WILSON | ‘Every day of my life I wake up so happy I’m not drunk’

“Yeah, there’s something about being out on the ocean. The intensity of Mother Nature.

The exhilaration of catching all that fish started at an early age — eight years old — then it just became a part of me.

One of my grandparents adopted me. They were my parents and I just followed my grandfather everywhere. I remember going to church and falling asleep on his chest when I was four years old.

So we built that father-son relationship. He was my mentor and my teacher and pretty much my world.

I started drinking at the age of 12. I was drinking pretty regularly with my brothers. I thought that’s what all kids do.

I was at this friend’s trailer and we were drinking. The state troopers found me and said that I needed to call home, ‘Bad news, your grandfather passed away.’

I didn’t know how to respond and just said, ‘okay, okay.’ There was just a lot of pain and I remember sitting in the middle of the floor crying.

It really hurt and I think about it right now and a lot of memories come back.

I drank a lot. My alcoholism really picked up. The [boat] captain said, ‘Wilson, we just can’t have you when you’re drinking,’ and he fired me.

We got rid of the family boat. I was homeless. I had no direction in life.

I kept bugging employers about mining and they said, ‘we have a job‘ and I said yes.

I’ve lost some good friends underground. Myself, I’ve been very close to death.

That kind of lifestyle — a lot of drinking, a lot of drugs and sleeping with other wives — was just a really dysfunctional lifestyle.

I was an alcoholic for 30 years. I struggled so hard with my addiction, living that kind of lifestyle.

I said to myself, ‘you know what? I’ve worked so hard and been through so much danger that I deserve to drink.”

I was always drinking almost half a gallon every two days. I was smoking crack and I got introduced to heroin.

One night at about three in the morning I panicked. I didn’t know where I was. I needed something to drink.

I remember drinking a whole bottle of wine in two drinks. That calmed my nerves.

At about 6:30 my brother was taking me to my job. I was still intoxicated and I started to feel I was trembling.

That’s where I hit my rock-bottom emotionally and I looked at him and said, ‘can you just take me to the ER?’

At that moment I decided, ‘I’m gonna commit myself to sobriety,’ and I took it very seriously.

I felt so relieved, like I was released from bondage.

I thought about all the ugly feelings and I never ever want to feel that way again.

I remember the peacefulness when I reflected back on waking up Sundays and going to church.

I was thinking about how I grew up in The Salvation Army so I went to it and I really felt the holy spirit in me.

You know, I was just overwhelmed. I started to cry and I was just so happy. I said, ‘I really love you God.’

After that I was different.

Every day of my life I wake up so happy. I’m not drunk. I’m not shaking. I’m not in that despair. I just love the new life.”

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If you need help battling addiction or want to help someone like Wilson, please click here for more information on The Salvation Army’s website.

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