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Grapevine : January 2012
34 January 2012 didn’t care about the hard drugs anymore and they became just a memory, as I let the “super juice” take control. I drank every day, sometimes as much as a case of beer. I became the president of my fraternity, made the dean’s list, and by my senior year I was dating a beautiful girl from a great family who eventu- ally became my wife. Life was a party, and I wasn’t going to change a thing. I graduated in ’97 and found a job immediately. I got married, bought a house, had a baby and started working on baby number two all in the first year. I was getting promotions and pay increases while starting each day with a hangover and ending each in a fog. I drank everything. Spiced rum was a favorite. I took a flask everywhere and would just buy a soda at the ball game and make my own drink. Every social event, every wed- ding, every holiday and every ordinary day, I got bombed. The years peeled off without my noticing. BythetimeIwas30Iwas making six figures with a top company. I knew all along that I drank too much and too often. I knew it damaged my health, bothered my wife, annoyed my employer and affected my kids, but I was scoring touchdowns. Life was still a party, and I had no intention of stopping. My industry crashed in 2006, and I got laid off from easy street. That was OK though, as I have never been averse to hard work. I took a job with a former customer and actually started doing quite well in just a few months. But the business climate worsened and so did my consumption. Life wasn’t a party anymore, but the alcohol was still there— and there was even more of it. When I tried to stop, I couldn’t. I said to myself thousands of times at 2:00 in the afternoon that I wouldn’t drink that night, but at 6:00 I was well on my way. I became angrier. It was the only emotion I had. Then I hit bottom. It is said that alcohol is cunning and baffling and indeed it is. How did I get from the dean’s list and six figures to June 2, 2010? Here are five examples of how I am powerless over alcohol: Every day I had a priority to make sure I had alcohol, but not just one source—many sources. As I emptied my house and shop on June 3, I realized how many places I had stored it. I had alcohol in three refrigerators, two freezers, the cabinets, the pantry and the wine rack. Every trip to the grocery store involved getting more, even though several of these things usually already had something there. I was powerless to control my thought pro- cess. I couldn’t not think about it—ever. My second example: It wouldn’t have mattered what reason I had to not drink at 2:00 in the after- noon. It wouldn’t have mat- tered if the Pope himself was coming to pay me a personal visit. I was drink- ing and the Pope would just have to see me with My wife, looking good, would ask me to come to bed, and I would say I would be right there and two hours later I would still be pouring it in me. GRAPE_33-36.indd 34 11/28/11 11:45 AM