Hey guys, so I want to talk about my story about drinking, what it did to me over 19 years. I want to start with day one, and then I’m going to fast forward to the very last day that I drank. Here’s What Happens After 19 Years of Drinking.
What Happens After 19 Years of Drinking
So the very first day I drank, it was very innocent. I was 17 years old, and I had I think two or three wine coolers outside of a junior High dance, and we drank them in the field. Then I went in and danced with a girl who I didn’t have courage to dance with previously. She wasn’t even that cute or anything, you know, it was just me being more confident. So I noticed that right away.
My friends were teasing me while I danced with her, it was pretty ridiculous. I’d always been bullied throughout my whole life, my dad to teachers to my friends even, and I grew up in a small town.
I didn’t even really understand drinking, my parents sheltered me. They didn’t want me to be like their parents and my parents didn’t drink, but I have a lot of alcoholics in my family.
So when I first took that drink, it hit me like a magical spell, I mean I just felt completely electrified, and so that was basically the first time I drank was a couple of wine coolers.
The very first time I drank, I had half a beer, so I’m not really counting that. That’s how timid I was to alcohol. I didn’t understand it. I didn’t know the power of it. I didn’t know if one beer would get me drunk or not.
But, the second time I drank I had two or three wine coolers and the buzz was amazing. It was kind of like a lifetime of suppression had lifted off my shoulders. I felt free. I felt alive. I mean, I even heightened my senses. I could smell the air better. I could hear better. It was almost like it just made everything better. It’s probably the dopamine rush that flooded through my brain, but I just felt tremendously alive, and I wanted to feel that way constantly.
So that basically led me down a road of tremendous alcoholism and that was the first time I drank, and then I played around with it a little but I hated the hangover and I would get drunk and pass out and it just wasn’t fun, it wasn’t anything I really wanted to pursue.
But by the time I was 20, I was drinking three times a week getting drunk every time. And it was really getting into my blood, like the disease itself. So I was starting to look forward to getting drunk.
But I want to fast forward to really get that black and white scenario going, you know, from age 17 to 36 – my last day I drink.
So fast forward to 36, I’m laying in bed, I’m naked, and I’m trembling. I hadn’t slept the night before. If I did get any sleep it was very restless. I was trembling, it was kind of like this vibration, like my body was a wound up rubber band. I just could not relax, and I had a tall beer of malt liquor next to me on my bedside, and whenever I couldn’t sleep I would go over and take a big gulp of it.
At this point I was only working two days a week as a caregiver, and I could drink at work, I could drink anytime. There were tons of empty beer cans in my car. It smelled horrible. There were tons of beer cans all over my floor in my place. I lived in a school bus. My best friend was basically a homeless man who had a camp next door, and I used to get drunk with him.
And so I was trembling in bed, and had a beer by my side and I had two malt liquor Tallboys in the fridge and I was depending on those, like my life depended on it. I was only showering once a week, and I decided years earlier that I wasn’t gonna eat, because that would ruin my buzz.
So I’m literally starving to death. My brain has no nutrients. I can barely see, everything’s fuzzy and I can’t focus. I can’t even clip my nails and taking a shower is a huge chore – and I wasn’t even listening to music anymore. I was just in a dark room, rocking back and forth on the bed.
The first beer every morning I would vomit up because I couldn’t stomach the foam of the malt liquor. The girlfriend I was with, she didn’t know what to do with me. She basically bought me beer, and you know I’m making only $200 a week, if that, and living with her, and didn’t want anything to do with her.
I just wanted to be in a dark room. At this point, I created an imaginary friend. It was a bumblebee. She had big eyes and she was innocent, unlike me, and she made me cry. She used to peek her face out from the closet and look at me and just that imagination, made me cry because she was innocent, and I was destroying my life.
I was crying every other day, just randomly, and getting drunk in the morning when my girlfriend left and then passing out, and then getting drunk all over again after you know if I could eat any dinner.
I was constantly taking naps and passing out and just wanted to be left alone. So it’s basically me and alcohol left after 19 years of drinking, destroying lots of friendships, breaking ties, getting fired from dozens of jobs, going to jail at least four times, getting a DUI and to having a heart attack when I was 32, and having really dark thoughts, almost suicidal, not close, I mean kind of close for someone who’s always optimistic.
I was very down and out. I was 215 pounds. A lot of it was just empty beer calories. I had a big belly. I would have cold sweats, and then I would get really hot, and every morning I was terrified of the day to start. I wanted it to just stay dark forever.
So that was 19 years of drinking. It started as an innocent fun thing that made me feel immortal, gave me tingles, made me feel alive, And it turned into that mess that I just described only 19 years later.
So if you guys think that alcohol gets better with age, it doesn’t. If you’re an alcoholic like me, it just gets worse and worse, even if you have moments of sobriety. I played with sobriety many times during that time, I had nine months sober, I had six months sober, I had 18 months sober, I had 20 months sober. I had the one year coin from AA. I tried everything.
But the last day I drank, what made me stop was a guy came over to my house, and he shamed me, he started making songs about me, making fun of me, and I was defenseless. I couldn’t get up and kick him out of the house. It was my girlfriend’s friend and he was a skateboarder, about 10 years younger than me.
He must have been up all night on meth and he was just playing around on my girlfriend’s guitar making songs about me, and wouldn’t leave. And at that point, it didn’t matter if I almost died from a heart attack. What mattered was, I felt defenseless, and it created a lot of shame. I was like, this is it, I’m done. This is pathetic.
So I took the last few beers from the fridge home to my school bus. And I drank them slowly, and I knew that that was the last day, those two beers probably saved me from dying from withdrawals. I don’t know for sure. I was drinking a lot.
After that, I slept for a couple days, tried to eat a little bit, got my strength back and got two jobs, stayed busy, stayed away from all the old friends and all the old drinking places, and moved away from that place eventually two years later, and that’s my story.
Guys, it doesn’t get better. It just wrecks your life. I romanticized alcohol when I was young, I looked up to people who drank. I looked up to the alcoholic writers and artists, and then I became a drunk, and it wasn’t romantic at all. I hurt a lot of people. I hurt myself. I had a lot of guilt and shame, I couldn’t look people in the eye.
I had social anxiety then when I got sober, because I had a lot of skeletons in the closet, still dealing with those things today but that’s my story, and thanks for watching/reading, hit that subscribe button. Tell me what’s going on in your life in the comments below and we’ll talk to you soon.
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Erik C Johnson