I've been asked a few times before if I had an alcohol problem. I suspect it’s because I joke a lot about drinking and getting fucked up and rave on and on about how awesome drunk sex is. And I'll admit, I didn't know how to answer that question when I was first asked. I still don't know how to answer to that question. The truth is that I don't know what an alcohol problem actually looks like. But I imagine bragging about throwing your liver a Going Away Party every Friday isn’t exactly sober behavior at its finest.
Still, the question remains, what does an alcohol problem look like? Or any addiction for that matter?
Does it look like a drunk, horny chick stumbling down the stairs wearing one broken heel with dried vomit stuck to her hair and shirt? Is this same drunk, horny chick singing Beyoncé’s “Partition” and fucking up the words in a slurred, drunken daze?
Does it look like a drunk, violent old man that stumbles through the house throwing around expletives at people like snowballs filled with "fucks,""shits," and "gawd dammits"? Is this same drunk, violent man ranting about how he pays all the gawd damn bills in the house and has an actual lock on the thermostat to keep you from fucking with the heat and/or AC?
What the hell does an alcohol problem look like? Because I'm leaning toward feeling like I don't have an issue—but everything in me says I do. Four or five bottles of wine a week is just not healthy or normal. Can’t be. And I want to figure this out before shit gets serious. I wanna nip this in the bud before I start stealing toasters and selling them shits for whatever change people can find in their couch.
I suppose to find the answer, I got to start from the beginning.
You see, I've had liquor as early as like 12 or 13 years old. I'd steal swigs out of almost-empty beer cans left over from card parties my mama threw the night before. And every single time, I wondered how anyone could drink such warm, carbonated piss? Beer was like the worst shit I’d ever tasted. Yet, I drank the shit anyway. Mostly to be rebellious. But a small part of me felt the tiniest of pleasure hidden in the microscopic-ass buzz I got from those almost-empty cans.
Then I started wanting more.
Social drinking began for me in college as some sort of twisted requirement to have fun. It's like we didn't believe you can kick it hard at a party unless you were drinking something and getting completely fucked up by it. So we'd share a bottle of Mad Dog and even experimented with Everclear. We never knew when to say "when," either, so we'd always end up too drunk and hungover the next day, lying about how we'd never drink again. I remember getting so fucked up, my dorm room bed caught on fire. I just stood in front of the mirror saying my ABCs laughing each time I got to my initial. Meanwhile, my bed was in the background BBQing.
This is the kind of shit that alkies do: BBQ their beds and the sing the alphabet as they do it.
Marriage is when the purpose of drinking changed for me, though.
Every other day I was arguing with my ex-wife over the pettiest shit. Perhaps it was because I was in a state of constant insecurity because of the numerous previous infidelities that I overlooked for the sake of keeping my family in one piece.
Or maybe it was because I was in the middle of a stint in the Marines with the threat of an Iraq deployment hanging over my head. Either way, I drank to numb myself. Besides, often times, coming home from work felt like I was simply going to another fucking job.
I often needed an escape. A thousand miles away from my real home, a private person such as myself didn't have a lot of friends to vent to or go out with. My wife at the time, the one you'd think would be that shoulder to lean on was, in fact, the person I needed the escape from. The only thing left to do was escape reality. And I did. I'd go to my private little room where my studio equipment was and make beats and drink all gawd damn night. And it made me feel so good, too.
I would, of course, pay the price via dehydration and other hangover symptoms, but it was well worth the feeling I got. I guess you have to understand that the only thing that feels worse than being hated is being disliked. In fact, I was so disliked by my ex-wife, she cheated on me more than a dozen times—even cheating on me with her best friend's boyfriend. So I needed that escape. Hell, I'm surprised I didn't resort to smoking rocks back then.
It was just that bad.
Instead, I drank wine. Physically, wine was easy to because it didn't burn the shit out of my throat. It also didn't make me feel like an alkie. I felt totally fine walking into the liquor store every week buying wine. It was more normal and less judgmental. It gave me just enough umph to stick out my wack-ass marriage for my kids. And that was important to me. The family unit, that is. And my alcohol was the glue that held that unit together. Until one day, I couldn't do it anymore—and gave up. I didn’t want to face the pain of giving up on my kids, so I drank until I felt good once again.
Fast forward to the present day and I've graduated to drinking heavy shit straight, like rum and whiskey—maybe even tequila. I also drink about five nights out of the week. Yet, I can do perfectly fine without it, I just don't seem to want to. And though I don't want to, I never went to work drunk. Never drove wasted. I have always kept it within the confines of my own home.
It is completely under my control.
I don't need it. I don't fiend for it. I am completely independent without it—except that 100% love the feeling of being buzzed. Alcohol makes me feel good.
For men, when times get bleak, we seek comfort in our fathers. Yet, I didn't know my bio dad until well into adulthood and the man I considered my dad didn't make it easy for me to want to approach him. When our relationship finally started to show promise, he died in 2013 and the times I've visited his grave...I've been drunk.
I can go on and on but I feel like I'm getting emotional here and emotions make me want to pour a glass of Jameson or Kraken, so I'll just stop.
I just think the point is that even though I feel like I don't show signs of having a problem, it is clear that I do. Alcohol has become the friend I can call when I can't talk to anyone. Not my siblings. Not my kids. Not my mother. Not anyone. Nobody understands me and my bizarre mood swings nor my awkward personality. I drink because the alcohol listens. It listens better than anyone else could ever do—or so I think. And THAT is why I drink so much and continue to drink. It makes me feel good and very little else can make me feel the way liquor does.
If that doesn’t sound like a problem...then what is?