Saturday, October 07, 2006

Happy Anniversary...to me

Sometimes when we write, we get into personal things. This is one of these posts.

Today is my anniversary. Not from when I met Larry. That will be in a few days. Eighteen years ago today… I stopped drinking.

So there, it’s out there. Yes, I am an alcoholic.

This disease rages through my mom’s side of our family and I was lucky one to inherit it in my immediate family. Blessed by a slightly compulsive nature, it’s too easy for me to caught up in things, be they habits, collections or drinking.

I was only 21 when I decided to quit. I went to college in Ohio which at that time had a 19 year drinking age. To say that I had fully immersed myself into the happy hour scene would be an understatement. I’d been drinking since I was 17, and it got progressively worse at an early age.

My drinking was hard and fast. Happy hour by 4:00 pm, downing three 48oz Long Island Ice Teas. Home drunk by 6:00. Vomit by 7. In bed by 8. Next morning… was fine. Not a pretty life but it was what I enjoyed. But I paid the price.

That Fall, I ran for Social Chair of my service fraternity and lost. Rumor was that most people didn’t think I’d stay sober through the events. Then came homecoming weekend.

Thirty-six hours of non-stop drinking. Followed by 24 hours of the DT’s. My roommate Kevin, helped me deal with that Monday. That night, he said I had to deal with a lot more.

The writing of what my life was to be was on the wall. I had to choose. So I quit…just like that.

I had great friends who stood by my side. They organized events that avoided alcohol. They kept me occupied enough to not even notice the absence of liquor. And they listened as I discussed my frustrations with my drinking.

The hardest thing I’ve done was stay dry. It’s a tough explanation to college buddies of why I couldn't drink anymore. And if one more person asks if I’m Mormon, I’ll laugh.

But I’m happy and safe. And frankly, you are too. (I wasn’t the safest or nicest drunk.)

So while this isn’t the funniest post, it was important to write. I know it’s a little self-indulgent, but I think in this case… it’s allowed.

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13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So congratulations again.

It's pretty impressive

3:51 PM  
Blogger Bacchus said...

Congratulations.

6:03 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Well done you.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Chag said...

Congratulations on staying sober for 18 years! It must've been tough to quit while in college.

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

18 years is amazing. Good job! I can't imagine how hard that must have been for you.

People really ask if you are a Mormon.

I probably assume all the Mormons are just in recovery. Maybe that is just my crowd.

10:35 PM  
Blogger Kara said...

Congratulations on 18 years. Here's to 100 more.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Lola and Ava said...

Happy 18th! You really didn't miss anything major in college . . . I've heard the stories and seen the results as well as the renaming of said service fraternity's alcohol policy.

2:58 PM  
Anonymous AdventureDad said...

Happy Anniversary! This anniversary is much more important some a birthday or anything else. I'm impressed you had the strength to stay the course.

AD

5:50 PM  
Blogger Jonathon said...

Congratulations man.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous the weirdgirl said...

Congratulations, and for doing it so young! Alcoholism runs in my family, too. I've always avoided the lifestyle, but I see a potentially bad path starting for my kid brother.

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have seen first hand the devastating effects of alcohol. Coming from a family with numerous alcoholics, I have seen how it can turn the most loving people into lunatics who hit their wives and children, disappear for months on end and eventually led to one uncle’s death. I don’t touch the stuff. As for you, my kind and gentle friend, your life is too valuable to waste in a bottle so I applaud your courage and determination.

2:58 PM  
Blogger Georgia said...

Once again, you lead by example. Congratulations. :)

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, that terrific.

3:13 PM  

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