Alcohol worked for me…..Until It Didn’t

Alcohol Worked For Me… Until It Didn’t

6/3/2020 by Chris Cobb

 

“If I knew then what I know now” is an understatement. If I had known the consequences of my unfortunate actions over the years before I took that first drink, my life would be completely different. I was 13 years old the first time I became drunk. And somehow, I was able to down a 12 pack of beer. I was blackout drunk. It was an acquired taste, but it didn’t take long before I started sneaking alcohol more often than not. I started to notice something. The anxiety I felt around other people, the fear of judgement, self consciousness, all went away when I was drinking. I was able to hang with the big dogs, the ‘cool kids’. I was eventually one of the high school kids going to frat parties. Whoever got the most hammered was the topic of the week, and I was in the spotlight more than a couple times. I was cool.

Alcohol worked for me….until it didn’t….

Fast forward, I’m 20 years old, my first arrest. I was driving 90 in a 30mph zone, residential area. I somehow wind up in the middle of the street, handcuffed, surrounded by 5 police vehicles, my car half-way on the street, the front half on the sidewalk. Operating While Intoxicated, endangering a person (I had tried to run over a pedestrian for shouting at me). I got a slap on the wrist, community service and 90 days suspension on my license. 6 months later, I’m arrested again, this time charged with minor consumption, public intoxication, and resisting law enforcement. See, when I was sober, I was timid, quiet. When I was drunk, I was “confident”, I thought I was invincible, that I could fight. More community service, drug and alcohol classes. I had no desire to quit drinking. 

Alcohol worked for me….until it didn’t….

So I’m 20, it’s 2006, and my girlfriend at this time leaves for a rehab in Florida. Me being the superhero I think I am, fly to Florida shortly after. My suspicions quickly turned to reality. She did not really have a friend who would let me crash at their place. In fact, she had run from rehab, been to jail, and now in a women’s halfway house in Tampa. I’m homeless. So the first thing to do, get a job. Two days later I’m at the top of my game with an $8 an hour job in Tampa where an efficiency apartment would have cost me a $2400 deposit. So I play it smart. I get food stamps. Here I am. Homeless, $8 an hour, and food stamps. I sleep under highways, on bus stop benches, sometimes pass out drunk on the bus, other times in an abandoned building or alleyway. Either way, I’ve “got this”. 3 months later I go to work, drunk off my ass, just to get my $240 paycheck and buy a greyhound bus ticket to what better place to be an actor than Hollywood, California. 

Alcohol worked for me….until it didn’t….

Needless to say: I did not get an actor role of any kind. I didn’t even get an audition. They don’t feed me in California like they did in Florida. But I had a whopping $120 for food (I mean alcohol). Friendly people in California, they bought me quite a few drinks. Fast forward. After about 9 months of homelessness, I decide I need to go back to Indiana to drink, L.A. is too dangerous. 

Alcohol worked for me….until it didn’t….

Now we’re in 2009, back in Indiana. The reasons for drinking have moved from feeling cool and getting along with groups of people, to feeling better than sober reality seemed to allow.  I’m drinking alone most of the time, mad at the world for all my problems. Staying with my step dad, drinking with him, fighting with him when doing so. My pregnant girlfriend leaves me, so I get another one, one who likes to drink. This was one who also had nearly the same anger issues as me. 2009 became my first arrest for domestic battery. I found no blame in myself, it was her, and it was the alcohol. So this time around, I take anger management classes, more community service, more drug and alcohol classes. This time, the only desire I finally had to quit, was the fear of going back to jail. It wasn’t enough. I hadn’t lost enough yet. 

Alcohol worked for me….until it didn’t….

I have broken up with the girlfriend, and decided to work things out with the mother of my unborn child. February 11th, 2010. My son is born, shortly after, lifelined to a children’s hospital almost 2 hours away. Soon to find out, he has a life threatening heart disease where only one side of his heart has developed. He has his first open heart surgery at one week old. We live in the hospital for a good 2 months, no drinking of course. We finally were able to take him home in April. I didn’t drink for another whopping 30 days. Next thing I know, I’m back to a 30-pack of cheap beer every night, plus whatever bottle of whiskey or vodka is handy. By January of 2011, I’m back in jail for another domestic battery, against the mother of my child. I was completely unaware what had happened, I didn’t even know I was in the drunk tank until I opened my eyes. When I asked what I did, all I could make is foxhole prayers that I get out of this mess yet again. I only spent about 30 days behind bars before I could bond out for $2500. My conditions were of course, community service, and this time, Batterer’s Intervention classes. My son had undergone his third, and hopefully final open heart surgery at this point. Still, no desire to drink for the right reasons.

Alcohol worked for me….until it didn’t….

My son’s mother gets back with me, she was quite naive, so was I. Besides, I had take classes, I told her I would quit drinking so that it doesn’t happen again. I go another 30 days or so before I present the idea of each of us having a glass of wine with our nice dinner date. So we do so. Everything goes great, so 2 days later, I bring home a box of cheap wine, it’s not booze, ye know, it’s wine. Half my share of the box later, I decide I am doing fine, that I can drink without getting violent. I do actually. I have my own “business” running. I’m building and repairing computers, and working from home programming and designing mobile games and apps, because I’m so smart and all. Well, I’m not violent anymore, but also not too friendly with employers when I’m drinking. Which at this point, I was able to drink at work, since work was home. 

Alcohol worked for me….until it didn’t….

Fast forward to August of 2015. My step-uncle dies of a heart attack, I start getting angry at the world again. Here I am in jail again, for battery. This time, she doesn’t get back with me. I am court ordered to 90 days in a sober living environment. I end up staying for 2 years, because they had given me a job and this time, I wanted to quit drinking. I had given everything that I cared about away. My house, car, son’s mother, time with my son, respect from my family, friends, I had nothing but a laptop and a bag of clothes. But this time, I COULD do it for myself right? 

Alcohol worked for me….until it didn’t….

2 years later, I am running this sober living facility. The director had left, the board decided to appoint me, the director’s executive assistant, as new director. This lasted a good 6 months before I left for a higher paying job as I.T. administrator at a medical products store. I didn’t know much about the 12 steps or sponsorship, I didn’t need them. 2 weeks into the new job, I feel like with 2 years of sobriety and over a decade of lessons learned, I can be a normal drinker, just like my co-workers sitting around the same table as me at a local pub and grill. 

Alcohol worked for me….until it didn’t….

2 weeks into the new job, I’m sicker than ever. I had no idea this was a progressive illness, mental or physical; Whatever it may be. Finally, after about a year, I get arrested for public intox, disorderly conduct, and lose my I.T. job. So into another sober living facility I go, this time without court order, on my own. I am finally sick and tired of losing, and of having to start from scratch. Again, with a bag of clothes and a laptop, I begin to rebuild my life. This time with a program, and with good reason. My sobriety date is May 20th, 2018, and 2 years later, I no longer have the desire to destroy my life with that first drink, with the notion that I can ever control my drinking. 

Alcohol never worked for me…..

What will you do for your sobriety? Will you get help?

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