Hi, I’m Kevin and I’m an alcoholic.
It was a typical Wednesday morning in October at WJCT. I was producing First Coast Connect, keeping track of time for each segment and making sure our guests were in the green room and made comfortable.
But there was one difference. The night before, I had hit the bottle more than usual. How much gin did I drink that night? I really couldn’t tell you.
What I can tell you is that someone smelled alcohol on my breath that morning. They contacted our Employee Relations Manager, and I was taken to a local clinic for a breathalyzer test. I rang the bell with a .08. That was the end of me at WJCT.
I used my termination as an excuse to go on a bit of a bender. Don’t ask me what happened in the world that weekend because, again, I don’t know.
The reasons how I got there aren’t as important as what happened afterward.
It was Tuesday afternoon and I was just beginning to recover from my hangover when my dear friends Melissa Ross and Tracy Collins came to my house, stood in my living room and suggested I come with them and check in at Gateway Community Services to finally get treatment for my drinking. I was hesitant, but these two “sisters from another mother” made it quite clear they weren’t leaving until I agreed.
At Gateway, a quick medical check showed me to have extremely—dangerously—high blood pressure and heart rate levels. I was quickly transported to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Riverside. I was told I could have died.
Three days of treatment later and I was brought back to Gateway to check into the in-house treatment facility. But it was late Friday, too late to check in. Instead, I spent the weekend in the detoxification building. I spent three days watching people come in right off the streets, in various stages of the drug and alcohol abuse cycle. I thought to myself, “Is that what I looked like a couple of days ago?” It was an eye-opening experience.
After that, I knew I was going to need help to stop drinking. My in-house became outpatient, and I began going to sessions three times a week, as well as other meetings with fellow alcoholics.
I learned a lot in a short time—mostly, that I still had a lot to learn if I was going to stay sober.
After Day 30 of being clean, I decided to share my story with the world via Facebook and let others know that help is available.
The reaction was surprising and humbling. Nearly 3,000 views on my Facebook page. Hundreds of people either reacted to my video or sent me messages of encouragement.
They said I was brave to post such a thing, but if I really was that brave, I would have gotten help long before I did. It wasn’t brave of me to lie to myself and to my friends and family.
Is 30 days a big deal? I’ve met people who have been sober for decades who pray every day for the strength to stay that way.
I got an “A” on one quiz; the final report card is still a long way away.
If you’re reading this and have a similar problem, be it alcohol or opioids, drugs or addictions, all I can tell you is that there is no shame in seeking help.
I don’t know if there is a God or higher being out there, but something inspired Melissa to call Tracy and come to my house unannounced on that Tuesday. If they hadn’t, there is no doubt I would have continued that bender and perhaps they would be writing in this section of Folio Weekly, posting my eulogy and hoping the message would save someone else.
Meerschaert is the multi-award-winning former producer of WJCT-FM’s First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross.