Individual Skill Development and Enhancement
My name is Brian, and I am in recovery. My earliest memories were growing up on my grandfather’s farm. My mother left my father because of his alcohol addiction when I was a baby. We moved back to my mother’s childhood home. She remarried when I was 5 years old and I was legally adopted because my biological father had not seen me in years and avoided all child support. I now had a father; 2 brothers and we soon added a little sister to our family. My childhood was great growing up in rural Wisconsin spending every day on a bike, playing in the creek, little league, sledding down the hill behind our house and everything kids did before the internet.
In my teens I started feeling like it didn’t fit in with the team sports I used to play. Around age 16 My parents got a divorce, and shortly after I had an uncle, who I loved dearly, pass away from suicide. I started isolating and never really dealt with my emotions. At this time in my mid-teens I started drinking and using drugs to cover up my pain that I refused to talk about. My grades started slipping and barely managed to graduate. I had already been accepted to UW Stout and managed to get academic suspension for partying too much in my first semester.
I continued this path of self-destruction for many years working only to pay the bills. The rest of the money I earned went towards numbing my emotions, and self-medicating my depression and anxiety. My depression and anxiety increased dramatically after the loss of my older brother. He passed away due to complications from alcohol and drug use. I was beaten and exhausted, I could not continue anymore. The morning my mother came to pick me up to ensure I made my appointment I told her there was a change of plans. I wasn’t seeing a local doctor. I had to make a flight to check in to a long-term treatment for alcohol, drug abuse, and mental health. I spent almost a third of the year in treatment seeing doctors, therapists, counselors, and peers in recovery. I was introduced to 12 step programs and found faith through this experience.
Today I am so happy with my life and my daily choices. In my free time I am usually running around outside whether it be backpacking, camping, paddle boarding, snowboarding, disc golfing, or just relaxing in my hammock. I cherish new experiences and no longer live in the anxiety of my own creation. I am still very active in local 12 step groups where I share my experience, strength, and hope for the newcomers.