As of today, I’m eight years sober. And I’m so proud of myself. This is something I debated sharing with you guys. But if my story can help even ONE of you, then it’s all worth it. As you might imagine, it’s a story that’s hard for me to tell. Hell, most of my friends and close acquaintances don’t know all the gory details. But again, I think it’s important to share them with you today. Maybe we need a quick introduction.
I’m Mike Sprague. Some of you know me. You know how I make my living. I am the Assistant Managing Editor here at Dread Central. That means I’m the right-hand man to the boss-man himself, Josh. I write most of the news you read each day and I handle nerdy day-to-day matters like release dates and SEO. Anyhow, I’m kind of a big deal. Kidding. But I fucking LOVE my job. But it wasn’t always this way.
Let’s go back to early 2013. Texas Chainsaw 3D, Mama, Warm Bodies, and The Last Exorcism Part II were in theaters. Evil Dead was on the horizon. And then came March. I was 28 and pushing 300 pounds. I was working the overnight shift at a gas station. And I was depressed. Had been for a long time. About as long as I could remember. I always felt if I could stop everything and take a good nap, I’d be able to be cheery like everyone else. But naps never worked. And so after years of feeling like I was in an underwater fog, I started to plan how to end it all.
This Is The End
Yes, I was finally going to go through with it. I mean, how could I handle turning 30 and still hate myself so much. So I began planning. But how would I do it? Shoot myself? No, I didn’t own a gun. Hang myself? Nope. Slit my wrists? Too messy. All of these options made me realize something. I didn’t want to leave a mess for anyone to find – or have to clean up. So I decided to throw myself in front of a random car.
But I couldn’t do that. What about the driver? Who am I to ruin someone else’s life? So then I thought, okay, I got it. I’ll buy a gun and go out to my Grandfather’s property. Go deep into the woods and dig a hole. Then I’d shoot myself and fall into the hole. Out in the middle of nowhere. No one would ever find me.
But what would that do to my family? Would they wonder about me every day for the rest of their lives? Would I call one day? Or come home? That was too much for me to put on those I knew loved me. So I figured I’d give them the chance to save me. If they wanted. So I called my little sister and told her today was the day.
She called my mom who rushed over. That was March 13, 2013. It’s crazy to think now that I’d gotten to that point but still didn’t realize I had a drinking problem. That said, I knew I wasn’t living my life right. So I let my mom take the wheel. She was the one who begged me to go to AA. And I did. Eventually. For her. But that comes later.
First, I was still a drunk. But I had an amazing mother who dropped everything in her life to help me out. For months. It was intense. But she did all she could. But I still kept drinking. I genuinely didn’t think it was my issue. I quit my job and broke off all contact with everyone I knew. Then I took a vacation to my sister’s house near the beach. I know, what a cushy life, right? I admit it was a luxury most don’t have.
But it still didn’t help me. So I started praying. Yes, praying. I figured, what did I have to lose? And then on my 29th birthday, my mother bought me a 4 pack of tallboys. I went to grab one and realized I didn’t want it. So I saved it. But then I didn’t want it later either. And somehow, I never wanted it ever again. That was 8 years ago today. So did I magically just stop drinking. No. Enter AA.
Yes, I know you’re not supposed to talk about AA. But again if it helps someone, I’ll tell. Plus Stephen King talks AA – yes, Stephen King was a drunk too if you didn’t know – so if King can talk about it openly, then Mike from Dread Central can too.
90 in 90 they call it. For the uninitiated, that means 90 meetings in 90 days. One per day. No excuses. Just don’t drink and come to meetings. And I did. Because my mom asked. But I didn’t think I was an alcoholic. I thought I’d go and see what happened.
And then something did. I’ll never forget it. Someone said, “Welcome to your new life, do you want the good news or the bad news first?” The good news. “The good news is you never HAVE to drink again. The bad news. Drinking was never your problem.”
One major thing that helped was changing my thinking. As I started to get sober I had this panic. Like, wait, so I wouldn’t even be able to drink at my wedding? Or my birthdays? Or at the beach (like my pale ass ever goes to the beach)? But still.
And then it hit me, I don’t have to worry about all the beers in the world I will ever encounter. I don’t have to worry about all the occasions for the rest of my life where drinking will be an issue. All I have to worry about is not drinking ONE drink. That’s all. Simple, right? One drink. Over the years, that drink has changed forms and locations. But the rule is still simple, don’t drink THAT drink.
Harsh Sober Truths
From there I was off. I never drank again beginning on my 29th birthday. I lost 100 pounds and got properly medicated. And then I started to go after my dreams, full force. I written multiple scripts, made short films, produced animation, the works. I even made my first movie! All of this eventually leading me to Dread Central.
But back before I even decided to kill myself, one of the things that really shook me up and guided me towards change was – ironically – an article just like this one. Well, not just like this one. That one was more of a list. But still. It was over on Cracked called “6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person” by David Wong aka Jason Pargin. Read it. Ingest it. Live it. It helped me change my life.
One of the most important aspects of his particular anniversary is that I was a drunk for seven years following a break-up. So this year marks the first year where I have now been sober longer than I was a drunk. Does that mean I get a sober prize?
Yes and no.
So, here I am. 8 years sober. Is life easier for me? Yes and no. I have gained all the weight back to be honest (pushing 300 pounds again). But now I have a job I love. A family I love even more. And my daughter. She’s almost two now, And she literally wouldn’t be on this Earth if I had ended it all 8 years ago. That chills me to my bones.
One of the best things about being sober though is that even if I am having a shit day, I always take it as a win – as long as I didn’t drink. One day at a time, right? And it’s worked for me. For 8 years.
The End Is The Beginning Is The End
So if this helps you, please share. Please take the steps that YOU feel will help you stick around. Whether that means getting sober or just taking better care of yourself – and others. We need you ladies and/or gentlemen. You’ve got so much cool shit to share with the world. Thank you for listening to my rant today.
If you need to talk more, you can also hit me up over on Twitter @MikeSpregg325.