< Chapter 4:1 Chapter 4:3 >
For each of us, we have at least one moment of clarity in our lives. This moment defines us, and determines who we will become from that point on. To me, this was the point in my life where I found myself on the edge. I was financially, spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically bankrupt, and I didn’t know where to turn. I had tried everything I could think of, but I could not control my drinking. Even more, everything in my life was out of control. I was completely unmanageable. Something had to change and for the first time in my life, I knew that what needed to change, was me.
I had the opportunity through my travels to meet with many men and women who had been where I had been. People who had been to jail, lost their families, their money, their homes, their sanity, people who were in the depths of addiction and depression. And now they were leading what seemed to be productive and, what was most important to me, sane lives. I had tried so many times on my own to stop. Telling myself I would only “have one”, or only drinking beer, or just drinking on the weekends, but nothing had worked. I had even been on a drug called anti-buse, which would make you violently sick when you drank. They even warned that if you drank too much with anti-buse in your system, you could die. It didn’t work; I drank while taking it anyway. I really did want to change the way I was living, but nothing I tried had worked. Have you ever had that feeling that you were at a jumping off point? For me, it really had reached a point where it was a decision of whether to live or die.
That morning, I took a look at my life and had what I call a moment of clarity. For the first time in my life, all the lies, all the misconceptions of my responsibility in things that had happened dissolved and I stood in front of myself looking honestly, completely honestly, at what my actions had cost me. And for once, I wasn’t blaming someone or something else. I couldn’t blame anyone, no matter how hard I tried to find some angle, some excuse to blame it on someone… anyone else. As I looked at my life from this new perception of clarity, I realized I didn’t drink and use drugs because I had problems. I realized I had problems because I drank and used drugs. For years, I’m sure that anyone who knew me could have told you that. But for an alcoholic, it is never “our fault.” As I sat there that morning, I finally saw that I was running away from life and all of life’s responsibilities no matter how small they were. For the first time, I realized that I was running away from me. And the more I ran, the more I saw that I was getting deeper into this abyss, this hole that was swallowing everything I was.
It was in that very moment of clarity that I made a decision that I could no longer go on living the way I was living. I knew that I had to make a dramatic change in my life. I had no idea how I was going to change, but I knew the only other choice I had was going to lead to an even worse nightmare. I don’t know if you can even imagine how scared I was. I was finally looking at myself honestly for the first time in years. I could deny nothing. All of my own actions had brought me to where I stood. Where could I turn to? Was it too late? Could anyone help me? Could I help myself? I had committed that I was going to change before, what was different this time?
August 22nd was only 4 days away and it went by quickly. The day came for me to appear in front of the judge and we drove back to NJ. To be honest, I didn’t know if I was going to be coming home with my family that afternoon or staying in jail. I was prepared for the worst. As he looked over my papers, the judge had asked me if I had ever been arrested for a DWI before. He had my folder right in front of him; I knew I had to be honest. I told him that yes I had been arrested for DWI 5 times in Maryland. To my surprise, he never even blinked. What surprised me even more was he asked me, “Are you sure?” I thought he was testing me, but what I would find out later was that New Jersey did not have my Maryland records. In their eyes, this was my first offense until I told them otherwise. I have to tell you right now, I don’t regret telling him the truth. Some people who learned about this have said to me, “See, if you would have only kept your mouth shut.” But I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I couldn’t play the system anymore if I was going to change my life.
The judge was looking at me in silence when the police officer came to my defense. He told the judge about how I approached him when he pulled me over and told him that I had a drinking problem and needed help. The judge still sat in silence. He was not looking kindly on the whole deal. He turned to me and asked if it was true. I decided to pull for the only help I could see. I told him that I was trying to find a rehab to go into, and that I really knew deep inside that I needed help. To be honest, I don’t know if what I was trying was another ploy at staying out of jail, or a true cry for help. But, the judge agreed to give me 30 days to find a treatment facility that would admit me and the announced his sentence. I was given 6 months Mandatory incarceration. If I could find a treatment program that would accept me within the next 30 days, and completed a 28-day alcohol and drug treatment program he would dismiss 90 days of the jail sentence. But because of this being my 6th offense, I would still need to do 3 more months in jail after I left rehab. I did the only thing I could which was accept his decision, and headed back to PA to find a rehabilitation center.
To my amazement, on my first call I found a place that was willing to take me. (Hmmmm, guardian angel again?) A small rehab in Bellefonte, PA called Tallyrand Retreat. I made the necessary arrangements with the band and walked in the doors of Tallyrand on Sept 5th, 1989.
< Chapter 4:1 Chapter 4:3 >
The Warrior Sage Chapter/Section
Who Is Willard Barth?
Preface - Exploring Strength And Weakness
Chapter 1:1 - The Process Of Self-Awareness
Chapter 1:2 The Stages Of Child Development
Chapter 2:1 The World Changed Forever
Chapter 2:2 The Vicious Cycle Begins
Chapter 2:3 Losing Faith
Chapter 2:4 My Dark Secret
Chapter 2:5 Where Is The Love I Was Promised?
Chapter 3:2 The Road To Alcohol Dependence
Chapter 3:3 Leaving My Childhood Behind
Chapter 3:4 Escaping Responsibility; The Joy Ride Ends
Chapter 3:5 Living A Duality Begins
Chapter 3:6 Out Of Control
Chapter 3:7 Crossing The Line To Insanity
Chapter 3:8 The Black-out Drinking Begins
Chapter 3:9 Facing The Music
Chapter 3:10 A New Beginning
Chapter 3:11 More Lessons To Learn
Chapter 4:1 The Final Party
Chapter 4:2 A Moment Of Clarity
Chapter 4:3 My New Life Begins
Chapter 4:4 Sober - Time To Face The World
Chapter 4:5 The First Year Of Sobriety
Chapter 4:6 Major Change Comes In Year Two
Chapter 4:7 My Daughter Is Born April 20, 1992
Chapter 5:1 Life Changing Decisions Follow My Daughter's Birth
Chapter 5:2 Recognizing The Voice Inside
Chapter 5:3 The Empress Hotel
Chapter 5:4 A New Chapter In My Life Begins
Chapter 6:1 Finding My Way Home
Chapter 6:2 Falling Into Place
Chapter 6:3 A New Awareness
Chapter 6:4 Personal Finances And Personal Development
Chapter 6:5 The George Washington Story
Chapter 6:6 Letting Go So Others Can Grow
Chapter 6:7 The Wrap Up