I took my first sip of alcohol when I was 14, and immediately fell in love with what it did for me. Quickly, I realized the socially beneficial qualities it allowed me to embrace as I learned how to hide my introverted self, and explore a new personality that emerged with every night with the bottle. As most of us recall the hilarity of it, the bottle in high school was almost always made of plastic.
There was never any moment from the age 14 – 22 where I felt any looming realization that alcoholism was present in myself. I regarded every social outing that included drinking as a chance to have fun, talk to some girls, and have some laughs with close friends of mine. However, an imminent personality shift began to sneak itself into my life through my newly found hobbies of drinking; a personality many people like to call (rightfully so) a “fucking asshole.”
Strangely, at the time of this negative molding phase I was experiencing, I had never noticed this trait in me, regardless of it’s consistency towards the people around me. I began to take a liking to fighting and causing pain due to my own insecurities and frustrations that encapsulated my life, which was filled with anger, confusion, and general apathy towards growth in myself and my education. In just 9 years of drinking, I had rewired almost every positive quality I once had and warped them into a self-destructive, hateful, and selfish mess. Blacking out was a regular occurrence, and cracking a cold one the next day to repair the hangover was a welcoming thought.
Sometime around the age of 23 or 24, a switch flipped in my mind and I was no longer able to stop drinking after one drink. It seemed everything that I was planning or focused on began to revolve around the consumption of alcohol. I started allowing myself excuses to thwart my subconscious understanding that I had a problem. I poured frothy and self assuring statements like “I’m a craft beer enthusiast,” or “I’m in the Marine Corps. It’s what we do!” into my tall psychological pint glass. Once it overflowed, I realized I hated myself and that getting hit by a bus really didn’t seem that bad. In fact, I welcomed the idea. Panic set in and my heart would race if I had forgotten to restock the fridge. Social drinking was a faded memory; it was just me and the bottle that, at one point in time, made me feel so alive.
Worriedly, I attempted to give myself a nice set of guidelines: No drinking on weekdays, and no drinking until 7 pm. However, I would quickly decide that 6 o’clock sounded okay. Then 5. Then 4. Eventually at 11. At a certain point I couldn’t go a day without drinking. I realized that I may have the bug and my own willpower was not enough to be rid of my affinity for alcohol.
On May 4th, 2018 I stopped drinking and went to my first AA meeting. My alcoholic mind figured I’d wait for a quit-day that I could remember (you Star Wars fans know). After the first couple weeks, things began to look up. My insecurities and negative traits were radically exposed, and I realized just how shitty I had become in a mere 10 years. Although being sober isn’t easy, it’s incredible worth it. The things that make me happy once again are my relationships, my productivity, and my pursuit into being a better person. I have started writing, photography, and meditation to combat my wandering mind.
There are only a few certain truths that I am aware of, and one of them is that being sober helps with my mind that loves to wander. I’m still not whole, and I’m not sure I will ever be. However, the sensation of accomplishment, pursuit of happiness, and discovery of spirituality within myself in this universe brightens my day up, and I plan to expand on that until the day I am no more.
Today marks 100 days, and I would never be pursuing these things that interest me if the only thing I set my sights on was my next high or drunk. I hope everyone has an amazing rest of their summer and week!