage. I told myself then that I threw back beer after beer after beer to face the agony of verbal battles with my wife. Truth is, the battles were within me. She wasn’t the enemy...I was.
Over the course of the next decade, I just thought this is my life. This is the way it’s going to be. I hid my drinking so well that most of my close friends were shocked when I told them that I went to rehab and that I was an alcoholic. I didn’t drink in front of people, at parties, or social gatherings. I drank alone, isolated in my own dark reality. Addicts/alcoholics are masters at leading double lives. Nothing is truer than my case of addiction.
Before I close, I want to thank my co-workers and management at WWL (Diane Newman and Kevin Cassidy in particular), and our parent company Entercom. The outpouring of support from the few who knew of my addiction leading up to treatment is sincerely appreciated. That support will help me tremendously in my life long battle against alcoholism.
Last and certainly not least, I want to thank the fans of Sports Talk and fans of mine for thinking about me during my absence. Thank you for praying that I was ok. I’d like to tell you I’m fine, but that is simply not the case. However, I’m getting there. Easy does it! One step at a time.
I’m sharing this with you, because you are a part of my life. I spend four hours every weeknight with you. I spend hours every year prior to and after Saints games and on LSU Saturdays... celebrating big wins and commiserating after tough losses. You allow me in your car, home, garage and even in your workplace. You are not just a listener, you are a member of my extended family. I want you to know who you are talking to when you call in; who you agree with or disagree with, challenge or vehemently criticize as you listen to the radio. My name is Kristian, I am an alcoholic.