St. Patty’s Day of 2018 started out like most others had. I made plans with friends to pre-game before a bar crawl we were attending. I knew it was going to be a long day of drinking, so my plan was to pace myself by avoiding shots and sticking to beer (fun fact – drinking 20+ beers throughout at day will get you just as drunk as a few shots). I was controllable for most of the day, but got really drunk following a friend’s birthday dinner and blacked out at the club. I later learned that I made out with some random guy and ended up in the parking lot with my pants off trying to get into an uber. When I got home, I locked myself in the bathroom and passed out on the toilet with the shower on. My roommates had to pick the lock on the door to get in to make sure I was alive.
The real story starts the next day – there was nothing special or different about the night I had, it wasn’t my craziest night and I didn’t really do anything I regretted. However, when I woke up I had a terrible feeling (in addition my hangover) that I couldn’t place for most of the morning. As the morning progressed I realized the felling I had was dread and impending doom. It felt like I was going to die soon from the choices I made and in that moment I knew I couldn’t live my life the way I had been.
I knew that my life was out of control, but I wasn’t ready to admit I had a drinking problem or that I was an alcoholic. But I knew I could control whether or not I picked up a drink. In typical Kevin fashion, I started to read everything I could on alcoholism and blacking out, avoiding any literature relating to 12-step programs or recovery. I wanted to collect all the data possible before admitting I might have a problem. I decided that for that day I wouldn’t drink.
My decision to not drink one day, turned into two days and then a week. I met with a counselor through the Employee Assistance Program and we discussed what I was going through. The conclusion that we came to was I didn’t have a drinking problem, my problem was with the fact I didn’t manage my stress well and it manifested itself in my blackout drinking. However, I knew that I it was more than that.
I kept not drinking for about six months, but my life didn’t get much better. I wasn’t blacking out, but I was still stressed out, angry, and felt out of control. Mostly I felt confused and conflicted – I didn’t resemble the alcoholics I read about or saw in popular media. There was no big rock bottom for me- I had a job, hadn’t been arrested, or alienated my friends and family. I didn’t know where I fit.