Beginning the climb towards sobriety: a confession

I’ve decided on many occasions to join Alcoholics Anonymous but I never did. I have never written about my difficulties. Today I’m trying. I’m fearful this attempt will go in vain, but I want to give myself one chance.

I used to write when I was younger. I also used to cycle, build things, and do so much more.

Then I started drinking. I stopped writing, or cycling, or building. I wanted to build a motorcycle, build a business and also build a house for my father in the hills. But I haven’t done any of that.

I started drinking at a young age. I first drank out of curiosity – I must have been five or six at best.

I remember climbing up my father’s almirah and taking swigs from a bottle of brandy. Then I remember carrying rum to school when I was in class eight. I grew up in a boys’ school and I did all the things you would do in a boys’ school. I smoked cigarettes, smuggled alcohol and porn magazines to school, ran away once, defiantly left my ‘value education’ paper blank, picked fights, bunked classes, planted firecrackers, and carried an air pistol.

I also was a good orator, I debated. I wanted to take up International Relations; I wanted to join the UN; I wanted to do something meaningful. I wanted to be powerful: someone who would command with authority, for the right reasons of course. Someone who would be mentioned in newspapers, someone who would write books, maybe give a speech people would listen to, maybe sing. I don’t know. All I know is that I wanted to do so much more.

I haven’t done too badly. I finished my graduation and even studied further. I’ve been working for seven years with great companies. I head a team; manage many responsibilities. But my problem remains – my mind has become too dependent on alcohol.

It is hard to end a day without a drink. And I never can just end with one. I’m drinking every day. I lie, I drink, I work, I drink, I lie, I work. It just goes on and gets worse.

My drinking has helped in 3 areas – I have met some very interesting people, I have had some excellent conversations, and made an acquaintance with some important people in business. It could have happened without the alcohol.

The cost of this good has been too much. In terms of money, time, risk, and regret. I’ve been in trouble financially, with the law, in college, at home, at work, with friends, with my ex-girlfriend, and maybe more. I’ve had nights when I’ve blacked out. The worst was once when I stopped a kilometer from my house at midnight for a smoke and passed out in the car. I woke up with sixty missed calls from home and from friends because no one knew where I was because I had told my mother a minute earlier that I’ll be reaching home in five minutes. And there’s been worse. Things I would never pen down.

I am worried, I am hassled, and I am uncertain. I’m not happy.

I think I’m too close to losing whatever I have achieved in life. The choice of people I meet, the places I go to and things I do – everything has started revolving around alcohol. I did some chores today and my fingers started trembling. My body is beginning to give up. I can see the signs.

I don’t want to slur when I talk, I don’t want to waste my life driving on the streets with a can of beer in my hand. I don’t want to waste life at the liquor vend. I don’t want to fear my father going ill because I can’t afford his treatment. I don’t want to fear the police, I don’t want my boss losing faith in me, I don’t want to call my friends at midnight pleading for money or for a place to sleep. I don’t want to fear falling in love because I think I can’t handle a relationship. I don’t want to have thoughts about joining rehab or going for vipasana because I think that will fix me. I don’t want to give the reigns to someone else, I don’t want to lose control.

Now, I want to be a good man, one who will be remembered when he dies. One who is a loving son, a great husband, and a great father and a friend. I need help. I’ve also been told I do by almost everyone who cares. I need to get sober. I know I’m a strong man and I can do so much more for myself, for the people who love me, who are friends with me, who work with me. I don’t want to waste my life.

I want to start building again, as much a business as a home for my father in the hills. I will also climb the Everest one day.

I’m just twenty eight and I know I can do it again. I can build again because I know how to. I refuse to give up. I stop now. Come what may.

Weakness – Zero, Me – One. I win.

The author of this article wishes to remain anonymous.