lonely, in pain and a brilliant mind
Secrets, incredible acting and a magician’s ability to divert attention. My ability to lie took so much time to develop and gain the confidence to do so, but eventually lying could not mask the pain anymore. When I was drinking, I thought about alcohol all the time. I wanted drugs all the time. My drug of choice was always ‘more’ (I did not invent this phrase, but I believe it to be brilliant in the ways of an addict’s mind). So many people walk around every day and the idea of a drink or a drug never even crosses their mind. How different we are. This feeling never completely goes away, I still have numerous moments where somehow the idea of drugs or alcohol enter my mind, but over time I have built up a defense system equipped with support. Nevertheless, sometimes, undeniably, crazy thoughts can pop into my head. Now I mean fucking crazy thoughts. Please remember, as an addict I have a brilliant mind. I am somehow smart enough to know I couldn’t have a drink even if I wanted to. When I drank, I was sloppy and obvious and it was undeniable. So I’d never get away with it. Hear that? “Get away with it.” That’s my first consequence on the chart. Get away with it how? Not go to jail? Not die? How insane it can be to be this way. I recall these type of thoughts: “So I drank a fifth of vodka alone in a night, so what? I didn’t do anything stupid this time. No one even knew, all good.”
-Yes I did this and yes, I thought it was “cool”. It is not cool to drink a fifth of vodka, especially alone.
That is the point here. My mind works differently. Liver failure, DUI, jail time, killing someone, killing myself. So many people look at those consequences and decide to avoid the things that could allow these items to happen. Some of these items don’t even enter certain people’s minds. Why would they? Well the honest to God’s truth is that NONE of them EVER stopped me from drinking. Some nights I prayed one or the other would not happen to me out of fear, but I still kept going. The instant that first drop of alcohol hit my lips and then my stomach, the feeling was pure bliss, I thought.
The very second I felt that alcohol, that fire hit my belly, I was gone. I was happy (sure I was). Start the race. My new goal until I passed out was to find and pour as much of that liquor down my throat as I could. I do not have the best ears in the world, but I could hear a bartender call last call from a mile away. Last call at a bar for me involved three completely necessary tasks. Task 1: Get to the bar quickly and order myself two drinks, usually each a double (unless on the off chance they had cut me off, which happened a few times see addendum A – Finding a friend to get a drink for me). Task 2: Figure out the plan to drink more after that bar, even if it meant at home alone. Task 3 (optional): Hopefully find someone to take a shot with (on top of the two doubles I had ordered). If you wanted to see me frustrated and quietly angry, you should have seen me on days, where Task 2 had no prospects and my wife insisted I come home and go to bed. This meant drinking time was over (see addendum B – Convincing the wife to have a drink when we got home.) Yet this was all my normal world and it made sense somehow.
i am insane
This blog is my place to speak my truth. I don’t speak for alcoholics or addicts. I find these pieces allow me to stay honest and are just another piece that helps me not drink today. I have had some amazing people support me and talk to me after a piece and I am eternally grateful for that response. I love to hear from people on either side of the fence and welcome a discussion. Pardon my language here, but those who have never experienced addiction have no fucking clue what it is like. I make jokes that I still do tons of things alcoholically, like eating a full sleeve of cookies or exercising as much as possible for a few weeks. These things are true. However, that is not true addiction. Addiction is being late to an important meeting because you have to stop home and get high. Addiction is using money you need for dinner but using it for drugs instead and consciously making that decision and feeling as though it was the right one.
I was poor as fuck in college, but I was still stoned every day and blackout drunk often. Waking up in strange places not knowing why you are there is a feeling you keep with you. A rooftop comes to mind. And it’s ok to smile or laugh about that but also realize that there was pain and problems with something like that. Laughing about some of the stupid stuff I did is also helpful. But as much as I hated the idea, eventually, the party had to end…
the end of the party
This is the part where they put the disclaimer up ‘Viewer Discretion Advised’. I do not presume that April 2010 was my rock bottom. I PRAY that it was, but in this world of addiction, filling my head with grandiose ideas of never drinking again is a very unhealthy and, at times, overwhelming way to feel.
My body wants more and more and more of everything. I did not handle traveling home after vacation very well. On vacation, I went all out, all the time. I blacked out and do not remember entire evenings. I puked so much I literally could puke no more. Even alcohol poisoning, or as close as one can get, two nights in a row, in Vegas and vomiting blood everywhere didn’t even make me think for one second that I should cool it on the drinking. After the first night of walking the line between passing out on a bathroom floor and being takin to the hospital, I went with my fiancé to breakfast. Well, I could not even eat. All I could do was drink straight vodka out of a water bottle while holding back the spits with a hotel hand towel. Even then, there was ZERO thought of quitting or that I had a problem. The only thought was of getting enough vodka back in my system that I could function and be normal. That is the truth of the matter. I really believed that if I could just drink a full water bottle of vodka at 11am on an empty stomach, that I would feel normal again and thus, it was ok. Many hours later I could be seen walking through Old Vegas with a full wine bottle in hand. You might be thinking that after drinking for another 20 hours and coming severely close, again, to death, this must be the story of the end. Unfortunately, that story happened two years before I quit drinking. I was hung over for a month though. Seriously. One month, yet I did not give it up.
Finally, when we lost Dave in January of 2010, I could no longer stop the train racing towards the cliff. The last normal for me was secret drinks at work, snorting anxiety medication just because and smoking weed as if it were a second job. But mostly, my normal was unhappiness. I did not genuinely smile much during those few months. I am brilliant so I made the best appearance of “I’m getting through it all.” But deep inside, I wasn’t. In my thoughts, I was too cowardly to kill myself, but I secretly hoped the booze and medication might eventually do it, especially if I used them to excess. And I am talking a level of excess I had yet to achieve to this point because I had some genuine fear of death. But take away that fear of death and mix it with an alcoholic’s downward spiral and you’ve got a recipe for one serious disaster. I don’t mind meeting friends at a bar occasionally, I like a good party for a few hours, I’ll even entertain my best friends sometimes until midnight or so if I’m feeling generous. But for me the party has ended and I couldn’t be happier about it. I love a cup of coffee and a conversation any day over watching people trip over themselves or try to tell me, in slurred speech, that they are proud of me. Avoiding a given event or party isn’t about the fear of relapse, it is about the desire to not go back and visit the prisons I once inhabited.
I was lucky. My disaster was pretty big. It was very hard. But I survived it and I am here today and writing about it and you are reading it and still talking to me. You must understand how insanely impossible this reality would have been to comprehend back then. It could not happen, yet it did. If you wanna talk about addiction, lets talk. If you wanna know more, I’ll buy you a coffee and tell you more. If you hate this blog, well, luckily there are other options out there. But most importantly, I just want to say to anyone reading, thank you.