It's ok to ask for help



"Alcohol is against my religion, and I never even had the desire to taste it."

I never thought I would have the problem. Alcohol is against my religion, and I never even had the desire to taste it. People pass by me all the time with alcohol in their hands and the smell nor appearance ever phased me. Rooftop parties and gatherings with friends always included booze, but I never cared to try it. It wasn’t until I took that stupid job where everything changed in my life. 

Over the summer, I visited my dad in Illinois to spend some “quality time” with him. Mom warned me to be careful and not feed into dad’s wild notions on life. She wasn’t happy that dad owned a liquor store. Mom was more religious though. She believed that dad was not only wronging himself by owning an alcohol shop, but he was also mistreating the family by providing food and shelter from the proceeds of a forbidden practice. Dad asked me to work at the store to make some money and learn the ropes of running a business. Within a week, I already managed to open up, close out the cashier and pay the additional employees. Every time I’d close up, I would come in contact with a group of guys who were pretty cool; they’d greet me and invite me to hang out. My gut told me they were bad news, and so I followed my gut by kindly delaying the offer for another night.

One day, in particular, I had a terrible day at work. Everything was going wrong. You know what they say…” When it rains, it pours!” I couldn’t wait for the end of the day to come just so I can get out of there. It finally came time to close up, and as always, I bump into the same group of guys. This time, I decided to join them. That was the first day I tried my first beer, and all I can share, it definitely was not the last time.

"Drinking became a habit, part of the nightly routine. Then it became a dependency."


One-day lead to the next. Drinking became a habit, part of the nightly routine. Then it became a dependency. I couldn’t sleep unless I had it. I couldn’t function the same unless it was in my system. My dad couldn’t tolerate my negligence and asked me to cut my trip short and go back to living with mom. When I got home, it seemed that mom had already been warned of my “problem”. She asked me to shower and gave me a disgusting drink made of garlic and lemon; I guess she thought I was going to barf all the toxins out of my system. Once she went to bed, I left in search of alcohol. Pretty soon, I became more than just an addict. I was dependent on the alcohol to actually operate as a human. It was terrible. 

There is always light at the end of the tunnel. Even though I knew I had the alcohol addiction, and that I was having a serious problem, I was willing to go through an intervention. I was grossed out with myself. I wanted to go back to having clear skin and great energy to enjoy life. I came across a program flyer at the nearby community center. The program discussed alcohol addiction and an evidence-based program that can help ween me off within 10 weeks. I went in, introduced myself, and was given all these resources. I met with a group of people facing the same problem as me. Collectively, we uplifted each other and worked on preventing the urge to drink together. It was a great experience. The staff really believed in me. I had a therapist that listened, actually listened. I had a case manager that provided me with weekly check-ins to make sure I was on the track that I pledged to be on. 

Here I am sharing my story. I tell you, it was not easy. But it was definitely worth the struggle.