Philadelphia, PA – May 2018
(Warning: graphic content)
It was life as usual for me in 2018. things were good and not much had changed in the last year.
I didn’t get out as much and preferred a quiet life at home. Some of my friends and drinking buddies had moved on to other cities and careers. Bartenders moved on to different positions and the big drinking and social life was over.
I had cut loose most of the detritus in my life. All the crazy girls were gone and I rarely saw anybody from my old life in media.
I hadn’t been feeling well lately. I had some aches and pains that I was attributing to middle age and work.
I was trying to drink a lot of water. I would drink maybe 80 oz a day. I figured that was good.
But no matter how much water I drank I began to notice that my urine was more of an amber color than the usual healthy yellow.
I had also had diarrhea over the last day or so. Loose stool and yellow bile.
I called out sick from work because I just felt like garbage. I figured it was simply a stomach flu.
But in a day my mind brought me around to what was happening to me.
I pre-gamed with a cocktail or two before I would go out at night. While at the bar I pounded 5 to 6 glasses of wine. Then maybe stop somewhere else and have a nightcap. Usually a Manhattan. Then home. Grab a rock glass and pack it with ice. Crack open a can of seltzer and start pouring in the vodka.
By then I had no idea of the dosage of vodka I was imbibing. The only way to get an accurate measure would be to see how far down the vodka was in the bottle. If a lot of the vodka was gone out of the bottle, well then I drank a lot.
I went online and looked at the signs of alcohol damage to the body.
I stopped drinking that day.
I had an uncracked half-gallon of Nikolai vodka in my room. I gave it to my daughter Loralei and told her it was now the house vodka and she could have it and share it with her friends. I also gave her a 6 pack of spiked seltzers.
I still had all of the expensive bottles of booze in my room.
They always say throw away all of the booze in your house. But my life doesn’t work like that. I’m not going to drink that fine liquor. I have no triggers. I’m just going to stop buying gallons of vodka and pouring it into my body. I don’t know what demon I was trying to drown. It was like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.
From what I read and saw, my liver was struggling to break down the alcohol because it was overworked. Hence the yellow bile in my feces. My kidneys were also struggling. They couldn’t break down the blood properly to purify it.
I was toxic.
I also read all I could about alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal. I went to the grocery store and loaded up on fruits, vegetables, and vitamins. A multivitamin, Vitamin E, B12, Melatonin, and Milk Thistle.
Google all of that. Find foods that are antioxidants.
I did all that and braced myself for the worst.
I had some trouble sleeping but that was it.
Within two days I felt so much better. By being completely sober I gave my body a chance to heal after years of abuse.
In a couple of days, everything went back to normal. Regular and healthy urinary and bowel function.
I have a strong immune system. I’ve written about it before. I not only bounced back, I felt SO MUCH BETTER!
My appetite returned with a vengeance. I suppose it was resetting from getting over 1000 empty calories a day in pure booze. I was so ravenous for food about a week after I stopped drinking.
After a few days, I realized the reason I was drinking the way I was. It was because I was stuck in an old nightly ritual I used to NEED to turn off my mind. I had so many problems in my past life I had to have something to make them stop.
The quiet darkness. Like a silent shroud over your day. You huddle down in your bed and wait for them to come. The cycling thoughts and fear that you’ve allowed into your life. My anxiety and depression… like shadows, were my only company.
But all of those things have been banished from my life in the last few years.
It’s like cigarettes. I once did it for happiness and then to relieve pain, and then it was just something I was simply doing out of habit and no longer had a use for it.
So I dumped it.
Booze for me was the same thing. Once I could sleep unassisted, I was better. I felt clear. Happy. Sharp. Better physically.
It was like I was ingesting insecticide into my system every night and suddenly stopped. The body wants to be well. Once I stopped hurting myself, my body went right to work on repairing the vessel.
I even went to an AA meeting.
That was an eye-opener about a lot of things. The people that are in there are there for a reason. Alcohol is the one thing they should never do again.
Alcohol makes them crazy.
They drink and it changes them chemically. It destroys who they are and everything around them. They’re at a point in their lives where they can no longer even have a drink. But like I said… it’s a spectrum. It’s not black and white. Everybody’s physiology is different. Some people change when they drink. Others not so much. I just did it out of habit and to soften the world a bit at night.
I heard all of the horror and heartfelt stories in that AA meeting.
But when I left the meeting I knew I wasn’t like them. I’m not an alcoholic.
Abstinence isn’t the solution for everybody.
I enjoy the occasional drink now, but that’s it.
I’m so glad that dark chapter of my life is over.
Tune in next Tuesday for the 3rd and final chapter in this little series.
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