My Medicine

[Editor’s Note: I’ve actually been contemplating writing a post about this for quite some time and when I saw today’s prompt, I figured now is as good a time as any.  What’s your signature beverage — and how did it achieve that status?]

My relationship with alcohol had always been a casual one…up until a couple of years ago. I drank socially. I’d gather with friends, whether it would be at a bar, a club, or at someone’s house. Drinks would be consumed. Shenanigans had. Memories created. Then it would be another few months before I consumed an alcoholic beverage again.

Two years ago my wife left me. My life spiraled out of control. I was, emotionally, at the lowest point of my life. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. If I tried to eat I became nauseous. I could only keep down liquids, so my diet consisted of coffee, chocolate milk, and alcohol. I turned to alcohol because it was the only way to purge my mind of the clusterfuck of thoughts constantly rampaging through my head.

Why did she leave me?

Who is she with?

Who is she fucking?

How can I get her back?

When I was drunk I didn’t care.

After a couple weeks of this I finally made an appointment with my doctor and he put me on prozac. It took a few days, but I was eventually able to cope without turning to alcohol. It also helped that I was little by little changing my wife’s mind. After a two month separation, we got back together.

In February of 2013 she decided again that she no longer wanted to be married to me. Even though I was on prozac, I still had a bit of trouble handling it. I handled it much better than I did 6 months prior, but I still turned to alcohol to quiet my mind. From then until now, the majority of the days I haven’t had my children I’ve been drunk. It became habitual. There was always some drama happening in my life I didn’t want to face. Whether is was my divorce, problems with women, depression’s demons, or simply missing my children when they weren’t there, I didn’t want to deal with it. I was all drama’d out. I wanted to be, as Pink Floyd would say, comfortably numb.

I was tired of the bullshit. I was tired of feeling like a failure. I was just tired of all the negativity that I somehow seem to gather without even trying.

My drink of choice has always been Southern Comfort. When I was 17 years old my stepfather’s friend came over one night with a super-sized cup of spiked Coke. We got to talking and he told me what he was drinking: SoCo and Coke. He let me try it and holy shit was it good.

Sure, I’ve cheated on SoCo occasionally and drank things like Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Kahlua, or red-headed sluts, but SoCo has been my go to self-medication for the past 20 years. In the last couple of years, actually, my childless nightly rituals involved either Mike’s Harder Lemonade or SoCo and Coke. Mike’s Hard Lemonade isn’t the greatest tasting beverage, but it’s cheap and let’s me get drunk for 5 bucks. You can’t beat that.

Luckily for me, the frequency with which I have my children probably saved me from becoming a full-blown alcoholic. They saved me, and not a one of them is aware of this. Hell, I wasn’t aware of this until recently. I knew I was probably drinking a little too often, but I figured once or twice a week wasn’t really a problem.

Last week, though, it finally hit me that it’s becoming a problem. I had 20 bucks to my name and my gas tank was on empty. I had a very shitty day and really wanted a drink to calm myself down. With 20 bucks, though, I couldn’t get gas AND get alcohol. I had resigned myself to just being stressed out all night when I remembered that my Midas credit card can be used at Mobile/Exxon gas stations to purchase gas.

So I searched the internet to find the closest Mobile station, used the card to get gas, and used 5 bucks of my remaining cash to get enough Mike’s Harder Lemonade to make me forget about the shitty day I’d just had. Well, enough to at least make me not care about the shitty day I’d just had.

It occurred to me even while I was doing this that my behavior was just a bit pathetic. And sad. But I didn’t care. I did it anyway. I needed the escape from the pain I was feeling. I had it. I got drunk and ended up playing with the new pop gun my dad had gotten Baby C the day before, which by itself is kinda funny, but extremely sad in the larger scheme of things.

I haven’t had a drink since.

A week and half isn’t a whole lot of time to say I haven’t had a drink, but considering the frequency with which I have been drinking the past couple of years it’s something to feel good about. I’m not going to quit drinking altogether, because I enjoy feeling drunk, but I am going to try to find different ways to cope with my pain. I want alcohol to be a compliment to my good times, not a crutch for my bad ones.

My late aunt used to refer to Southern Comfort as her medicine. I turned Southern Comfort into my own medicine. It’s time to come off the medication and face the demons from which I’ve been fleeing and I think I’m finally ready to do it.

91 thoughts on “My Medicine

  1. You’ve been through a lot and it is easy to become addicted to something that temporarily numbs the pain. At the risk of sounding cliche, every journey starts with a single step. A week and a half is more than a single step. Good for you, and keep going! Always here if you need a chat…


  2. Thank you so much for writing honestly about a topic like this. I know the feeling, and I’m wishing you the best of luck in the future. Congratulations on taking the steps you have so far.


    1. See, I disagree. Were I strong I don’t think I’d need to resort to these tactics. Thank you for your support, though. It means very much to me.


      1. Strength comes in so many different forms. It takes a certain level of strength to be able to see where you are clearly, to be trying for a change. Some people never get that far.


  3. Thanks for sharing, I certainly understand. I’m in a tough situation myself and I would love to turn to alcohol but I don’t have the cash. So I turn to tranquilizers to masque my problems. Their somewhat different that yours. I’ve followed that same path. Thanks again. It you’d like you can view how I cope on my blog. Good luck!


    1. What you say I know to be true. I’ve read a handful of blogs from recovering alcoholics and I hope to never face the rock bottom most of them have. The only thing I have left to lose is my children and if I ever lose them….I don’t know what I’d do.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t lose them. It’s in your hands, difficult though it may be from time to time. My brother lost his daughter. I had hell to pay with her grandmother (who was her guardian as mom was also a mess) getting my brother the chance to be with his little girl at all. Now, I don’t know if I would have done that as things turned out. Hang in there.


  4. Even if I wanted to, I can’t drink. A few drinks (depending on what it is) a few can be as little as two glasses, and I am hugging the toilet.

    I see this as a blessing in disguise because who knows what would have happened to me if this was different. Thank goodness I have up to now had the good sense not to resort to any other type of drugs, except for that period in my life when I was smoking.

    The thing is, I know myself. I get attached and addicted to stuff too soon. Anything just to feel disconnected from the pain.

    I have now started channeling all of this into writing,…. quite addictive as well.

    Just take it each day as it comes. Each day you are one day further in making good choices.

    If you need help facing those demons, you know that I am here. Lets face each others demons together.



    1. Thanks, dear. I think I just needed to reach the point where I had had enough and I feel like I have finally reached that point.


  5. This honesty and openness (and, let’s face it – accountability) is fabulous. And you’re being plenty analytical about it all, and it seems like you’ve got a handle on it. GOOD FOR YOU 🙂

    That said, this describes the path I’m scared of taking, because in my sadder moments, all I want is for it to not matter. And when I’m drinking socially, I’m a HILARIOUS drunk. I LOVE being tipsy 😀


    1. You ARE a hilarious drunk. Once I feel like I can drink for happy reasons (or at least not sad ones) you and I are going to drunk Skype because FUGGIN’ AWESOME!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. *grabs face in horror* OHMIGOSH I FORGOT YOU KNOW THAT! Wow! That’s because I was fuggin DRUNK! Ohhhhhboy! 🙂

        YES we’re gonna drunk Skype. It was on the tip of my tongue to suggest it 😀


  6. I know you don’t see yourself as strong, but I see it. In your ability to be honest, to reflect, and to make a decision that will get you on a better path. So kudos to you.

    And I’d love to drunk skype too…once you are up for it. Consider it a 2015 raincheck 🙂


  7. I definitely don’t have answers. If I did, I wouldn’t be seeing a therapist and going back on my medication after having been off it for 2 years. But I know where you’re at and what you’re going through. If you ever need to chat, you know how to get in touch. Also, I know that when I’m in those moments like you said you get into, I don’t want to talk to anybody, I just want to be left alone to wallow in my own misery, to suffer alone. So if you can force yourself to send a message or a text or a call my way, I’ll do what I can to help you get through whatever it is.

    I will say this about Prozac though. It might not be the medication for you. Have you considered other stuff? If it’s not working or you feel that it isn’t enough, definitely talk to your doctor.


    1. I’ll be making an appointment with my doc soon, since my prescription’s about up anyhow. I’ll talk about it with him then. I’ve been on it for two years now.


      1. I was on Citalopram for 8 years before I realized I needed just a little bit more, so I started Abilify. That helped greatly.

        Let me also say, about the drinking, had my liver not lost its temper with me, I would still be the professional drunk that I’ve been for over 15 years. There’s nothing wrong with having some drinks from time to time. Just don’t let it get the upper hand and control your life. I know what it’s like, when you realize you have a free night and a six pack in the fridge and you know you’re about to be happy for a few hours. That’s an amazing feeling, and it makes you happy just knowing you’re about to be drunk and happy. Nothing wrong there. But when you mentioned the no gas/no money thing, and how you dealt with that… don’t let it get worse than that, cause I’ve been at that stage and that’s a terrible stage. Again, if you need to talk, if it ever starts getting beyond that, you know where I am.


          1. I totally hear that. I’m looking, but it’s tough right now. I spent this week “on vacation” looking for another job, and hoping I could go back to my current job Monday and be all “PEACE BITCHES” but it looks like that moment of glory is going to have to wait a bit longer. Still though, I think about hanging with you all the time. Would be fun.


  8. Duuuuuuddddee…’d think I wouldn’t weigh in on this?? lol.

    first of all, good on ya for seeing the pattern. It was too late for me, and when I finally did see it, I didn’t give a flamin’ rat’s ass at that point. Shit, I was *proud* to be an alcoholic. At least I fit in somewhere, ya know? But we know that trail gets gnarly and ugly quickly.

    You still have your kids. You haven’t lost a job, or driver’s license, or things like that. You don’t want to end up where I did 🙂 You have taken action – seen the doctor, held up on the alcohol intake, seeing things for what they are. You are lucky. Some of us guys never get there and die angry and alone. You are seeing the light, and see that booze ain’t the answer. it sucks to take in those shitty days, but that’s what we do in recovery – we learn to deal with all that. Without the crutch. You have support and love and that inner voice that is telling you to do some self-examination.

    I understand that $20 situation. I would have taken the booze and some how figured out some insane way to get gas in my care. insane thinking…and that’s us sober! Then we get drunky wunky and come up with some real hairbrained schemes!

    Anyway, that’s enough from me. you’re in a good place, TD. Stay with it. I’m proud of you, brother.



    1. Yeah, I figured you’d have something to say, lol.

      See, I knew it was messed up while I was doing it, but I did it anyway. It was the next morning when the shame really hit me. Like, I really choose booze over gas.

      I don’t ever want to be in that position again. I should be able to head back to therapy soon, so I’m hoping to find different coping mechanisms for when I have those days so I don’t turn to alcohol. Alcohol is okay for those times when I’m happy and ready to have fun, but I don’t want to use it as a means to escape any more.


      1. I used to abandon my kid in the car or while he was napping to run off and get booze. One day I came back and he (who was 2) was at the back door wailing because he unexpectedly woke up and no one was there. I can still picture it now. Never mind the drinking and driving with him in the car with me. That’s the shit that still can eat me up at times. Shame and guilt and remorse are killers, as they can bring us back to the coping mechanism.

        Best thing we can do is break that cycle. And sounds like you’re looking at that.

        Love where you’re coming at with this.

        Cheers and best of luck with the therapy – love therapy!



        1. Thanks, man. So far I’ve kept drinking to a minimum with the kids around. The twins are 14 and self-sufficient. I don’t drink and drive. I’m always at home when I’m drinking.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Were you really me or was I really you?? Or, are we One? Hmmmm? You just told my story and billions of others as well. Now, all ya need to do is tap into that conscious of yours and figure out that you can actually travel without your luggage and come for a visit. ; ) Tis’ known as Metaphysics. That song went through my head yesterday, due to the fact that I have been crawling my way back from the lengthy Dark Night of the Soul for quite some time . . . . .


          1. Good for you. Your honesty rocks. If it was a week ago or tonight. What is today? Every bit of the illusion in between, is all that matters. Time, from this perspective. Make sure it’s not tap water. : )


  10. “I want alcohol to be a compliment to my good times, not a crutch for my bad ones.” Wow….I can’t even tell you how much that line struck me. I grew up with two alcoholic parents and am forever vigilant about not going down that same rabbit hole. Many hugs to you, my friend….and know you can always reach out if you need an ear. xx


  11. Such a brave and honest post. Congratulations on a significant step to the right direction. I wish you luck and success as it won’t be an easy task, but you have so much support from your bloggers and we all believe in you!


    1. Thanks, hon. I know you are. This isn’t something I deliberately thought about, really. I woke up after my last drunken night and decided that was it.


  12. I agree that that behaviour isn’t good – for you, too. Being drunk may be easy for a while, but in the end you get to deal with hangovers (uhhhg hangovers).
    Good to see you realize that. I hope you will find a way to enjoy alcohol instead of using it. If anything, you can always count on support here… So good luck, but you’ll do it, I believe you will 🙂


  13. “I want alcohol to be a compliment to my good times, not a crutch to my bad times.” This sums it up perfectly, TD. I applaud you for taking control over this and making a healthy change.


  14. I’m glad to hear you are recognizing that alcohol is not a good crutch. I’m sad to hear you say you enjoy getting drunk. If you want to continue to drink, it would be nice if it was just a “part” of your social life. I lived with an alcoholic, it’s not a good place to be.


    1. Getting drunk feels good. It’s fun. But if I do it I don’t want to do it as an escape any more. I need to find other ways to deal with life’s bullshit. I don’t want to become dependent on it as a coping mechanism.


  15. Do you know I just now stumbled on this site? I found it via a comment you made somewhere else. Previously, when I’d try and click over from my reader it would go to a dead link. I thought you’d hung up the phone.

    And I thought it was going to be just another dull Thursday.


  16. Well, my friend, this is a familiar story. The details are different but when you get to the heart of it, this is my story. Making the pain go away temporarily is easy. Sadly, it’s all still there in the morning and for me, most of the time, it was worse. I am proud of you for recognizing the need and making a positive change. Hang in there and you know where to find me if you need me.


    1. Honestly, Sandy, lately I’ve felt better than I have in a long, long time. I don’t know if I’m on an upswing on my depression or if cutting the alcohol out has made a difference (or perhaps it was because I stopped giving a fuck about things that don’t matter any more)…whatever it is, I’m loving it.


    1. Thanks, Faith. It was weird, really. I woke up the morning after my last drink and just felt that that was enough. I’m not sure what brought it on.


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