My best friend sat with me the other night and reinforced why I had to stop drinking. He mentioned several occasions in the last few years where my drinking habit spun completely out of control. The times where I would black-out and do things completely out of character–like start a fight or aimlessly argue with whoever would argue back. As he was talking about some of the drunken events–I would say: “I don’t remember that.” Then, he would go more in depth and I would say: “oh my god, I remember now.” Once I remembered, the only thing I could do was place my hands over my face in complete disgust as my body and mind became engulfed in humiliation. I always thought of myself as an at home drinker–someone who drank alone and drank a lot, but didn’t cross the line like some foolish lush. No, I was both an obnoxious black-out drunk–and an at home drinker who drank away a lot of bad memories.
My best friend also mentioned that when he would visit my house, he noticed the leaning tower of bottles and cans that were stacked on my counter-top next to the microwave. Six pack upon six-pack piled on and around bottles of cheap wine and liquor. Once every two days I would take the bottles and cans to the recycle bin–which by the end of each week was filled with empty containers of Coors Light, New Castle, Corona, Charles Shaw and microwave pizza boxes. Again, the only thing I could do was hang my head in shame as waves of awkwardness surged through my body.
My friend and I were having this discussion at a bar–he was drinking his second gin and tonic. At one point he said “I miss my drinking buddy, but I understand why you had to stop.” I guess you’re thinking “why would you be at a bar?” Well, i’m not the kind of recovering alcoholic who is going to avoid every bar, restaurant and BBQ just because others are drinking. I am confident that I drank my last beer, threw up my last shot of wild turkey and guzzled my last bottle of wine. Just like I told my ex-girlfriend (she assumes I quit just because she walked out)–i’m not quitting for you–i’m quitting because I want to live…and I want to live productively. They say in AA “one beer is too little and a thousand is never enough.” It’s true. I know if I tip back one beer, take one shot or drink a glass of wine–I will be right back at square one, and that’s not happening. It is a decision between life and death. I choose life.
On day 110–i’m remembering not to forget the idiotic things I did when drunk. The wreckage I created–and best friend I lost forever. The health complications that surfaced–the weight gain, the boils that infested my face and the migraine head-aches. I never again want to be the reason for my own misery.
In just 110 days, as stated before, I have lost 25/lbs–I stabilized my blood pressure, my face has cleared up, energy levels are soaring and I landed a new job that is a HUGE step up. I now see my potential–and that potential is endless as long as I don’t stare down a bottle of booze. Slowly, I have been piecing my life together–and though some pieces are missing, the most important ones remain. With my new job, which I credit to increased motivation and determination–Lila and I are in the process of buying a much needed new car. A car that we can rely on for years to come. And one day, Lila and I can get a new apartment–one where we don’t share a room and can get a dog.
In the Bay Area, when you have no immediate family support, only the determined, well funded and strong can survive with the absurd cost of living. On day 110–I am focused on giving it my best shot–and not looking back and thinking of “what could’ve been if I just made the right decisions.” I have to give notice at the job I have been at for 4 years–and though I have second guessed my pursuit of six-figures, it’s something I have to do for Lila and I’s future. It’s time to see our real potential.
When my friend closed his tab–the bar-tender, who was eaves-dropping, looked at me and said “hey guy–you’re a strong dude for what you’re doing.” I just smiled and said “i’m 110 days into finally doing the right thing.” She smiled, and so did I.