Three years ago I made a decision that has been, for the most part, a smart choice–I quit drinking.
I love drinking, and whiskey is my drink of choice (I prefer Jameson Irish Whiskey.) I stopped drinking for a significant reason. I was using drinking as a way to keep the demons at bay. What was worse is that I drank in secret. I always had at least one bottle on my writing desk.
I was never much of a social drinker unless I was on vacation. Some of the funniest “James’ drinking stories” always ended with me not remembering what I had done. I would get blackout drunk. I always said it was “because I was young.”
The truth is, I got so used to the numb feeling that blackout drunk got me. It meant that for a while I could forget about the million things that went through my mind. I loved the feel. I didn’t realize how addicting that feeling was and it became an obsession.
In a particularly bad depression cycle in late 2014 to 2015 alcohol became a way to cope, and not in a good way. I tried to justify it as, “hey I am a writer, and writers always drink at the end of a good writing day.” It quickly became a way that I could sleep, albeit blackout drunk.
It got terrible at one point. I woke up one morning and realized that it was not helping my depression at all. I would wake up worse than the night before. It became a haze of not living and finding myself at the bottom of a bottle.
I knew it was a problem. I am not great at the whole group sharing experience, so I did what I know, I quit on my own. It was not easy. There were days where I fell of the proverbial wagon. Eventually, it got easier. I started to write daily. I kept a journal of my thoughts and daily things. I found ways and reasons to stay sober.
It is no surprise that it helped to start therapy, and get serious about getting treatment, that I found the will to quit. Since that time I had one beer, at my graduation party back in October, but that was it. I decided to write this post because of my recent depression. I wanted so bad to slip and buy a bottle of whiskey. I talked myself out of it, and I am glad. With everything going on in my life, it would be all bad to go down that road.
Anyway I hope that my story is a cautionary tale. Alcohol and mental illness is not a good combination. Stay strong in the fight.
Always Keep Fighting