Confessions of an Alcoholic Part 7: Two Years

D. R.
7 min readAug 6


“Drink never made a man better, but it made many a man think he was better.” — Finley Peter Dunne

“Around the Drinking Table” — Edvard Munch

It has been two years since I’ve had a drink.

It has been two years since I let the blissful weight of fermented spirits press my head down against the cold wood of a bar.

It has been two years since I let my fears, worries, and anxieties run free in my head unimpeded.

It has been two years since I put down the bottle.

It has been two years of one singular thought occupying my mind — “God, I’d love a drink.”

I’m a rambler, I’m a gambler,
I’m a long way from home
And if you don’t like me
You can leave me alone
I’ll eat when I’m hungry
And I’ll drink when I’m dry
And if moonshine don’t kill me
I’ll live till I die
“The Moonshiner”, Irish Folk Song

I admit my sober status on most first dates, mainly because I usually recommend a bar. I frequent bars as often as I did sober. Most places offer some sort of non-alcoholic beer nowadays, though some holdouts remain.

There isn’t as much money in non-addictive substances, after all.

Part of me feared that my sobriety would be a turn off to potential partners but none have expressed any apprehension to my decision so far. I am always honest when asked why I am on the wagon. Usually, my date will say “Do you just not like to drink?”, to which I’ll respond, “Actually, I liked to drink too much.”

Moderation is key. Some people can moderate themselves without any assistance. Others need an authority figure to handle it for them. This is why so many turn to God when pursuing sobriety. Former addicts might one day become the most aggressive, bible-thumping zealots you will ever meet. They invest their entire soul and mind to the pursuit of holiness in order to avoid the demon drink.

To them, sobriety and God are irrevocably intertwined.

Being an atheist denies me this path. The only person holding me to account is me and me alone. Plus, if God was real, I would prefer they place their focus on a more deserving cause — such as inflation.

I have already talked in-depth about my sobriety. The previous years saw 6 entries in this series, all detailing my struggles with sobriety and my ill-concealed frustration with it.

Just the news alone this past year made me want to drown myself in an ocean of whiskey. Add my own issues into the mix? I’m surprised my BAC isn’t 1.00 at the time of writing this.

But, somehow, I managed to avoid even a solitary drop of booze.

One particularly rough night, though I can’t exactly remember why I felt so blue, I opened a bottle of rye that sat in my dining room and inhaled its sweet aroma 4 times. I took a few moments to let it stir in my head, providing just a tease to my alcohol-starved brain. Then, only slightly embarrassed, I sealed it shut and put it back on the shelf alongside the 20 or so other bottles of elixir that taunt me every morning at breakfast.

That’s the closest I’ve come to a relapse.

I have wanted to relapse for two years now.

I’ll go to some hollow in this country
Ten gallons of wash and I’ll go on a spree
No woman to follow and the world is all mine
I love none so well as I love the moonshine…

The absence of booze has allowed me to experiment more with that wonderful, recently decriminalized, herbal elixir —Marijuana. I smoked pot for the first time I believe my sophomore year of high school. As is tradition, my first time was either out of a soda can or a hollowed-out apple core.

My folks had found a bottle of maple syrup in my hamper once. They quickly realized the liquid contained within sloshed around much too fast to be syrup. I was admonished, yelled at, and punished. They quickly realized that leaving their liquor cabinet unlocked might not be wise.

When my mom discovered I had smoked pot, I immediately owned up to it. When they confronted me about the whiskey, I was not as honest. Part of the reason I felt that there was no reason to lie about the pot was because she entered my room while I was sprawled out on my bed, starring at the ceiling, and listening to The Beatles’ “Within You Without You”, an Indian-influenced psychedelic track off of their celebrated album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”.

To deny I had smoked pot in that moment would be the equivalent of a husband claiming fidelity with red lipstick smeared across his neck.

The other reason I felt no need to lie was because I knew that, compared to alcohol, marijuana was nothing to truly worry about. It is not a purely harmless drug, none are. And there are people who are very much addicted to it, I know many. But alcohol is directly responsible for 140,000 deaths in this country yearly — nought for pot.

Still, she was less than enthused, but was clearly tempered due to the fact that, possibly for the first time in my life, I didn’t lie right off the bat.

I continued to enjoy the occasional joint, passed around many a bowl. But booze was still my primary love, the person I came home to every night — even if pot had left lipstick smeared on my neck.

Even now, I find myself enjoying only the occasional high. My preferred high involves a couch and music, often Isaac Hayes. I’d say, on average, I might get high 3 times a month.

Pot has never gripped me in the way booze did. When I get high, I want to see and feel the world in a different way. When I drank, I wanted to ignore it.

Moonshine dear moonshine oh how I love thee
You killed my poor father but dare you kill me
Bless all moonshiners and bless all moonshine
For their breath smells as sweet as the dew on the vine

As I’ve discussed in my past entries, boozing was a way for me to pursue self-destruction in a slower, more manageable nature, than plain old suicide.

I realized recently, as also stated in a previous writing, that I am not and don’t believe I’ve ever been truly suicidal. I am much too angry of a person to end it all until I am at least somewhat satisfied that all of my efforts have not been in vain.

For instance, I firmly believe that double-breasted suits will (and should) make a comeback.

When I drank, it was mainly in an effort to get my ever-introspective head to shut up for a bit. To provide a moment of peace and blissful ignorance. To make it easier to be happy. To make conversations with similarly intoxicated people tolerable.

Now that I’m sober, I realize how awful it must’ve been to talk to me at the height of my drinking.

I don’t miss that aspect of boozing at all. I am admittedly a very vain person and I care a lot about what people perceive and feel about me. Riding the line of the charming drunk and cumbersome drunk was always risky, and, as time went on, I tended to lean more towards the latter.

People have asked me what made me want to stop. Was it my rock bottom? Did something happen?

The relatively boring answer is no, I just realized I needed to stop one day.

I’ve claimed August 6th as my date of sobriety because I admittedly can’t remember the actual date of my last drink. August 6th is the date the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima — hard to forget.

Poor memory is undeniably a result of my habit, on top of years of football.

When I’m with old friends, I often find myself as a spectator of memories that I was directly involved in. I nod and smile, acting as if I recall perfectly while struggling to even remember.

What made me stop drinking was the realization that doing so would be necessary to salvage whatever memories remain. There are very few, they rattle around up there together.

Many of the ones that remain involve the lifting of my arm up and down, with a glass gripped carelessly around my fingers.

I’ve been a moonshiner for many a year
And I’ve spent all me money on whiskey and beer
I’ll go to some hollow and I’ll set up my still
And I’ll make you a gallon for a ten shilling bill

I don’t have too much more to say that I haven’t said already. There are plenty of other stories that showcase how pathetic of a drunk I was, how one embarrasses themselves when dependent on the poison. Many false starts, many mistakes, many drinks.

I will admit something here, in pursuit of transparency — I have considered drinking again.

I know that anyone reading this who may also sober will find this to be tantamount to betrayal, an act of cowardice. I ask for some grace and just a little bit of patience. I am not set on this path, nor do I have a self-imposed deadline or anything similar in place. I am simply evaluating my relationship with booze, taking stock of the fact that I have managed to maintain my sobriety for 2 years even in the face of so much temptation.

Whatever I do decide, I now feel much more confident in myself in regard to self-control. I have started seeing a therapist and have begun the hard work of trying to repair the damage I’ve already done and the damage I can no longer ignore.

Whiskey used to be used as medicine. It still is.

I am healing, slowly but surely. I hope you are too.

I’m a rambler, I’m a gambler,
I’m a long way from home
And if you don’t like me
You can leave me alone
I’ll eat when I’m hungry
And I’ll drink when I’m dry
And if moonshine don’t kill me
I’ll live till I die



D. R.

Agitator, banned-book list hopeful, failed-politician, suit-wearer, soul music-fanatic.