Flying as a commercial airline pilot for a living has been a heavy burden with stressful responsibility and a hectic schedule. I thought I knew what to expect back when I was getting my flight ticket, but instead of becoming acclimated and adjusting to my nonstop work, I’ve been increasingly worn down by it over the years. I felt taken advantage of by my former airline company and in turn took out my own frustration on my family and sought refuge only in alcohol. While I would never dare dream of mixing my drinking with my flight responsibilities, hard liquor still became my number one hobby of my spare time. I was more in need of a J&B on the rocks after a long day than even spending what precious little free time I had with my wife. Depression soon crept in from feelings of devoting myself to a company that exploits its pilots, neglected and lost time with loved ones, and my inability to find a new job or make a proactive lifestyle change.
After all the years of training and studying to achieve my childhood dream, instead of being happy, I found myself becoming more miserable with each passing day. My drinking just kept getting worse as I tried to drown my sorrows.
Finally some of my family and friends held an intervention for me. They made me see that I was becoming an alcoholic and while I was slowing killing myself I was also potentially putting my passengers at risk. They had researched online and found a specialized program for pilots called the Aviator Recovery Program at Seaside Palm Beach. I agreed to go to the program to try and get sober. The very next day I was on the next plane out down to West Palm Beach airport in Florida.
While I knew other pilots suffered from similar circumstances, I felt relieved and hopeful that I was attending a program that specialized in treating us flyers. After a driver picked me up from the airport and brought me to the beautiful living residences. Then a warm and knowledgeable staff greeted me and made me feel very welcome. Within a few days of my arrival, after the detox process was completed, I really felt like the years of pent up tension literally had dissipated from my body. For the first time in a year I didn’t have alcohol numbing my unhappiness and all the internal stress crippling my willpower. I was finally in the right frame of mind, as well as physically ready from the detoxification to allow the alcohol treatment and rehab to succeed.
I just got my first medallion for remaining sober for one year. I feel that I’m finally ready to leave my old airline and look for a more fulfilling piloting job at smaller airline. What I am most proud of is that I’ve mended all the fences with my family and friends and have a new very special person in my life again.