This Alcoholic and Drug Addict Is Telling It Like It Is – Jeff’s Story

My name is Jeff Bertolet and I’m an alcoholic and a drug addict in recovery for the past 5 1/2 years. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming, to make sure this is really me and actually my life. You see I have this alcoholism, the disease of alcoholism, and with that an allergy to booze and drugs. Once I start I can’t stop.

This Alcoholic & Drug Addict Is Telling It Like It Is

When I’m not in recovery I think about alcohol all day long consciously and/or subconsciously. A little over 5 years ago the end result of 25 years of active alcohol and drug abuse had me hopeless, friendless, squatting in a house with no heat or fridge, unemployable, strung out on heroin and stealing beer every day as soon as the store opened in the morning. And hating myself and wanting to die.

My children were all living away from me and I couldn’t take care of myself or them. 25 years of my disease progressing and this is where it took me. Now I’m sure most people reading this might say “whoa I’m not THAT bad maybe I’m ok”. Well I wasn’t THAT bad either.

Until I was.

I started out just like most kids do. I was actually the good looking, smart, popular, good athlete, lucky gifted kid coming out of 8th grade. Voted either best looking or most popular I can’t remember which….but the point is I had it all going on and was just a happy, lucky kid with a bright future.

Alcohol and drugs turned that bright future into years of settling for less, blown opportunities, a “hole in my soul”, treating myself and those I loved horribly and finally a lonely despair I can hardly describe with words.

Why didn’t I just get clean and sober a long time ago?!?

Well I tried. I tried for 12 years and several rehabs. But not hard enough. I didn’t believe sobriety was worth having. I thought it would suck and be boring and I wouldn’t be myself and I’d have to hang around a bunch of teetotalers with no lives. Plus I thought It was impossible and a waste of time to even try.

Until I got sick and tired of being sick and tired.

And scared my kids would end up hating me and that I’d continue to let them down. So I tried again. And this time I gave it time and I did what I was told in rehab. And I reached out and I asked for help and I made sober friends and I started seeing “sober dividends” really quickly.

My family liked me again, my kids were proud of me and the look in their eyes told me they loved me 100x more sober. We laughed and I made amends and I went back to work and then I got married to an amazing woman who’s never been arrested!!

Wha wha what?!?!

I have self esteem again and I’m healthy and consistently happier than I’ve ever been. I can look myself in the mirror and not want to smash the image looking back at me. That hole in my soul is FULL now of love and empathy and hope and dreams.

THIS. This life on life’s terms and being accountable and responsible and not wanted by the law (haha) and an example to my children and a good dad and son and husband and brother. This is what sobriety is to me. This is the greatest gift I’ve ever received and it’s your’s for the taking as well.

It’s not easy. It’s like loosing your best friend (who’s actually your worst enemy but you don’t know that) it takes time and is uncomfortable in the beginning. And you CAN’T do it alone. And you DON’T have to. sobbah’s bettah and its TOTALLY possible!!!



Sober doesn’t Suck! is a safe place for people to share their stories of being an alcoholic, addiction and recovery openly and honestly. There is no requirement of sobriety for posting, if you’re concerned about your using I want to hear from you too.

I recently received the following article from my friend Jeff.  I’m honored to share his story, hoping someone will find comfort, tools and hope in it.

If you’d like to tell your story, your feelings about your own addiction or that of someone else in your life please head over to the Sober doesn’t Suck! page. Addiction affects the people around us, I’m interested in sharing all sides.

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5 Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing your story, Jeff. So powerful. Sober is definitely better and totally possible. Hugs and love to continue on your amazing journey.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story..I have a friend that also was an alcoholic and had a hard time BUT thank goodness he is now sober for 9 years now and I could not be more proud of him May I say congrats to those who took the necessary step they needed in their life to get sober KUDOS on your path and healthy happy sober life

  3. Iam loving your story. Iam going on 4 years clean. I was addicted to painkillers for 11 years. My life was hell in a handbang ! As you said there is no way you can do it alone !!! You alwaysssss get to the point where you GET TIRED OF FIGHTING ! Its life or death. Anyway you are such an inspiration. Please read my blog at CHASENOMORE.COM My story is very poignant and powerful. It details my 11 year struggle with opiates. They stole my life. But God GAVE IT BACK !!!!

  4. I know this is few years ago but this is an uplifting story. Yep, alcohol and drug addiction makes life worst as family, friends, and almost every person on the street was avoiding me and seems that time I was evidently taking heroin. My family convinced me to go to rehab at first and I did, just not to disappoint their persuasion. But I relapsed. I think I would die if I become sober. The second time, the “rock bottom day” I should say, I told my family that I wanna get clean. Today Drug Rehab Center helped me with the detox, rehab and with their programs. I still visit at the treatment center where I became clean and motivate others also that sobriety is cool!

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