Dec 8th-9th, 2018 – The title of this post relates to a pair of things, two beginnings and two ends. First, the beginning of my decade or so “relationship” with alcohol, and the inevitable end of my drive to create a successful, meaningful, and fulfilling adult life. The lengthy body of this, in a nut shell, is the summarized story of how I got to be in this situation. Secondly, and today, it represents what is the hope of an end to a self-afflicted, stagnant, foggy, damaged (the list goes on) meaning of existence. It also embodies the outset to recover time lost, and the embarking of a new journey in which I have no idea in what the hell will happen. It’s pretty scary, actually. I read a “meme” today though, and it read “your comfort zone will kill you.” I couldn’t have related more, and not on a better day, because drinking along with the life I was living is my comfort zone, and it WILL eventually be the end of me. I will never get what I really want out of life if that path continues, and I will always wonder “what if?” I really am terrified, but to recount what got me here will help me remember why I don’t ever want to go back. Sorry if that sounds selfish, or it any part of this seems like I’m just talking to myself, but I kind of am.
At this point, I have been “dry” for about 36 hours. I am in no way sober and I am far from it. I am still detoxing and incredibly uncomfortable. I’d go through the details, but anybody can simply search them on their Google machine (what a time to be alive). Writing helps distract me from the grim reality of my current being, and the long road ahead. Before I go on, I’d like to make it clear that this isn’t a cry for help, motivation, and especially not for any sort of sympathy. I know that I alone have gotten myself here, and that how I’ve managed my life for the past several years is a direct correlation of the situation I am in today. No, it is not easy to think about, but there is no escaping it, which is something I have been finding a way to do for a long, long time.
In 2006, I returned from CNU because my grades, although not failing, weren’t up to my parents standards. I had smelled freedom, and basically thwarted any sort of opportunity to continue my education there. I then came home and decided that community college may be a better option…nope. I screwed around just as much as I did when I was living in a dormitory. Later that year I decided that working full-time was a better choice for me. At this point, I wasn’t too big of a drinker, but it was still present in my life.
After becoming too “confined” at my parents house, I and two friends decided to rent a home a few miles from where we all went to high school together. We were all incredibly excited to open a can of party whoop-ass. Most, if not all of our friends were under 21 and we resided at the haven for everyone to come do what they couldn’t at home. We had parties every single weekend…literally every one of them. I don’t kid when I say it was like a movie, every room packed shoulder to shoulder, music blasting, the works. There would be mornings we’d all wake up to people passed out everywhere, and measurable inches of beer on the tile flooring. We lived next to a correctional officer that had told us “as long as there aren’t beer cans in the yard, I sleep like a bear.” Our other adjacent neighbors, who under our suspicion were not legally living in the house, never said a word, never called the cops, nothing. We had the perfect situation, or so I thought. The stint at this home was my introduction to getting drunk fairly regularly, to be more specific, about 3-5 times a week. The hangovers still weren’t so bad, though, so there was no way I had any issue, right?
Eventually, I woke up way too late for work on a day I was running the location alone. Not 30 minutes, two or three hours. I showed up to my boss with her hand out, asking for my set of keys. I had lost my first job to partying, booze, and most of all, irresponsibility. I went home, smoked a bunch of weed, and reached out to a friend who I knew I could hitch a job with in the meantime. I didn’t see it then, but this was the birth of somewhat of a”downfall” that would last much longer that I’d have ever imagined.
Ultimately, we all ran out of money and moved out. I was working some crap remodeling job, and I simply couldn’t sustain my habits. I moved back home, but still managed to find ways out of the house to continue get high and have a few drinks every couple of days. I was 20 at the time and I figured that I had all the time in the world to figure it out, this is what I was supposed to be doing. Always broke, but continued to refuse focus on my future or for that matter, anything resembling responsibility. In order to save time and boring any reader, this went on for another couple of years until the opportunity for another house renting came about. It was with 3 friends of mine this time, all with similar intentions. Party, party, party.
Low and behold, that’s what we did. It was like a replay of my previous experience. Also, I was 21 now, and I could drink legally, becoming a “regular” at the local drinking establishments. I was working in the heating and air conditioning trade where, wow, they ALL liked to drink! Happy hour was so legit! You can get hammered before 9 for almost nothing! I was just doing what “everybody” my age did, the social norm. This time though, it was worse. I could drink at the bar AND home, and that’s what I did. Guess who began showing up to work late on a consistent basis. I was lucky enough to hold a job for most of my tenure at this home, but eventually I was fired again. Not just for being late, but for botching a HVAC class that I had been taking while working that job. Surprise, surprise, my delinquent decision-making had landed me in another terrible situation. This is where I first may have “recognized” a problem. I was ignoring the small, boring, hard-working steps to building myself. It wasn’t attractive to me at all.
My parents knew I had began to drink a superabundant amount, and finally had the marbles to simply tell me “no” when I asked to move home (for the like the fifth time or something). I hopped between a few friends houses, sneaking beer in, and dodging any contact with their parents mostly because I had become embarrassed. When I had the cash, I’d meet my boozing friends and stay out all night. The combination of my age and increased intake of alcohol had resulted in constant hangovers that began to trigger my anxiety, and to an extreme. I’d become a nervous wreck more days than not, and could hardly get through the day. Lack of a decent nights rest, and a body that couldn’t keep up with my habits was prevalent enough for me to concretely notice that it was abusive at this point. All I was thinking about was getting home, cracking a beer open, and slowing my heart rate down. Still, though, I knew a problem was there and decided to ignore it. Responsibility and a sucky road ahead was nothing I wanted a part of, and booze may it go away (for a few hours at least) anyway.
Then, the DUI. I honestly forget where I was living at this point. I was in a popular part of town on a “college night,” when the crowds were most entertaining. I had been driving around halfway in the bag for some time now, never expecting it would be me. I had taken a cash loan out on my car, and when it was towed to the holding lot, they found out. I got a DUI and lost my car in the same week, all because I was so insistent on drinking and partying. If you haven’t heard of FOMO (fear of missing out), well that was me. My mother answered the phone when I begged to come back home and seek treatment. Reluctantly, they took me back in under fairly rigid circumstances, which I was surprised and both glad to hear. I completed treatment, but still managed to hide the fact that I was drinking. It was just a production and yes, a big fat lie.
My leash grew longer as I conjured more and more ways to disguise that boozing was still very prevalent in my life. From what I’ve read, this is a colossal indicator that addiction and abuse were something I “suffered” from.
Fast forward through over a year or two of similar behavior and look at that, a house to move into! This time with my closest friend and would be business partner. Calling it an iffy decision is an understatement, for in the back of my head, I knew what was on the prowl. At the same time, I (or so I thought) wanted to “prove” to myself and others that I could do it on my own terms, that I could build a life and become successful, that I was a powerful individual with a tenacious thirst for prosperity. Things were up and down with my habits at first, between two or three weeks of moderation and instances of binging and feeling like absolute hell for days at a time, those becoming more and more frequent over time. I did have some accountability to uphold this go round though, as my coworker lived with me and would slam on my door multiple times. Sooner or later, I’d hazily stutter stepped to the bathroom to relieve myself of the drink I’d had late into the night. Getting into the truck with a cup of coffee that I swore up and down would relieve the symptoms.
Negative. Science says otherwise.
Hangovers were even worse now, I was as shaky as Shakira on stage, and I was told more times than I’d like to admit that I “smelled like a brewery.” My confidence levels started to plummet, and my desire to do anything productive pretty much evaporated. Was I actually depressed? No, I’ve been a happy-go-lucky guy that most people like being around my whole life! Business was slowing down, my paychecks sucked, the future was looking even bleaker than before…guess what “helped”, though. Anger and frustration began to fill my soul just as fast as the alcohol would. Jim, James, Mr. Light, all of those guys, along with my boozing partners were my best friends, because they didn’t give a shit whether I did anything productive or not.
Attempting to make a dynamic life decision that would “change everything,” I landed a good opportunity as a service manager for a local auto shop (for which I am still employed, but currently on leave). The pay was consistent, more than I was making by a long shot, and the hours were long and earned. Also, I came to find out that I was damn good at it when I wasn’t trudging around watching the clock, feeling like I’d been hit by a bus. From a situational perspective, it was a considerable and fortuitous moment in which all the circumstances were in my favor. Only if I executed on them, which I chose not to. I staved off from binging and heavy consumption for a couple of months but again, I became comfortable with the nightly routine of drinks and sitting around. Bank accounts were constantly low, medical bills from being uninsured were looming, and the past few months of separation from close friends and family had begun to take an extreme toll. The really bad nights happened recurrently a few more times, mostly after a tough day, or when depressive thoughts about my situation would take over. Having a decent job that paid me more really didn’t mean diddly, as it was still much bigger than that. Simply put, I felt bad for myself, and created a selfish world that was “unfair.” Life doesn’t stop or slow down for anybody really, and I was angry that it wasn’t. Why couldn’t I catch up, get back on my feet, and have everything get better all at once? Where was my big shot? I threw my hands up, and simply said “f*** this.”
The 3 day bender occurred. My job security didn’t mean a damn thing now, I didn’t care. The door to my bedroom stayed closed as the consumption of an objectionable supply of liquid intoxicant allowed me to slip in and out of a slumped actuality. Later that evening the feeling of floating and some sort of body high came over me. It was terrifying, gratifying, humorous, and perplexing all at the same time. The spins, I was all too familiar with, even though my tolerance had allowed me to avoid them most of the time. This was different, and I’m not a religious person, it felt like something from somewhere, or something bigger than here, was telling me something. Call me dramatic, but it’s something I’ve never felt before in my entire life, and I’ve tried MANY things.
“I need treatment” went to my mother. “I need help” went to my father, via text message. They both had been expecting it, I’m sure. Those poor souls. “Enough is enough, Brennan” I said to myself. The realization that if I didn’t seek assistance, my life would continue to spiral downwards and I’d lose everybody and everything.
Pops agreed to come pick me up but before he did, he said not seeking treatment is NOT an option. I’m currently writing this from the office of my parents house, where I’ve decided to stay during any treatment I’m going to receive. Not only is it safer but it’s smarter, it’s a simple and constructive decision that will lead to many other small, progressive steps over the foreseeable future. Call me a baby if you will, but you’d be an idiot not to utilize such a beautiful resource which is support of your family. I’m well aware of the chances I’ve neglected to take, whether it be through family, friends, or significant others. Surely it will continue to come down over the future days and months. It will hurt. It will be hard to swallow.
To note, my parents are saints, and I’m spoiled to have two of the greatest people on the planet to call Mom and Dad.
Over the course of all this time, I’ve left out several details for the sake of people’s privacy, but I admit fully to being an absolutely terrible person sometimes. There are countless occurrences that haven’t been mentioned in order to save what would sound like an endless ramble, for the sake of any reader if they’ve made it this far. Tantrums, and ugly things have spewed from my mouth, the typical things a drunk and unhappy individual would say or do to hide their self-doubt and sadness. There are many more things, but they will remain private for they are in the past, although they will have always happened, the key goal is to keep them past tense. Although deep down, my intentions have always been of good, caring, and genuine, my actions did not reflect what had been barricaded by a selfish combination of poor choices and an inability to “face the music.” Did I mean those things? Absolutely not, and I wish I could take every single one of them back. Did the actions and words still occur? Yes they did. It is, and will always be disheartening, especially always being at least somewhat cognizant of the fact that I meant every “I really do care,” “I love you” and most importantly, the apologies. This issues I was facing have consumed my entire being, and the stranglehold of a gigantic problem was too powerful for me to handle on my own. I was desperate for people to know, but my pride was greater than my yearning for serious change.
Disappointed and regretful do not even begin to explain how I feel about those events, and the full effects aren’t even close to have crashed down on me yet. Losing opportunity, countless memories, more money than I ever want to know, more time than I can ever recount, but most of all PEOPLE who loved me (whether it be friends or significant others) has to serve as a reminder to stay away, forever. These feelings are not just beginning to surface, they’ve been here for years but again, the grasp of a demon was stronger than my strength to release and pull away. Enough time from my deluded decade hasn’t nearly elapsed for me to fully comprehend the consequences I’ve afflicted on myself, but that’s something I will have to use to steamroll my problems head on. To begin re-contributing to a world I am grateful to be a part of. It will hurt a lot, and often. Although I am petrified, I am also confident and enthusiastic to rediscover the person I know I am, and that has been literally drowned out for so long.
To repeat, and this is extraordinarily important, this is not a call for sympathy. Support is great, and I’ll take it from whoever would give it. This is a job for professionals that are going to work with me, and a new outlook on the importance of a new life that I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to create. Whether some people choose to understand that, or at least try, is completely out of my hands. I am grateful, excited, scared, and about a million other things right now, but there is one concrete thought I have.
Do the small things. Take it day by day. String the rope together yourself instead of waiting for somebody to hold it out and say “grab on.” That starts with me getting better, rebuilding no matter how slow-going it may have to be. In fact, to take it slow, stop rushing, and most importantly, stop killing myself emotionally and physically with alcohol. I am not somebody who can drink, AT ALL, and I never will be. It’s actually part of my DNA.
It’s over, and has to be. People that know me will tell you, I’m terrible at letting go. Unfortunately for me, alcohol will never ever leave, and maybe that’s why I held on for so long. It was always there, and always will be, so I’m the one who has to move on, forever. This is the end, but also just the beginning. Here’s to a new life.
P.S – If there is anybody with constructive advice on ANYTHING pertaining to situations like this one, NONE will be ignored or overlooked. It, and professional help, will be a gigantic part of my new lifeblood.