Well, after many, many attempts at writing down my own story, here it is! Sorry if it's too long. When I start writing this stuff it just gets bigger and bigger! I started drinking on my birthday at age 18, in December of 1976. I had two beers. I didn't know I was bi-polar and I had gone through that up and down cycle of depression for as long as I could remember, all the way back into my childhood. I sometimes questioned those feelings in my mind (why do I have to feel this way - why me, God???) but I didn't really understand what was happening to me. Later in life I found out that I was clinically depressed and had just thought my typical depressed state was normal. Back then depression was still a hush hush kind of thing. So anyways, I had those two beers on my birthday, and after the whole depression thing that I had been through, I remember thinking - 'oh my god, what an INCREDIBLE RELIEF!' There's hope! I don't have to feel down all the time! And that was it. All it took was those two beers. I became a full blown alcoholic and I went like 35 years - like 90% of the whole 35 years without a sober night. I was really into the jazz scene in college. I played in a number of bands, always drinking and smoking pot. Many times I'd drink a bunch then puke before going on stage so that I could play, and then drink even more afterwards. I'm still amazed that I could even function like that. Then I got a degree in mathematics and got a job with the DOD at the Pentagon as a mathematician with a top secret clearance. High level Clearance + Addiction = Not Good! From there, I went on to the private sector and worked on the B2 and F-15 radar countermeasures. I don't mean to sound like I'm bragging, I'm just saying what I went through and what impacted my life in terms of addiction. So, I had to be very careful with those positions, especially with the DOD because if they figured out what was going on I would almost certainly have lost my clearance, and then my job. I had started seeing doctors about the depression at that time too, which I couldn't tell anyone about except my wife, and tried a number of different meds for depression. Still, nothing worked so I kept up with the alcohol. I was suicidal at times, but ironically, the alcohol saved my life by just being there to use and to support me as a last resort (truly a crutch) in my bad times. And it did work for that. Fast forward 30 some years to 2007 by which time my wife and I raised two of the most kindhearted and ridiculously intelligent kids, my son with a physics degree from Hope, and my daughter with an art degree from University of Michigan (and she can actually support herself as an artist!!!). I finally stopped drinking in or around 2007 because I got what amounted to a lifetime supply of Oxycontin after a number of surgeries I had for arthritis. Some of those were not needed but I would fake the pain and ask for the surgery so I could get more, more, and more of the pain meds. That's how powerful addiction can be. The narcotics were way, way better than alcohol - until it got too far out of hand. I'm not the type who asks for help, but I finally went to my wife and told her I needed help. She knew I had depression and that I had the pain meds but didn't really know about the abuse. She was incredible in terms of taking the bull by the horns, getting me to the doctor for help, and supporting me through thick and thin. She was sincere about those wedding vows, for better or for worse. It took a while but I DID get off the oxy. I went through detox and rehab twice before stopping. It was probably the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. I was also treated again for my depression with some of the newer meds, and one I tried - Seroquel - kind of worked. It wasn't the best, but was good enough to help me turn myself around, so I've continued with the Seroquel. These days I'm still an addict - that will never go away for me, even if the depression continues to be contained. I'm free from alcohol and narcotics though, which is very important for me. I found something else I could take that's legal and gets me somewhat high. Or maybe I should say it helps to make me content rather than high. It works for me. So now I can make it through the day without much problem, and then at the end of the day I always find refuge in sleep. I have never conveyed this stuff, these thoughts, to anyone before. Not the whole story like this. It feels really nice for me to be able to tell you all these things, and reading these helps me to know that I'm not alone - Thank You for listening.