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I came from a well-to-do family and was trained from early childhood to grow up and become a professional person of some sort. Everything seemed to indicate I would succeed in this endeavor as the years passed. I got excellent grades in school and was an excellent athlete. I did all the right things.

Somewhere around the age of 17 or 18, I noticed that I was not feeling quite right mentally. Things were confusing, not making any sense, and I started losing my sense of connectedness. To deal with this, I started drinking alcohol more and more. I was very lonely and unhappy. My parents and others tried to help me ‘snap out of it,” but to no avail. The year I entered college, I developed a serious drinking problem and, as I learned later, crossed over the line from social drinking to alcoholism. Maybe I crossed over earlier, I don’t know. But I tell you, being arrested for drunk driving several times and spending time in jail was no fun.

Anyway, I got sober by entering treatment and Alcoholics Anonymous about a year later. I was exhilarated, although things still didn’t seem to be quite right. I felt lost. About 14 months into my new life, I decided to find some meaning to my existence. While on a trip with an acquaintance I noticed things were really quite different. The leaves in the wind seemed to be talking to me. Cloud formations had special meanings. Television and radio shows were talking about my life. And I thought I could read peoples’ minds and communicate with them without speaking. I thought I had found what great spiritual leaders termed “being spiritual.” I truly thought I had been blessed by God and that I had a direct pipeline to Him. I felt happy and scared at the same time. I was in a different world. About one week later I decided to travel out to the West Coast to really find myself, given this new-found power. While traveling, it seemed like God’s voice entered into my thoughts and told me to do something if I wanted real peace and power in my life. That being, to run my car off the road and leave the rest to Him. I did this only to find no peace, but a totaled car and a trip to the state mental hospital.

Since that time I’ve been dealing with a disease called schizophrenia. It has been an uphill struggle. At the time of this writing, I believe I’ve found a way to pull myself out of psychosis and feel connected like before the alcoholism and schizophrenia. Today I feel peace, own a thriving business and have a wonderful relationship with my wife. We’re in the process of planning a family. This has been accomplished by the philosophy of Schizophrenics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, and a few special people in my life.