James Frazer struggled with feelings of abandonment, low self-esteem, and social rejection early in life. In his mind, everyone else had it better than he did, and his lot in life was just never going to be as good as everyone else’s.
His parents divorced at a very young age and his mother sent him to live with his father, stepmother, and half-siblings after his stepfather passed away. Although he knows now that this decision was made in love, at the time, James felt abandoned and unloved.
As a gay young man raised in a Southern Baptist home, James also had a hard time coming to terms with his identity. He was overcome with shame and viewed himself as an outsider. In his new home, James experienced more emotional and physical turmoil, as his stepmother was an abusive alcoholic and addict.
“There was never the idea that she didn’t love us,” he says. “It was just that in her addiction, her love hurt.”
From Casual Drinker to Chronic Abuser
James lived life under a heavy cloud of self-loathing, and his toxic relationship with alcohol began with a simple offer. Someone asked him if he wanted some, and he said yes.
“My answer was always yes and always more,” he says. “I loved the feeling of escaping myself. When I was drunk or high, I didn’t have to think about being the ugliest guy in the room. I didn’t have to think about all of the shameful things I had done.”
At first, James only drank on the weekends. Slowly though, he began to drink nightly, at work on his lunch break, first thing in the morning, and eventually, all day, every day. To him, it was normal to have a few drinks every day. After all, he had grown up in a home where that was the norm. But somewhere along the line, James was suddenly unable to face reality without a drink in his hand.
“My life revolved around being able to drink, use, and blot out the feelings of worthlessness. I was constantly wanting to heighten the moment,” he says. “Drinking and using felt good and broke down the barriers that separated me from my fellows.”
James describes his life in active addiction as “exhausting” and “bleak.” He desperately wanted to stop drinking but couldn’t. Instead, he was constantly trying to maintain the delicate balance between comfortably drunk and totally belligerent, just so he could make it through the day.
He was miserable, depressed, and hurting. Eventually, he realized if he didn’t stop drinking, he would continue to damage his relationships and hurt all the people he cared about. Utterly hopeless, James tried to commit suicide several times, but despite his desperation, he failed to end his life and was trapped in the darkness of addiction.
Receiving the Tools to Save His Own Life
Time and time again, James would promise himself that he would get through the day without a drink. Although he really wanted to forego the alcohol, he would inevitably give in to his desire and end up intoxicated once again. It was a never-ending cycle with no escape route.
Eventually, he realized his drinking habits were out of control and he decided to enroll in rehab at Nova Recovery Center. Throughout his treatment experience, James not only overcame his physical addiction, but he also was able to arrive at a place of inner peace with himself and his loved ones.
“I honestly do not want to imagine what my life would look like had I not found Nova and let them show me how to save my own life,” he says. “I owe my life to this organization, an amazing Sponcera who helps me see exactly who I am, and the countless people in the recovery community that keep life fun.”
James got sober on January 21, 2016, and hasn’t looked back since. Although his experience at Nova Recovery Center is now over, he continues to learn and grow on a personal level.
“One of the most beneficial things I have learned is that the world does not have to change for me to be happy. If I am doing the work to discover what it is about a given situation that is bothering me, suddenly the freer I start to feel,” he says.
If you are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction like James was, he offers the following pieces of advice:
- Find a sober support network that doesn’t consist of family or existing friends.
- Work with someone closely and everyone else in the extended network periodically.
- Let go of the idea of what will work and what will not work.
- Release the notion that something doesn’t apply to you and just do what is suggested.
- Find a service commitment that is inconvenient and stick with it. You only need to prove to yourself that you can live up to the obligation.
James isn’t perfect, but he is moving forward in a new life of sobriety as an accountant that spends his days going to the beach, fellowshipping, and bedazzling life.
“If you are someone out there struggling, know that there are rooms full of people waiting to love you,” he says. “I thought after my last relapse, all my relationships in recovery had been ruined. That could not have been further from the truth. They were all there, just waiting for me to come back.”
Call Nova Recovery Center today for more information about our long-term drug and alcohol rehab program. Our admissions team is ready to take your call.