Alcohol Induced Realities

(Originally appeared in Mutant Renegade Zine #12, Fall 1999)

For several years of my life, I drank and went clubbing three to four times a week. I had tons and tons of friends who loved to get drunk with me, dance until dawn, and get up in just enough time to report to work. I attended concerts that I can’t remember like Bob Dylan, the Replacements, the Waterboys, and the list goes on. Sometimes, I dared to do the impossible at the concerts like when I tried to sing back up for Todd Snider at the Green Door in Chicago.

I often blacked out and I wouldn’t remember how I got home or where I was the night before and my friends would tell me these awful stories about what I did the night before. And legend has it; I tried to beat up Richard Butler of the Psychedelic Furs even though I can’t recall anything about the fight or why I would even want to beat Richard Butler up.

I missed several of my nieces and nephew’s birthday parties because I was nursing a hang over. I became a master of excuses when my family questioned my whereabouts, why I was pale and too skinny, and why I always seem to be on the brink of either crying or screaming.

Initially, I drank because it was fun and it was a good way for an introvert to meet new people. I started to abuse alcohol when I didn’t want to think about all the pain that I was in. I just wanted to turn the feelings off and to forget about everything for a while. I chose not to feel, so I let the pain consume me.

I look back upon that time period in my life and I regret not handling things differently. I can see so many lost opportunities that I walked away from because I was frozen with fear. My friends always told me how stable I was, but it was all an act. I knew how to walk the thin line between abusing alcohol and getting just enough done so no one questioned me drinking.

I could have achieved making the Dean’s list every quarter in college, instead I skipped classes in college to have a beer at the campus pub or just to sleep because of all my partying. I also could have worked at the college radio station, started my own magazine, or studied to become an archeologist.

I missed watching my nieces and nephews grow up. I missed watching the sunrise in the morning. I missed so many beautiful songs. Instead, I settled for the “norm” where I didn’t push myself and I didn’t grow. I never examined my feelings. I pushed them aside.

Currently, I drink about one or two beers once a week if I go watch a band play. Luckily, I never developed an addiction to alcohol. I challenge myself now and I’ve been doing things that I thought I would never do like writing for a magazine, climbing, playing tennis regularly, and owning my own house.

The most important step I took was to examine my feelings and how my fears where holding me down. Drinking only stopped me from achieving my dreams. It made me do dismal work. Plain and simply, it made me an underachiever.

For several years of my life, I drank and went clubbing three to four times a week. I had tons and tons of friends who loved to get drunk with me, dance until dawn, and get up in just enough time to report to work. I attended concerts that I can’t remember like Bob Dylan, the Replacements, the Waterboys, and the list goes on. Sometimes, I dared to do the impossible at the concerts like when I tried to sing back up for Todd Snider at the Green Door in Chicago.

I often blacked out and I wouldn’t remember how I got home or where I was the night before and my friends would tell me these awful stories about what I did the night before. And legend has it; I tried to beat up Richard Butler of the Psychedelic Furs even though I can’t recall anything about the fight or why I would even want to beat Richard Butler up.

I missed several of my nieces and nephew’s birthday parties because I was nursing a hang over. I became a master of excuses when my family questioned my whereabouts, why I was pale and too skinny, and why I always seem to be on the brink of either crying or screaming.

Initially, I drank because it was fun and it was a good way for an introvert to meet new people. I started to abuse alcohol when I didn’t want to think about all the pain that I was in. I just wanted to turn the feelings off and to forget about everything for a while. I chose not to feel, so I let the pain consume me.

I look back upon that time period in my life and I regret not handling things differently. I can see so many lost opportunities that I walked away from because I was frozen with fear. My friends always told me how stable I was, but it was all an act. I knew how to walk the thin line between abusing alcohol and getting just enough done so no one questioned me drinking.

I could have achieved making the Dean’s list every quarter in college, instead I skipped classes in college to have a beer at the campus pub or just to sleep because of all my partying. I also could have worked at the college radio station, started my own magazine, or studied to become an archeologist.

I missed watching my nieces and nephews grow up. I missed watching the sunrise in the morning. I missed so many beautiful songs. Instead, I settled for the “norm” where I didn’t push myself and I didn’t grow. I never examined my feelings. I pushed them aside.

Currently, I drink about one or two beers once a week if I go watch a band play. Luckily, I never developed an addiction to alcohol. I challenge myself now and I’ve been doing things that I thought I would never do like writing for a magazine, climbing, playing tennis regularly, and owning my own house.

The most important step I took was to examine my feelings and how my fears where holding me down. Drinking only stopped me from achieving my dreams. It made me do dismal work. Plain and simply, it made me an underachiever.

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