I wrote this last year. Facebook showed it to me as one of those memory things about fifteen minutes ago, and I had this sudden realization that I quit drinking alcohol six years ago, yesterday. It used to be a thing that I thought of every day. Every day, I erased a number on the whiteboard and wrote down the new one. Then it was every week, every month or so, and now it’s a few times a year that I go “holy crap it’s been [some number that seemed unattainable six years ago] days! Go me!” As of this morning, it’s 2193 days without a drink (well, I had like a thimble of whisky when we were in Scotland at a distillery, on principle) and I am so grateful for the love and support of the people closest to me who helped me get and stay sober.
This thing that I wrote last year is about the why of it all, and how making the choice to stop drinking made it possible for me to take fundamental steps toward healing my pain and trauma. I feel like it’s worth revisiting today.
Yesterday, I marked the
fifthsixth anniversary of my decision to quit drinking alcohol. It was the most consequential choice I have ever made in my life, and I am able to stand before you today only because I made it.
I was slowly and steadily killing myself with booze. I was getting drunk every night, because I couldn’t face the incredible pain and PTSD I had from my childhood, at the hands of my abusive father and manipulative mother.
It was unsustainable, and I knew it was unsustainable, but when you’re an addict, knowing something is unhealthy and choosing to do something about it are two very different things.
On January 8, 2016, I was out in the game room, watching TV and getting drunk as usual. I was trying to numb and soothe the pain I felt, while also deliberately hurting myself because at a fundamental level, I believed the lies the man who was my father told me about myself: I was worthless. I was unworthy of love. I was stupid. The things I loved and cared about were stupid. It did not matter if I lived or died. Nobody cared about me, anyway.
I knocked a bottle into the trash, realized I had to pee, and — so I wouldn’t disturb Anne — did not go into the bathroom, but instead walked out into the middle of my backyard and peed on the grass. I turned around, and there was Anne. I will never forget the look on her face, this mixture of sadness and real fear.
“I am so worried about you,” was all she had to say. I’d been feeling it for a long time, and I faced a stark choice that I had known I was going to face sooner or later.
“So am I.”
Roughly 12 hours later, I woke up with the headache (hangover) I always had. For the first time in years, I accepted that I brought it on myself, instead of blaming it on allergies or the wind.
I picked up my phone, and I called Chris Hardwick, my best friend, who had been sober for over a decade at that point.
“I need help,” I said. “I don’t think going to AA is for me, but I absolutely have a problem with alcohol and I need to stop drinking.”
He told me a lot of things, and we stayed on the call for hours. I realized that it was as simple and complicated as making a choice not to drink, one day or even one hour at a time. So I made the choice. HOLY SHIT was it hard. The first 45 days were a real struggle, but with the love and support of my wife and best friend, I got through it.
2016 … remember that year? Remember how bad things got? I was constantly making the joke about how I picked the wrong year to quit drinking, while I continued to make the choice to not drink.
Getting clean allowed (and forced) me to confront why I drank to excess so much. It turns out that being emotionally abused and neglected by both parents, then gaslit by my mother for my entire life had consequences for my emotional development and mental health.
I take responsibility for my choices. I made the choice to become a drunk. I own that.
But I know that, had the man who was my father loved me the way he loves my siblings, had my mother just once put my needs ahead of her own, the overwhelming pain and the black hole where paternal love should be would not have existed in my life.
I made a choice to fill that black hole with booze and self-destructive behavior. That sort of put a weak bandage over the psychic wound, but it never lasted more than a few hours or days before I was right back to believing all the lies that man planted in my head about myself, and feeling like I deserved all of it. If he wasn’t right, I thought, why didn’t my mother ever stand up for me? If he wasn’t right, how come nothing I ever did was good enough for him? I must be as worthless and contemptible as he made me believe I was. Anyone who says otherwise is just being fooled by me. I don’t really deserve any happiness, because I haven’t earned it. Anne’s just settling. She probably feels sorry for me.
All of that was just so much. It was so hard. It hurt, all the time. Because my mother made my success as an actor the most important thing in her life, I grew up believing that being the most successful actor in the world was the only way she’d be happy. And if that would make her happy, maybe it would prove to the man who was my father that I was worthy of his love. When I didn’t book jobs, I took it SO PERSONALLY. Didn’t those casting people know how important this was? This wasn’t just an acting role. This was the only chance I have to make my parents love me!
The thing is, I didn’t like it. I didn’t love acting and auditioning and attention like my mother did. It was never my dream. It was hers, and she sacrificed my childhood, and ultimately my relationship with her and her husband, in pursuit of it.
I didn’t jump straight to “get drunk all the time” as a coping mechanism. For years I tried to have conversations with my parents about how I felt, and every single time, I was dismissed for being ungrateful, overly dramatic, or just making things up. Every single time I tried to have a meaningful conversation about my feelings, I was met with an endless list of excuses, justifications, denials. They just refused to accept that my experiences were true or that my feelings were valid. When the man who was my father didn’t blow me off, he got mad at me, mocked me, humiliated me, made me afraid of him. I began to hope that he’d just blow me off, because it wasn’t as bad as the alternative.
It was so painful, and so frustrating, I just gave up and dove into as many bottles as I could find. And I was varying degrees of a mess, for years.
But then in 2016 I quit, and as my body began to heal from how much I’d abused it, my spirit began to heal, too. I found a room in my heart, and in that room was a small child, terrified and abused and unloved, and I opened my arms to him. I held him the way he should have been held by our parents, and I loved him the way he deserved to be loved: unconditionally. I promised him that I would protect him from them. They could never hurt him again.
I realized I had walked up to that door countless times over the years, and I had always chosen to walk right past it and into a bar, instead.
But because I had made the choice to stop drinking, to stop hiding from my pain, to stop self-medicating, I could see that door clearly now. I could hear that little boy weeping in there, as quietly as possible, because he was so afraid that someone was going to come in and hurt him. Without alcohol numbing me, I clearly saw that my mother had been lying to me, and maybe to herself, about who that man was to me. I realized that the man who was my father had been a bully to me my whole life. I accepted and owned that it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t deserve it. I didn’t do anything to cause it. It was not may fault. It was a choice he made, and while I will never know why, I knew what had happened to me. I knew my memories were real, and I hoped that, armed with this new certainty and confidence, I could have a heart-to-heart with my parents, and begin to heal these wounds. I sincerely believed this time would be different, because I was different. So I wrote to my parents, shared a lot of my feelings and fears, and finally told them, “I feel like my dad doesn’t love me.”
I know some of you are parents. What do you do when your child says that to you? What is your first instinct? Pick up the phone right away? Send a text right away? Somehow communicate to your child immediately that, no, they are wrong and they are not unloved, right? Well, if you’re my parents, you ignore me and go radio silent (for two months if you’re my mother, four months if you’re my father.) And then when you finally do acknowledge the email, you are incensed and offended. How dare I be so hateful and cruel and ungrateful! Nothing is more important than family! How could I say such hurtful things?! Why would I make all that up?
Well. There it was. I had changed. They had not. They will not. Ever.
So, I want to be clear: I take responsibility for the choice I made to become a full-time drunk. But I also hold my parents accountable for their choices, including the choice to ignore me for weeks when, after a lifetime of failed attempts to be seen and heard, I finally just confessed that I felt like my dad didn’t like me, much less love me. I can not imagine ignoring my child, who is clearly hurting, the way they ignored me. When I do the occasional bargaining part of grief, I always come back to the weeks of silence after I confessed that I, their eldest son, felt unloved by his father. I mean, who does that to their kid? After a lifetime drilling into his head that “nothing is more important than family”?
Their silence during those long weeks told me everything I needed to know, and my sobriety was severely tested for the first time. Everything I had always feared, everything I had been drinking to avoid, was right there, in my face. When they finally acknowledged me, and made it all about their feelings, I knew: this was never going to change. I mean, I’d known that for years, maybe for my whole life, but I still held out hope that, somehow, something would be different. I had known it, but I hadn’t accepted it, until that day.
During those weeks, I spent a lot of time on the phone with Chris, spent a lot of time with Anne, and filled a bunch of journals. But I didn’t make the choice to pick up a drink. I’d committed to taking better care of myself, so I could be the husband and father my family deserved. So I could find the happiness that I deserve.
Once I was clean, I had clarity, and so much time to do activities! I was able to clearly and honestly assess who I was, and why. I was able to love myself and care for myself in ways that I hadn’t before, because I sincerely believed I didn’t deserve it.
I will never forget this epiphany I had one day, while walking through our kitchen: If I was the person the man who was my father made me believe I was, there is no way a woman as amazing and special as Anne would choose to spend her life with me. Why this never occurred to me up to that point can be found under a pile of bottles.
Not having parents sucks. It hurts all the time. But it hurts less than what I had with those people, so I continue to make the choice to keep them out of my life.
fivesix years, I don’t miss being drunk at all. It is not a coincidence that the last fivesix years have been the best fivesix years of my life, personally and professionally. In spite of everything 2020 took from us (and I know it’s taken far more from others than it took from me), I had the best year I’ve ever had in my career — and this is my career, being a host and a writer and audiobook narrator. This is what I want to do, and I still feel giddy when I take time to really own that I am finally following MY dream. It’s a shame I don’t have parents to share it with, but I have a pretty epic TNG family who celebrate everything I do with me.
I wondered how I would feel, crossing
fivesix years without a drink off the calendar. I thought I’d feel celebratory, but honestly the thing I feel the most is gratitude and resolve. (Updating this a year after I wrote it to observe that I’ve gotten so used to not drinking that I didn’t even realize it had been six years until this morning. I just don’t think about it that often, and I’m so grateful that all of that behavior isn’t part of my life any more.)
I am grateful that I have the love and support of my wife and children. I am grateful that because I have so much privilege, this wasn’t as hard for me as it could have been. I am grateful that, every day, I can make a choice to not drink, and it’s entirely MY CHOICE.
Because I quit drinking, I had the clarity I needed to see WHY I was drinking, and I had the strength to confront it. It didn’t go the way I wanted or hoped, but instead of numbing that pain with booze, I have come to accept it, as painful as it is.
And even with that pain, my life is immeasurably better than it was, and for that I am immeasurably grateful.
Hi. I’m Wil, and it’s been
fivesix years and one day since my last drink. Happy birthday to me.
57 thoughts on “Happy 6th birthday to me.”
Happy birthday indeed Wil, many happy returns!
Wow! I had no idea the difficulties that you had! I am glad that you generated the courage and resolve to take charge of your life!
If it helps, my wife and I have always appreciated your acting skills and appreciate all of the enjoyment that your acting skills have provided. Especially your sense of humor on Big Bang Theory!
Best wishes fir the future.
Thank you for this.
Congratulations and celebration on your continuing sobriety. I wouldn’t count myself as one of your biggest fans, but I will say I appreciate your honesty, your vulnerability and your transparency as to how and why you feel what you feel, and I look forward (and sometimes hurt along side you) to your writing and posts.
Thank you for being so open about your journey and your life, Wil. I see you, I hear you and I believe you. I, since getting sober 4+ years ago, have had to face some upsetting truths regarding my parents. Just recently some clarity finally hit me in the face about my dad. I 1000% relate to this: “Not having parents sucks. It hurts all the time. But it hurts less than what I had with those people, so I continue to make the choice to keep them out of my life.” Anyway, congratulations on your 6 years of sobriety. These sober years really are the best. Even with all the shit.
This is incredibly powerful. Happy birthday to you. Happy healing. ❤️
I can only imagine how difficult, despite your description, this was for you. Keep the positivity going and let the negative people and voices fade away.
Congratulations on six years! I am also grappling with the concept that my parents couldn’t give me what I needed AND that I made a large number (too large a number) of life choices based on the idea that if I did things right, I would get their love and respect. I, at least, know some of the reasons why my parents were the way they were which makes it a little less confusing. But knowing their own wounds ended up hurting me does not make it hurt less. In any case, you are one of my ‘celebrity family’, which is made up of people who are celebrities who are also open about their abuse. It makes me feel less alone. HUGS to you and your real life family. Also to anyone reading this who would like a hug.
Happy 6th Birthday, Wil! You deserve ALL the happiness and contentment.
Huzzah and congrats 🙂
Congrats! Migraines force me to go easy on alcohol too. But if you don’t mind, I’ll raise one beer to you: the Rush Canadian Golden Ale by Henderson Brewing. I give it 21.12 on Untappd.
That is awesome. I’m so glad you found clarity and balance in your life. It’s wonderful to see you are doing what you love and surrounding yourself with people who you love an positivity. Best wishes for the coming year!
Happy sixth sober birthday, Wil! 🎉🎉👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
For all of us who had similar experiences growing up that led to addictions and self-doubt, your journey is an inspiring confirmation of the will and grace of healing. Thank you.
Absolutely one of the most awesome things I have read. Well done, Wil.
Congratulations, Wil! 🥰
That means it’s been six years since you inspired me to give up drinking. It took another five years but now I am a non drinker. I have a couple of drinks on special occasions and that’s it
Everything happens in our own time. WHEN you made the choice is so much less important than THAT you made the choice. I’m happy for you 🙂 Be well!
I am so proud of you.
And I want you to know that a couple of years ago you wrote on this subject and wrote (this is paraphrased from memory), “… and if you need a nudge to make a change for yourself, here you go. Nudge.”
This was a HUGE influence in my own decision. Thank you, and my family thanks you.
799 days sober
Oh, Ethan. I am so happy for you, and so honored to be part of your story. Stay healthy!
This was the first post I ever read, a year ago. This made me love reading your blog, because you were always honest about your life, and your life is so interesting. Happy birthday, and happy anniversary of your sobriety.
Dear Mr Wheaton, This is a message of gratitude. A mere three months ago, I gave witness in the trial of my male sibling (he doesn’t deserve the title of brother). He was convicted of multiple offenses against a girl under twelve some fifty years ago. I was that girl. For those fifty years I carried his guilt and that of my parents (who covered up for him, defended him and protected him) all ‘for the sake of the family’. It wasn’t until I read your piece this morning that I realised how little the family had done for my sake. Was I not also ‘family’? Did I not also deserve protection? Evidently not. Like you I will never know why and it will undoubtedly always hurt. But like you I have a built family, a group of people who reciprocate the care I live to provide for them. And like you these are the people I claim as family. Some I’m related to, others carry the title of brother or sister as an honour. And my life is adorned by their presence. So thank you for your honesty, insight and skilled communications. You have helped me make a little more sense of my messed up early life and for that you have my gratitude. All the best to you and yours. Kindest regards, Pat Pendrey.
I’m so sorry this happened to you. I’m glad you’re finally able to start to move on and that you have found family at last.
I have battled depression from that has had various triggers. Luckily, I never went down the road of drinking, drugs. I think it was because I saw too many kids in college blow opportunities. I took a lot stuff from kids in school(Apergers). I could not imagine taking it from a parent.
Mazal tov, you magnificent human.
Congratulations to you! I read this post last year, read it again now, and am looking forward to read the updated – seven year version – next year. All the best for your continuous well-being!
Wil – so happy for your years of sobriety! I recently listened to some of Dr. Gabor Mate’s many YouTube videos on addiction. He said, “..not why the addiction, but why the pain?” was his understanding about addiction after working for 10 plus years in Vancouver, where one of the largest concentration of addicts are in North America. When he said that addiction comes from our need to kill the pain, not because we are deficient, that released some major guilt in me that I carried around since getting sober myself in 2004. He said addiction wasn’t a choice, that it was the only way we found at the time to deal with our internal pain. He worked at trying to educate people about addiction, so they wouldn’t see addicts as people “choosing to burn their lives down,” but as very hurt and sick people who needed help. He appreciates AA so much, yet states that it falls short because it cannot address the “original pain” which is what drove most of us to abuse drugs or alcohol. AA itself says it doesn’t have all the answers, and recommends seeking professional help if we need it. I’ve been in skilled therapy on and off for my 17 years of sobriety, for my family of origin stuff. It still sucks to unpack that pile of shit – yet – my greatest growth as a person has come from doing just that. I love your honesty Wil. Please keep writing.
Hey Wil(and you the anonymous reader who perhaps needs to read these words),
First, congratulations! You’ve been through a lot(just to stop drinking) and you have succeeded Go you! Secondly, been there. I haven’t had a drink or a drug for a rather longer period(think decades) and have some very good news: it is going to get even easier as time goes on. It will still be hard sometimes, but it will always be easier than if you were on the other path.
There’s more to say-a dialogue’s worth; but you(WW) and hopefully you(anonymous reader), have someone with whom you can talk.
I wish you the best, and once again, congratulations!
(Long time reader here; finally you have a commenting system that doesn’t require [bla, bla, bla])
I am happy for you. What’s more I am proud of you. Yes, I’m a rando stranger, somebody else’s dad but you should hear that always.
Impressive, Most Impressive (with a bonus star of merit for the distillery politeness)
Happy birthday, Wil. I’m so happy for you.
And this? “If I was the person the man who was my father made me believe I was, there is no way a woman as amazing and special as Anne would choose to spend her life with me.” I’m finally starting to realize this my own self. It’s pretty great, isn’t it?
I came here to say exactly this.
My husband reads your blog. It has helped him to understand my journey out of self-hatred and addiction, to healing (from an abusive childhood too). There aren’t enough ‘thank-yous’ to express how much I appreciate you writing about all the things.
Happy blessed birthday Wil! I’m so happy, for you & your loved ones, that you found your courage to stop drinking & start living. I wish you an awesome new year ❤🕊🙏
Hiya,Wil. Happy happy sober bday. Working in that meself. Missing Radio Free Burrito though. Be well and happy 2022!
Glad to hear your a stone of sobriety. Time to heal my friend. I’ve been negative for some time and have dwelled in the past. It not good to remain there or you will become deadlocked there. Time to smile brother.
Wil! Are you happy right now? Are you a responsible person? If you answered yes to both then your normal. From all that I’ve read your a great and conscientious man. When you talk enthusiastically about what your doing now it shows your rounded. Be happy you have enough sense to realize your having issues and need help that’s how a human mind survives. Alcohol is a drug that everyone thinks is the answer when the wolves of real life are barking at the back door. Life will never be easy and we get constant reminders every day that it’s still there no matter how you try to outrun it. You keep repeating the same thing over and over that’s a stigma. Call a psychiatrist and I mean one that tends to work with the general public. Not one suggested by your fellow entertainers. Those guys charge high dollars just to take your money because your famous. Find one that’s fresh outta college and has an impressive grade average. A general psychologist will be more apt to get to the roots of your issues. You can also sue your parents in public and make sure tmz and the whole world knows it. I’m not a psychologist but if you want to talk I will be glad to do that with you. Not hard to find me. Email me sir.
Happy Birthday Will. It’s been 4 years for me since God took that need to drink from me. Niw I have to work on leaving the negative and toxic people behind me. That’s tough because one is a close relative , but I know it must be done for me to have peace. Will stay strong and positive.
Happy Birthday to you and all who make they choice. Stay strong and enjoy a long healthy and happy life!
I’m 67 years old and I still go through some of the same things. My younger sister doesn’t understand that her parents and my parents were two different sets of parents, even though they were the same people. I distanced myself from my parents early in life and I think that is the only thing that saved me. There were 5 children in my family, all of whom (myself included) had drug and alcohol issues. My younger sister and I are the only ones left, as the other three have passed away due to poor lifestyle choices.
I hear you and I am with you. I applaud your efforts to share your pain to help others know that they are not alone.
Hi Wil, I wonder if you found a program to help you stop drinking that wasn’t based on a belief in “god”, as we know, the 12-Step Program & AA is. Since I am an atheist (or more specifically, an agnostic), any program that asks one to put their faith in a “god” is not for me. Do you have any suggestions for a non-religious, more scientific method of support, during this difficult change of lifestyle?
I can only tell you what works for me. What works for you will likely be different in some ways, similar in others. I don’t know if this will be helpful, but I called Hardwick when it was time to get sober. I told him that I don’t believe in any supernatural stuff, and I wasn’t sure a Program was right for me. He told me that he felt the same way, and a big part of his sobriety was making the choice not to drink again and again. It really is that simple and that complicated.
The choice is always ours, no matter what. It can be INCREDIBLY challenging, and that’s where the support of a program or a group comes in. For me, I could lean on Chris the way I Would have leaned on a sponsor, and that made a positive difference for me. But it was always MY CHOICE to drink or not. It still is.
I hope this is helpful, and I’m sorry if it isn’t. I wish you well on your journey.
I finally finished typing out a hand written journal I started in 2002, to remember things of my son’s life because he was growing up so fast. I came to the last page and found notes of your old website (written in 2005ish?) and looked you up and found this entry. Congrats on 6 years 🙂
You are a great writer and I look forward to reading about the past 16 years of your life.
I got Covid august 3, 2020 and that made me stop drinking alcohol. And while I don’t think i was an alcoholic, alcohol was not doing me any favors either. The ROI had diminished to an evening habit of that just exhausted me and messed up my sleep. It’s amazing the 2nd lease on life you get when you make through the hellish existence of Covid AND quit drinking. I totally understand your experience of clarity and SO MUCH TO DO(!). Now I wake up at 4:30am to go watch the sunrise over the ocean, riding my bike on the low tide beach little sand peepers running ahead of me at the water’s edge ☮️❤️☀️🌴
—Phil Jax., FL
Happy Birthday, Will. So glad to read you are both happy and loved. Wonderful, too, that you arrived there while still so young. Congrats!
Happy sixth Birthday Wil, looking at some of the IG photos of you and your wife show that there is a glow between you. Congratulations on all of your realisations and coming to terms with everything. I have not touched a drink since 2007 due to medical reasons. I constantly are thankful that I survived and am still not drinking. Thank you for all you have given us.
Happy Birthday Wil!
My husband and I (both in recovery), just listened to your interview with Mayim Bailik which reduced me to tears over my “relationship” with my older sister who spent a couple of decades convincing me I’m worthless, ugly, and stupid. My husband is the “result” of not one, but TWO mentally ill abusive mothers. I’m his Anne. If I can’t help myself, why not help someone else?
We were both astounded at the clarity you possess regarding abuse. Some of the things you said answered long searched-for questions I’ve had on the subject of how do you deal with the abuser as an adult.
Listening to your words led to a personal epiphany: abusers never stop – even in adulthood. Your parents refusal to acknowledge your email was just more gaslighting: a message to you that you aren’t important. More of the same.
I suppose all you can do is dump the can full of garbage they’ve heaped onto you for years over their own heads and say “here – have it back” – and walk away much lighter.
My husband’s father worked on the special effects on Next Generation including the intro with the planets and a chess-type game that was played by Data against another character. We enjoy his stories.
Of course, my husband is a big fan of the show. He would give his left nut to talk to you about your experiences because now he knows he’s not alone.
Speaking frankly and openly about your situation has further healed two wounded human beings. Keep speaking the names out loud.
Wil, You might not remember exactly where you were on Sunday, November 6, 2016. You were in Michigan. You had come to Michigan to speak up, to rally the troops to get out and vote. And (hopefully) divert the world from the terror we all saw coming.
And, well… it was a noble and valiant effort that just didn’t work. But that’s not what I wanted to say.
I wanted to say, first and foremost, thank you. I was born in Michigan, I live in Michigan, and (in all likelihood) I will probably die in Michigan. It’s my home.
It’s people, my people.
And you came out for us that day. You came out to support, to throw your weight into a ring I thought for sure we had locked up before the first ballot would be cast, just a couple of days later.
You came to speak at a Hillary Clinton GOTV / phone bank night, at some incredible home covered with tables and phones and folks making calls, urging our neighbors to get out and vote. Dinner was served. It was homemade, some wonderful Indian dish where every bite tasted more delicious than the last.
You were there, and you had dinner. And the dork sitting across from you peppered you with questions about your time in Michigan. Had you ever been to any of our conventions? How are you liking it here? The usual fare.
But then, then that doofus asked how not-drinking was going. Said he had read your blog. Wanted to tell you congratulations.
And your face, Wil. Your face lit up like a bright neon sign. You were so happy to talk about it.
That geek, the one you were talking to? He didn’t tell you everything that night, because he figured that strangers probably shared a lot of their life stories with you over the years. But he and his Dad (who was a good man, and in many ways, his best friend) had been coming home from a camping trip when he was eleven. That’s when a drunk driver, passed out behind the wheel of his truck, with his foot caught underneath the brake and still pressing down on the gas pedal, veered into oncoming traffic. Killing the geek’s Dad. Killing himself (although he made it onto the helicopter that took them all to the hospital).
And nearly, so very nearly, killing the kid.
Who would spend the next several months at multiple hospitals. Having been in a coma. Having a titanium rod placed inside his leg to help mend one of his broken bones (like Iron Man!). Having to learn to walk again.
Having to process the grief. The relentless, unending grief and shame. And anger. And rage. Knowing that his best friend, his Dad, had been killed sitting right next to him. And that there had been not a goddamn thing he could do about it.
Wil, that kid’s entire life had been shaped by one man’s irresponsibility with alcohol. I know.
Because, I was that kid.
I couldn’t tell you this that night. I couldn’t tell you how happy I was that you had made the decision to give up alcohol. How I had read about your family, your sons, and your stunner of a wife.
How happy I was, that you had begun a new life for yourself. But not just for yourself. For everyone around you. Folks you know, and folks you don’t.
Every person you pass on the road. Every Mom. Every Dad. Daughter. Son.
We will probably never meet in real life again but, man.
How I so wish you, and all of yours, the very best.
Congratulations on six supremely strong years. Here’s to at least sixty more :).
Congratulations on 6 years & thanks for sharing your story so transparently.
I remember sitting down one night at GenCon, having a drink with Chris Pramas and Andrew Hackard, which would be, ahh 2018? I think. Topic came up of you quitting drinking & I told them how for me there was a time I quit for a year or so as I was drinking for similar reasons, numbing rather than enjoying. I remember Andrew saying that non-drinking Wil was a happier Wil, that he was proud of you. Oh! I remember now, we were having a WootStout that Andi & Markus had brought with them, saying how it was a shame you weren’t making them anymore. I said, maybe a non-alcoholic version in the future?… Bittersweet now I look back on it all.
The first step is the hardest of them all. My father was not ideal to say the least. One might even say abusive. He never really hit me, but he didn’t need to. His words were enough. They cut through me like butter. I had no defensive. It took me years to forgive him for it. Sadly, we were never able to make up before his death.
Ironically, it was through him that I found a love for Star Trek. It was his tapes that I watched over and over again. They helped deal with rough times at home and at school. To this day I still consider any episode of TOS, TNG, or DS9 like chicken soup for my soul. Even if it is Spock’s Brain (Please don’t make watch that again!).
Thank you for sharing. Congrats on your anniversary!
Hi Wil! Jerri Lyn here about a month late as always.
I appreciate you being so willing to sharing your story with us. I’d like to suggest that you follow @nate_postlethwait on Instagram. He posts a lot about childhood trauma and inner child work. And memes … lots of memes! I’ve found his posts and captions to be very healing.
I hope you and Anne have a wonderful 2022!
As usual, we don’t have the exact same experiences, but you’re a far better writer than I am, and some of this will inevitably end up in a session with my therapist next week because you’re saying several of the things I want to say, far more articulately than I can.
Happy B-Day. Argh. I speak fluent typo. Sigh.
Congratulations Wil!! You deserve a world’s worth of respect and love.
Love your blog and medium posts (and Star Trek)! Congrats! You are an inspiration.
Did you know ACE history is used by algorithms to deny pain care? Especially if female with history of sexual abuse or rape. I support care for those with ACEs, so important to talk about, but also good to know it will be used against you when you are most vulnerable. Please everyone contact elected officials and CDC about this. Restricting care for pain is not reducing overdoses and addiction. Those suffering from addiction need care also.
Thanks again, best.
I know this is belated but Happy Birthday!
Wil. Powerful stuff…I have lived the similar childhood as you did. Instead of being Mom and Dad, it was Mom and Stepdad. I didn’t get to see my Dad enough. She made that so. My stepfather was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive to me, but not to the others. My Mom ignored it. I was the bed seed. I was the problem. I can relate to everything you went through as a child (minus the being an awesome actor stuff). Thankfully, my Father, through countless court battles finally one sole custody of me in my mid teens. Unfortunately, the damage was done, but that change in my life helped me heal a bit, while the scars remain. I continue to heal to this day. I don’t think these things ever really go away, but having the right support around me always helps.
Anyway, I listened to you on The Kingcast as you told your story. So many memories flooded in! No wonder I related to you as a child when watching Stand By Me as a young teen. Gordie LeChance was my friend. He was because he was also a lot like me. Had to be hard for you as a kid to play that character, since you were already living his home life. Anyway, I want to thank you for being so open and vulnerable, and for kicking the habit that blanketed you for so long. Side note, I was a fan of Wesley Crusher and will defend that forever! Happy belated birthday.
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