Guilty (Pleasures)

Some nights, I fall and hard. My hands are heavy and numb from the constant beer bottles shuffling out of my hands. It’s an easy addiction made only easier by having a rough or less than stellar work day. Does that mean I’m proud of the amount of liquid courage cascading down my throat? Absolutely not. Drinking is a bitch. Unfortunately, it brings out the worst in me when I tread passed calm and relaxed and into unadulterated chaos. I’m a mess, but only some days.

I’ve asked a close friend if doing these activities somehow makes me a bad person. Does the infrequent nights where I willing indulge in my guilty pleasures define me? She says no. I’ve found myself asking her for advice on more than one occasion, since she’s a nurse by night and someone I’ve known for more than half my life. My core group of friends have one skewed and often colored perception on the topic of drinking and other illicit activities. I reasonably couldn’t expect the truth from them. Say it ain’t so.

Other days, I feel completely untouchable. I’ll run my usual 5K and feel the rush of endorphins flooding my inner cranium. It stopped being hard since last year and now is the go to method for stress relief. Maybe the sales for the month are at a new all time high and my bonus is larger than ever. Good news tends to trickle in — only making it more scarce and of a lower threshold.

I’m no saint, but I have honesty going for me. What do I have to lose? Almost every week I ask myself: What the fuck am I doing?



The Home Stretch

With just a little over half a month remaining for the year, the urge — or thoughts rather, to drink have been more frequent. The greatest battles are the ones in your mind and it’s only fitting when the finish line is so fucking close. Drinking is fun — like really fucking fun. You can go into most stores and buy alcohol without much trouble. I use to buy a bottle of Svedka every week like clockwork. I justified it by including it with the cost of groceries. I suppose this is where the trouble stems. Ease of access and self-denial.

I’ve been asked, “What will you do after your one year is up?” I would like to continue to not drink and forgo alcohol all together for all the benefits being sober brings. Most people don’t give drinking a second thought. You go to a family gathering, someone is likely to offer you a beer or several throughout the course of a night. You hangout with the boys and again, most nights, there is alcohol involved. It’s ingrained in our culture to consume it. I wish it wasn’t.

“Why can’t you just have one?”

This has been a question I hear a lot and my response is either: I’ve gone this far, why start again? Or, “What makes you think someone like me will just stop at one? Sedation is a great feeling, especially after a long day and it quickly turns into a habit that has you feigning for more. Shit. Motherfucker, I would know. I’ve tried unsuccessfully countless times to quit the habit and only until now has it really stuck.

Back in college, my friend Peter also had a very severe drinking problem. Our days and nights consisted of sitting outside my apartment with a case of beer, a pack of cigarettes and kicking the shit. Bonding like bros with our vices in complete control of our lives. Knowing this about ourselves, we went to an AA meeting. You know, Alcoholics Anonymous. We sat around with others facing the exact same issue and introduced ourselves, “Hi, my name is Danny and I’m an alcoholic.” This is self-help at its finest. Did it work? Not the slightest. We quickly left before the meeting was done. Truthfully, there is a better way of being sober, but I wouldn’t stop someone facing a similar predicament to not give it a try. I laughed at the advice they offered, but one size does not fit all.

My friend Peter never broke the habit. I hope and pray he finds the light.

After going another two years hammering down bottle after bottle, something in my head clicked. Hangovers became more frequent and lasted longer. My appearance took a turn for the worst and just felt like I lost myself to sweet liquid courage. Dark times were ahead of me and I knew it. The first step is always to admit to yourself you have a problem. What follows is searching inside to find the root cause. It sucks to quit anything, but better late than never. Anything is possible. The thought of letting yourself down should be a motivator to have better healthier habits. Tell everyone you know your plans and goals. At least this isn’t just solely about you anymore. No one wants to let their friends down with another failed attempt.

Later world.