Redesign, Rebuild, Reclaim – Dark Match Matt Turns Heel

This article is not about professional wrestling, no matter how I managed to tie it in.

Hi, my name is Matt, and I’m an alcoholic.  It’s actually sort of reassuring that I’ve finally said that, out loud, without my trademark “shit eating grin” or a chuckle.

I’ve started and stopped this post probably 15 times in the past year, convinced myself that it didn’t do anybody any good for me to draw attention to myself for my “problems”.  The fact of the matter is, keeping all this internalized is probably the biggest reason the problem has gotten to the point that it has.  I’d go on about my life, taking periods clean to convince everyone around me, even myself, that I had everything under control and there wasn’t a problem, then end up right back where I started again.

I’ve watched the Mike Kanellis (Mike Bennett) video several times since Jeremy told me about it a couple weeks back, and as the realization set in that I related more to it than I wanted to admit, I decided it was finally time to put it all out there and actually commit myself to the idea of following through on what up to now has been years of empty promises.

If you haven’t watched the Kanellis video, here it is:

He had the will to come clean about everything, and I found something inspiring in it.  So while I would generally prefer to sweep my issues under the rug and not put it out there for the world to see, I find a greater amount of value in the idea that I could help someone else see that there’s hope as well.

I’m approaching my 33rd birthday.  A little more than a decade of that has been spent in a blur.  Nights I can’t remember, days I can’t forget, they’re all the same.  The hangovers are nothing compared to the looks of disappointment on the faces of those that matter to me the most, those that actually care about me.  And don’t worry, I’m not going to hit you with a This Is Us level sob story about me being the product of alcoholic parents who never loved me.  The truth is, for as much as I truly do love enjoying a quality tasting beer, I love the numb feeling that much more.  It’s not some ongoing circle of genetic abnormality, it’s just me enjoying the parts of alcohol that let me escape for a while.  From what, I don’t know that I’ll ever really know, but that’s the thing about demons, right?  And as far as I can tell, my parents both love me.

I’ve considered AA.  I really have.  I looked into it a while back and I’ve looked into it over the last week.  My concern is in my conviction, not to getting and staying clean and sober, but to committing myself to a program built on a foundation of religious faith, of which I am shaky at best.  How am I to commit myself to a program when I walk through the door cynical of the very foundation upon which the program bases its teachings and practices?  The short answer is I can’t.  Step 3 of the 12 step program is “Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”  I don’t even like that the pronoun him is used there, much less all my other hesitation related to the statement itself, and that’s just one step of the twelve.

So what do I do?


The life that the 17-year old version of myself envisioned for me hasn’t necessarily passed, but it’s going to be a lot harder to become a professional baseball player at 33.  As for the rest of my dreams, who says I can’t still chase them?  At this point, the only thing that I can do is redesign the plan that I have for myself around this new commitment, and use that plan as the focal point to stick to my commitment.  Structure has always been the most valuable asset in my life when it has come to getting things done, sticking to a plan, achieving a goal, etc.  I committed myself to losing weight, went Vegan and worked out like a madman and lost 30 pounds since the start of the Summer.  I structured my life around that goal.  I built the foundation to achieve it.  That’s what I have to do to be successful in my endeavor to stop disappointing everyone around me.

The one dream I’ve always had for myself was to be a writer.  Staying sober long enough to get through a page without passing out is probably the easiest way to get that ball rolling.  With the weight loss and physical development I’ve experienced this year, and my deeply rooted love for professional wrestling, who’s to say I can’t go to wrestling school?  Ron Funches is doing it.  Why can’t I (aside from the lack of fame and NBC sitcom money)?  If I create my own opportunities and find new aspirations, I will focus on them and not on all the things I used alcohol to hide from over the years.  It’s not about distractions, it’s about purpose.

I can’t get back the 12 years I’ve lost, but I can get myself back on the right track.  They say 40 is the new 30, so I’ve still got time to get this thing right, right?

The redesign has to come from within.  Nobody else is going to make me drink or not drink.  It’s a choice that I make, and I have to set myself on the path to make the right one.


There’s a lot to be said about burned bridges.  I’m not going to start calling around and making amends for all the stupid shit I’ve done over the years, I’d like to hope that there aren’t a ton of people sitting around waiting on that phone call.  If word of this “change” gets out and people need to talk to me about the wrongs I’ve done them, I’ll be more than willing to have those conversations.  This rebuild is the relationships with those still directly in my circle that I’ve strained over time, the people that I’ve worried or hurt that have had the will and the strength to tough it out with me for whatever reason.  The people that I can truly say that I love are quite few in number, so that is the most important part of the rebuild.  What’s the point in mending bridges before your house is in order?

I value these relationships beyond anything, and if I need a support system like some people find through AA, these relationships are going to be my best shot at actually staving off the need I have to crash and burn.  The stronger I can make these bonds, the more committed I will be to the changes I need to make to keep them that way.


I didn’t let the problem fester to the point where I’m aged and alone.  The life I want to have is still attainable, I just have to set myself on the right path to lay claim to it.  Staying healthy, fostering healthy relationships, steering with focus and purpose, this is the map to where I want to be.  I’ve known it the whole time, I was just driving drunk on the metaphorical road of life so I steered well off course a time or two.  I don’t have to be afraid of failure anymore, it’s ok at this point because I’ve done it enough.  I don’t have to hide anymore and I don’t have anything to run from anymore.  I can be better, I will be better, I will reclaim the life I have long wanted for myself.

It’s not going to be easy, and I know that.  I could write a thousand of these articles and it doesn’t change who I have inherently let myself become.  But it’s one day at a time, and eventually, it won’t even be something I have to actively make an effort to do, it’ll just be how I go about my life.  Structure.  It’s the one thing that dictates the vast majority of my day to day activity.  I build a routine and it becomes my nature.  I don’t deviate from my nature.  So now I start the task of redesigning my nature, rebuilding my structure, and reclaiming my future.  Hell yeah, ended it on a cheesy one liner.  That’s what I’m talking about.

If anyone has similar struggles and wants to talk, I’m readily available.  Maybe you don’t want to talk to someone you know, I would recommend actually considering a program because anonymity is kind of their thing.  And if you don’t know if you have a problem, ask the people you care about most, they’ll tell you the truth.

Thank you all for letting me get it off my chest, and thank you for continuing to support The Dark Match and its contributors.

Wish me luck….