Was the last time alcohol touched my lips…

To say I’m grateful, would be the understatement of the year. I cringe to think at what I might have become if I kept up with my drinking ways.

But to say I was down and out, living in a van down by the river, would also be the understatement of the year. I was getting along relatively well. I didn’t much care for hard liquor. I didn’t need a drink in the morning to get my day started either. I just liked beer. Well, actually, I LOVED beer. And for me there was never such a thing as one beer. It was always more.

Most of the time I was a happy drunk too. I think I was fun to be around, engaging, a good guy. But 5-10% of the time, well that’s when I’d get surly. And that’s when bad things would happen. I regret it. However, I also can not believe how lucky I am that nothing worse than some black eyes and such ever happened.

It was in 8th grade when I developed my love for beer, and back then it was also Boone’s Farm. We were at at an 8th grade dance and a few of my friends and I found some way to get drunk. I loved it. Being drunk allowed me to be open, for once, to not care. It was very liberating.

I remember throwing up all over the place though, to include on the girl I was dancing with, and while that was embarrassing it was essentially the cost of doing business.

The next weekend all kinds of local kids in my neighborhood were drinking in a school playground and I passed out. I remember staggering home early in the morning, praying my dad hadn’t woken up yet. Thankfully he hadn’t. But, unfortunately, I also lost the glasses he just got for me the day before.

So I squinted my way through the rest of 8th grade and even halfway through 9th, until my dad moved and I moved in with my mom and her boyfriend. Then, a year after losing my pair, I got new glasses.

When I changed high schools midway through 9th grade, I left my old drinking buddies behind but was quickly able to find new friends who partook in more than just drinking. Thankfully, though, in the summer between 9th and 10th grades, I moved again, to rejoin my dad but this time right outside Washington DC.

10th grade was a reprieve as I didn’t really have many friends. But as I started to meet new kids in the summer between 10th and 11th, it was back on. Big time. And in never stopped until 5/22/97.

In the Army, I got in trouble quite a bit…and could have got into a LOT more. Divine intervention I suppose. Surprisingly, there was ALWAYS 1 constant variable in my misdeeds… wanna guess what that was?

For the next 5 years, it was the same old story. Any time something bad happened, there was always the same one thing involved.

One day I woke up, hung over like I’ve never been, not remembering what happened the night before, and I just said to myself, “I’ve got to stop this nonsense!” And that was it.

Sadly, the guy whose house I was at on my last night of drinking is no longer with us. He took a different path and died from an overdose 10 years later.

I doubt that would have been me because I never liked drugs. I just liked beer. No I just LOVED beer.

I still LOVE beer. And that’s the problem. For me there is no such thing as 1 beer. Never has been, never will be. If I ever cease to remember that, I will be back in the land of the lost quicker than the speed of light.

And this is what I want to leave you with. If you are fighting some kind of addiction, please remember, even if you can beat it back, the addiction is forever with you. Every day is a battle. There is never a reprieve. Thus, you can’t fall back. You can never say “Just this one.” It doesn’t work that way.

It’s all or nothing.

But remember, all you need to do is win RIGHT NOW! You don’t need to win 10 years from now. I hear a lot “you don’t think you’ll ever drink again?” To which I say, “Man, I’ve no clue. But RIGHT NOW, I won’t.” And that’s all I, and you, can do.

Don’t engage NOW. Whatever your issue is. REFUSE it, NOW. Let tomorrow handle tomorrow. But as the saying at AA goes, “One Day At A Time.” For many of us, it’s actually “One Moment At A Time”.

If you are struggling, I can’t recommend going to AA enough. You’ll meet people who literally were living in that van down by the river. You’ll hear their stories of how they lost everything and you’ll be humbled. But you’ll also realize there is hope. You can win. But you to start sometime. So why not make it today???

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