How many times did I ask this question? In my opinion if you constantly find yourself typing ‘how to cut down on drinking’ into Google, odds are you may have a problem with drinking.This is not a sure thing however it is a good indication. If time and time again you go out, have a few too many and end up making an ass out of yourself at the bar, or worse yet wake up bruised and bloody with no idea how it happened and are still convinced that you have no problem with alcohol you may have a big surprise coming your way. Naturally you are going to keep on drinking and every time you have a good night you will celebrate the fact that you are in control of your drinking, until the next time something inevitably goes wrong. After a few more occasions you will probably attempt to drink only certain kinds of alcohol or perhaps just cut down on the number of shots you have at the bar. This is just an attempt at prolonging your drinking career before people start to really notice that when you drink you tend to go overboard.
Now, before anyone gets too angry at me, I must admit that I am talking about my own experiences with drinking and the denial that I was an alcoholic. However after going through treatment and attending a boat load of AA meetings I can tell you that I was definitely not the only person this happened to.
Now back to my little story…Believe it or not all of these things happened before my 20th birthday. Now this is when things got interesting, I was introduced to my first drug of choice. Let me tell you when this happened; I was completely drunk, slurring my words and I’m sure I wasn’t walking in a straight line however after I tried that drug that night I was a changed man, I had arrived… I walked back into that bar with my head held high, I was able to drink with what seemed like little to no ill effect and I could talk to any girl in the bar. I was in love, I was hooked. I was in trouble.
With the ‘help’ of drugs I was able to drink, and drink and drink some more. I could be falling over drunk, go into the bathroom and come out brand new, ready to start all over.The nights that I was unable to get drugs I was sure to end up blacking out, forgetting hours and hours of my life, waking up in places and having no idea how I had got there or who I was with. I have woken up with a hospital band on my arm and no idea how I got beat up and left for dead. I have woken up in a snowbank with no wallet and no jacket, I am lucky to be alive.
As the years went on my behavior got worse. I went from doing this once or maybe twice a week on Fridays and Saturdays, then I started to throw ‘Sunday Fundays’ into the mix. This was when I woke up on Sunday morning and was so hung over the only way to feel better was to start drinking again. By the time I was 25 I was a daily drinker and I was using almost everyday by the age of 27. At around 30 years of age I stopped going out and started running out of friends to party with (because they had all grown up and got on with their lives). Between the ages of 28 and 31 I began isolating myself from everyone so I could use and drink without having to share with anyone else. I moved to the West Coast because if I had no one to watch me no one would know what I was doing and no one could care about me and try to stop me from doing what I was doing. I remember my sister calling me when I was in Vancouver, she was crying and saying that she didn’t want me to die and that she wanted me to settle down. Still I kept going, kept using kept pushing all the thoughts out of my head with smoke from my pipe. By this time there was no fun in using. I would just get it into me as fast as I could so I didn’t need to feel anything, then I would wash it down with a 26′er and 20 tylenol ones so I could pass out and still make it to work the next day, so I could afford to do it all over again. Every day I would tell myself I was done, yet every night I would end up at the liqour store and then meet up with my dealer shortly after that.,. It was a viscous cycle.
One night I went out with some friends and met up with a guy I hadn’t seen in years. That night when we all said goodnight and went home he went back to his cousins where he was spending the weekend. Something went wrong and he overdosed, they found him foaming at the mouth, but it was too late. The mixture of booze and oxycodone was enough to kill him. It was the first time I had seen him and would be the last. That night bothered me. I knew my friends were experimenting with oxys back home so a couple of weeks later I moved home to make sure that didn’t happen to them. Instead, what happened was I found out why everyone was using them and within 2 months I was to the point where if I stopped I would have to endure 5-7 days of withdrawal.
Dates and times don’t mean much to me anymore. I couldn’t tell you how long it was between that point and the point of me entering treatment. It must have been a year, those days are a blur. I remember telling myself that I had to stop. I wanted a family, I wanted money in the bank. I spent so much time envying the lives of my friends who seemed to have life figured out, and here I was a sad, lonely drunken drug addict. I remember crying at the kitchen table by myself completely out of it and that was when I decided to change. I quit everything cold turkey. I felt better, looked better and I was definitely thinking more clearly. As the days wore on I can remember exactly, it was a Saturday afternoon and there was a country dance that night. Everyone in the small apartment complex I lived in were pre-drinking and it was the 30th day of me being clean and sober. I was proud of myself and figured I had went 30 days already so I would just go out for one night do whatever I wanted with no regrets and then get back on track the next day. Yeah right. I don’t remember much of that night. I don’t think I did drugs but I’m not sure. I do know that I woke up soaked because I had passed out and pissed myself. Within days I was using and drinking daily again and this time it was like I could not stop. I would remind myself how I had just done so well by going those 30 days but it didn’t matter. I would arrive at my dealers house with really no thought, it was almost subconscious. I would swear up and down that I wasn’t going to drink that day. Yet everyday even if it was 5 to 9:00pm I would find myself over at the LCBO grabbing whatever I could afford to help me get to sleep. I was in trouble and I knew it. I had hit my bottom. I officially hated myself and what I had become. There was no cutting down, or taking a night off even if I didn’t want to drink or use my body and my brain told me otherwise. I was officially dependent on my booze and drugs I felt I couldn’t live without either of them.