Alcohol and a Retired Aerospace Engineer

April 03, 2014

Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, John describes his childhood as “idyllic.” His family was stable and he was the favored child—active in his church and as an Eagle Scout. He tried beer a few times in high school, but never went beyond that. He graduated from a U.S. Military Academy and obtained two masters’ degrees. He became a social drinker, having a glass of wine or “a hi-ball or two” at dinners or events. Then, in his late 50’s, he began to recognize that alcohol was becoming a problem. He was passing out on the couch most nights. He attended a program in 2004, sponsored by his employer.

 John was “okay” for a few years, though he continued to drink socially. But by December 2007, increasing anxiety about his upcoming retirement resulted in increased alcohol consumption. He retired the following October and was under a doctor’s care for anxiety and insomnia. As the holidays approached, John was drinking five or six drinks a day and his life was going to pieces. “My family confronted me about my drinking,” John said.

“I couldn’t deny it and I knew I needed—and wanted—help. I was admitted to the Providence Little Company of Mary Recovery Center Inpatient Program in early January. I felt like I was finally in a safe place where I could concentrate my energy into getting better.”

 “It’s an intense program,” John said. “I get a lot out of the group sessions and I feel grateful for what I’ve been able to accomplish. It gives me a purpose and safe place to open up. I am still concerned about filling my days once I complete the program but I am definitely less anxious and more positive about what my life will look like from here on out.”