Throughout all of my years of drinking, I can only remember one person even mentioning the fact that perhaps I drank a little too much. Kevin was a man I dated for several years in my mid-twenties. He was married, but promised to leave his wife (yeah, right). I was able to spend time with him by getting him as drunk as possible so that he would miss his last train home. My goal was to get me drunk, get him drunk, and enjoy the time we had together, hoping to persuade him to get divorced.
After one particularly drunken evening, after which he had to take a 100-mile taxi drive home in the middle of the night at great expense, he thought it might be a good idea for us to take a break from drinking. He even bribed me. If I could stop drinking for a week, he would take me on vacation. Even the potential of that extraordinary pay-off only got me through three days of sobriety.
Looking back on my level of alcohol dependence during those days, I would have to say that it was pretty high. Every time I drank, I drank until I was drunk. I needed to drink more and more to get drunk – which was getting to be pretty expensive. I spent an inordinate amount of time drinking, and an equal amount of time recovering from the binges. Attempts at limiting my intake or quitting entirely were futile. All of these are surefire signs of a purebred alcoholic.
Kevin and I eventually broke up, in a drunken fight. During one last night of excessive drinking, I was convinced that I he was about to tell me he would leave his wife. He told me the opposite – that it was time for us to part ways. We were drunk, we were standing on a train station platform, and with one punch, I leveled him. My last vision of him is bleeding, flat out on the ground. I never saw him again.
Alcohol abuse or addiction or alcoholism – whatever you call it, led me to that point. I know Kevin moved on with his life, but I had done irreparable damage to his marriage and his family, I had wasted several years of my life in futile pursuit of something that wasn’t really that valuable (a cheating man), and I had spent a small fortune on getting the two of us drunk. I wish I had seen the signs of alcoholism then, heard the plea of Kevin for me to stop drinking, and seen what drinking had brought me to – for it would have saved me a lot of pain later on.