I am a [Potential] Alcoholic

I am a [potential] alcoholic.

I’ve never drunk consistently enough to where it actually caused serious problems, but the urge in me to do so is definitely there.

In this piece, I will try to explore why I am this way.

There are plenty of alcoholics in my family tree and definitely into my extended family, on both sides.

The first time I remember consuming alcohol was in 1989. I was around the age of two. An uncle by marriage was sitting at my paternal grandparents’ kitchen table and sipping on a can of Miller Lite. For whatever reason, he gave me a sip and a few minutes later I passed out. Later that day I woke up on the floor of my grandparents’ den and Richard Simmonds was on the television.

Another time in the Summer of 1990, my parents had a few cans of Budweiser in their refrigerator. I was three and a half and opened one of those cans then took a sip, but was absolutely disgusted by the taste. The ironic part is now, in my early thirties, Budweiser is my absolute favorite beer and I thoroughly enjoy the taste of it. I remember going up to my dad and saying how the “Coke”, or what I assumed to be Coke, in the refrigerator was “sour”, then pointing to the can. My dad starting freaking out with great concern and asked, “Eric did you take a big sip?” I told him that I didn’t. Had I actually taken a big sip, he would have probably called 911 out of concern for my well being.

I can remember in the Summer of 1995, at the age of eight, I had just fully learned how to read and would read everything I could. Almost every day, I was in Conoco station where my dad would purchase Gasoline and a can of Sprite for me. I saw a sign in there that read “Ice Cold Beer.” Though I hadn’t really been exposed too much to alcohol at that point, I can remember having a strong craving for that beer. I also used to love to go to gas stations because of the smell of beer.

From 1991 to 2001, I had attended an extremely strict catholic elementary school with an extremely rigorous curriculum. It got tougher as I advanced to each grade. By Seventh Grade, (2000-2001) during the little free time I had in school, I would frequently read from the catholic Bible. The book I was particularly interested in was Sirach, which isn’t in the Protestant Bible. From reading Sirach, I had learned that alcoholic beverages were intended by God to be a way of temporarily forgetting one’s trouble and having a good time at social gatherings. It made clear sense to me. That coupled with the fact that we were constantly working on school projects which added an unnecessary amount of stress to what should have been a carefree childhood. Supposedly, this was to prepare us for a four-year college. But notice something: A lot of students attending four-year colleges frequently binge drink because of the stress brought on from the God awful load of school work they are required to do. This, back in 2001, was the catalyst, in me becoming aware that I am a [potential] alcoholic. The only reason why I didn’t become a drinker at that point is that I had no access to alcoholic beverages. The reason why catholics have no issue with drinking and even drink heavily on religious holidays could possibly be from the book of Sirach. Since Sirach isn’t in the Protestant Bible, most Protestants detest drinking altogether, though some Protestants still drink behind closed doors, but feel convicted and ashamed when doing so. Well, I myself am Protestant and have been from 2004 to 2005 and since about 2008. Case in point, I do drink behind closed doors but definitely, feel convicted and ashamed when drinking. In fact, earlier tonight, I went out on a drive and stopped at a store on my way home to make a few groceries. I almost purchased a can of cold beer, but thought better of it.

On March 15, 2003, I was sixteen and had met a pretty (and plus sized) girl while doing volunteer work. We seemed to hit it off quite well but then she dumped me a day later. I remembered what I had read in Sirach, plus many of my high school friends consumed alcohol on a regular basis. I decided to drink this pain away. So, I had invaded my parents liquor cabinet and drank as much Jack Daniels as possible. This was my first time drunk, but I must say my spirits were lifted and I was in a much better mood for the rest of the day. Whiskey causes most men to become extremely belligerent, but it makes me quite jolly and much friendlier than when I am sober.

In October of 2003, I was sixteen going on seventeen, it was Friday night and I was at a party where I had consumed five beers then half a fifth of cheap Vodka. I was very loud and very jolly but couldn’t even walk straight. I was the life of the party. It is truly by the Grace of God that I didn’t get alcohol poisoning that evening and that I eventually vomited it back up. However, this experience had cemented my love for alcohol. I eschewed the laws on the books about alcohol and had already eschewed the laws on the books about guns. This made me decide to commit to the Libertarian Party, after hearing a radio broadcast about a week later. I was a registered Libertarian from ages 18 to 19, when I became what I am today-Independent. I still have quite a few Libertarian tendencies though, but I recognize the need for some government and the Libertarians no longer appeal to me completely.

In June of 2004, at the age of seventeen, I broke down mentally and was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. I had plenty of misdiagnoses and improper treatments prior to this, but in retrospect, I showed the symptoms of Schizophrenia ever since the age of six This meant taking medication for the rest of my life, which was not to be mixed with any alcohol. For the next four years, I pretty much became a teetotaler. I took Risperdal from ages fifteen to sixteen (because of a partial misdiagnosis), then seventeen to nineteen for Schizophrenia. From ages nineteen to twenty, then twenty-three to pretty much the present day, I took and still take Geodon. From age twenty to twenty-three I took Abilify.

In 2008 I became twenty-one, the drinking age. Alcohol was tolerated with this drug, so I began to drink beer every now and then. I had income with little bills and I was of age to buy my own alcohol. Also for most of the age twenty-two, I was working and would frequently have a beer after work. My then girlfriend didn’t like it, later wife, soon to be ex-wife, because of alcohol’s effects on her family members. She assumed I’d be the same way, but she was and still is dead wrong. I’ve never done anything irresponsible or violent even at my very drunkest.

In late 2011, at the age of twenty-four going on twenty-five, I would go out drinking in a bar room with a former coworker. This was my reward for me helping him with his computer. Also, around this time, I was told by a very competent physician that one beer per day wouldn’t hurt me and would actually be quite beneficial.

Towards my late twenties, I was in an unhappy marriage. I have my own faults don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t deserve to be emotionally neglected or even put on the proverbial back burner like my wife constantly did to me. I also didn’t deserve to be constantly put down, especially where my writing was concerned. I just stuck with it though, because I had felt that doing so would honor God. A family friend would frequently drink with me and supply me with beer and whiskey. My wife hated this with a hot passion, yet she was the cause of my desire to drink.

In the Summer of 2017, this family friend took his two sons, plus my wife and I on a trip to Tennesee. One night during this trip, my wife was harping on me about everything under the sun (or moon-it was nighttime.) The family friend got aggravated with her and brought me out drinking. We came back plastered. When we got back to the cabin, I was jolly as could be and the two boys were enjoying my drunk company but my wife was cursing me out. She probably would have hit me, had no one else been there as she had done several times behind closed doors over the course of our marriage.

Later that summer due to a temptation which I eventually never actually gave in to, plus years of emotional infidelity, frequent neglect and total mistreatment, from my wife, I was desiring a divorce. The temptation, though I remained faithful to my wife, taught me that there are nicer women out there. Because of this, my wife began doing things behind my back. I had drunk so much during the period of time, that my hair began to fall out. But by the Grace of God, my hair has all grown back and is thick as ever. Despite all the drinking, I never caused any injury, no not even insult. I know durn good and well not to drive or operate machinery when under the influence. I flat out refuse to, even if I had just one little beer. It’s not worth the legal implications of a drunk driving charge.

On January 17, 2018, I had just made thirty-one and was told by a secret informant what exactly my wife was doing behind my back. I bit the bullet and decided I would leave her. In preparation for this, the same family friend took me out drinking after I admitted to him what I found out. We had gotten totally plastered that night. I was in very good spirits, frequently giggling, despite knowing what lied ahead of me, though I couldn’t stand for very long without falling. We sobered up in my car, then when the alcohol was out of my system, I drove to his house and I slept for that day.

I moved in with another friend a day later, then in May of 2018, got an apartment where I am currently staying.

Since that night in January 2018, I have casually drunk a few times, but never enough to alter my judgment or consciousness.

The reason why I am not a full-blown alcoholic is that I cannot afford enough alcohol being on the fixed income I get for being schizophrenic. I do have an addiction to flashlights, but that is a totally harmless and actually beneficial addiction that only consumes what little extra spending money I have. I look at this too as the Grace of God in just a different manifestation. I pay for my rent, necessary expenses, and utilities responsibly, so if I want a flashlight here or there, to whom does it harm? No one!

To those who criticize me for liking flashlights:

Would you rather me be a full-blown alcoholic and use my spending money on alcohol?

Flashlights are not going to cause cancer or other health problems of any kind.
Flashlights are not going to impair my judgment or coordination.
Flashlights can be used as an instrument of self-defense, whereas alcohol totally hinders self-defense.
The worst thing flashlights do is sometimes freak out neighbors or people on the street.

I’m not trying to be self-righteous and I realize some may think I am.

On the contrary, I can totally relate to and very much sympathize with people who have more dangerous addictions to whatever they may be.

It is but only by the Grace of God that I am not a full blown alcoholic, just a potential alcoholic…

Back to “Personal Reflections”

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