My name is Jerod, I am a professional classical composer, a dad and a grateful alcoholic. The reason I clarify this is, in my profession, it is entirely impossible for me to function while drinking. Although my drinking career was relatively short, this “cunning and baffling” monster took hold of me as significantly as any alcoholic.
I didn’t grow up drinking, nor was alcohol available to me as a child. Whenever I did drink as a young adult, it was extremely rare and I always became discouraged as soon as I felt any effects. I would be very relieved when I felt any type of buzz subside, so I didn’t drink.
Two and a half years ago, I discovered A Chance to Change by accident, while speaking to my doctor about prescribing Antabuse. At that time, I didn’t realize my drinking was a symptom of a much deeper and life-long set of pains.
In working with A Chance to Change, I became very confused; not because they were doing anything wrong. In fact, it was because they were doing everything right. My life started to reveal itself in a way that horrified me and I became terrified. In this journey of recovery, I had to face the reality that I was in a marriage that was going to fail, no matter what I did wrong or right, and my drinking was out of control. So, again, I tried a series of attempts to buckle down and stop drinking. I felt I could simply will myself into a better condition.
I had succeeded in abstaining long enough to complete a symphonic commission, only to binge immediately after a concert premiere. Eventually, my internal pain became so great that I couldn’t tell the difference between taking a break from drinking or being sober. It all felt the same. After my final drunk, I stopped the train, called my therapist, all my friends and family and then admitted myself into rehab. I knew this had to end or it would kill me.
I removed myself from my house, moved in with a friend for a weekend, then moved in with my parents before checking into rehab for three weeks. In rehab everything I was learning from A Chance to Change came together. It all made sense and I could finally see the support I had. I anchored myself to the life support system my ACTC therapists had so patiently and consistently provided and they became my unshakable foundation.
I had a profound spiritual and psychic awakening that completely opened me up and I dove right in. Instead of fighting shame for being an alcoholic, I found pure liberation in embracing the truth. I began my commitment of 90 meetings in 90 days, and I have not stopped.
I can say, with absolute clarity, that A Chance to Change is the reason I made it through all of this. Now, I have the joy of addressing the hard and deep life work. Alcohol was a symptom of larger issues and I can honestly say, that I prefer this challenging and meaningful journey.
I will soon celebrate one year of sobriety and had a premiere performance with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. My son, family, ex-wife and many members of my AA community were there to enjoy my success. Now on to chapter two…