Let me start by answering the questions… I have no fucking clue. That’s not really an answer, but that’s where I’m at with it.
365 days ago I woke up on what was my bedroom floor, still in my vomit stained Dress Blues. I picked myself up, pulled my clothes off, and got in the bed. A few hours later my daughter walked in and handed me a tire shaped key chain that she’d purchased for me at her school’s Penguin Patch. The sticker on it said World’s Greatest Dad. I felt like a piece of shit for the first time in years… like a true piece of shit. This innocent young child, whom is supposed to be guided through life by my example, has no idea what I’ve done.
This may sound like a normal morning-after the St. Barbara’s Day Ball story, but for me it was the straw breaking the camel’s back. I hadn’t just gone to the ball, had more than I should have, and woke up regretting it. I sherked every bit of responsibility I was supposed to have that day. I had promised my wife that I was just going to go, have a drink or two, do my lines (I had a part in the Grog Ceremony), and then come home after the formal portion was finished. At the last minute at work my neighbor offered to drive, and this is where it began.
What was I missing? I was missing everything else around me. I was missing the fact that my wife was going to be cooking desert for a work party the next day. I was missing that I would need to get the kids ready for school and drop them off. Instead, I got shit-faced, threw up in my friends car in front of his teenage daughter, and was left to sleep on the floor because I was too inebriated to get my ass undressed and in the bed. My wife would now be up late cooking and up early to get the kids ready before going to work.
My daughter walks in before they left and gave me the most thoughtful keychain. I wanted to die. What a piece of shit I was!
I don’t know if I’m an alcoholic, but it was clear that I had developed a problem. The beer in Bavaria is heavenly, and I was drinking it every night. The whiskey went from being a weekend enjoyment to a nightly enjoyment. Two shots of whiskey and one to two beers became a part of my diet. I had gone from being a social drinker to a nightly drinker at some point during the year, and moving from El Paso to Germany into a position where I had no Soldiers or responsibility allowed me to get worse.
I decided to quit in light of all this thought and after my daughter gave me that keychain. If I’m being honest, I don’t think I’m an alcoholic. It’s been too easy. I’ve only really missed drinking a few times, but never really craved it. I’d like a beer on Sundays during football. I’d like some gluhwein during this German winter now that there’s snow on the ground. There’s some personal situations that most would undoubtedly have taken to the bottle to escape. In spite of all of this, I’m okay without it, and because of that I’m going to keep away from it.
I don’t know if I’m an alcoholic, but right now all of the great things in front of me don’t involve alcohol, and that’s liberating. So here’s to 1 year without it, and on to the next one. 🙂