He said I could drink again

He said I could drink again.

I started drinking when I was 18. Like a lot of folks it made me feel like I always wanted to feel. At first I just drank on weekends because I was still in High School. Upon graduation I attended a major “Big 10” drinking school and that’s where the “fun” really started. It was the late 1960’s, the height of the Vietnam War, Hippies, Acid, and any other drug one could mention.

And, of course, alcohol–lot’s of alcohol. I eventually drifted into drug usage. Since I never did anything by half measure I started shooting speed. This lasted for a couple of years until I got hepatitis C.

When I got out of the hospital I never touched any hard drugs again but I starting drinking more to make up for what I felt I had lost. I became a full-fledged wino.

I laid in bed and drank from morning until night. I did this for months on end until I wound up in a psycho ward with the DT’s. When I got out of the hospital I figured I had better lay off the wine and stick to beer.

I spent the next nine years with a six pack never too far away. During that period of time I was also hospitalized again–for a total of 22 times.

Through the help of a young rehab counselor I finally quit, November 8, 1980. I didn’t touch a drop for 17 years. I went back to school, finished my degrees and 11 years later received tenure with the same university that I drank and drugged myself out of back in the 1960’s. Even though I wasn’t drinking I still had serious problems with depression.

At the end of the day I would usually go home and just sit and stare at the four walls. My poor wife didn’t know what to do. Fortunately, she never had to experience my drinking.

One day I was sitting in front of my computer at work and all of sudden I began having severe heart palpitations. These lasted off-and-on for about a month when I finally decided I had better see a doctor. He told me I was having a severe anxiety attack. He gave me some medication and at the same time suggested that I see a psychologist. I saw the psychologist one a month for about a year. He told me about a drug called Zoloft that is used to treat those with chemical depression.

I have been taking it for five years and have not experienced any severe depression whatsoever. However, this psychologist also told me something else. He said I could drink again! I proceeded to ask him if he got his degree from a correspondence school. He said that now that my life was normal again it would be OK for me to have a drink or two on special occasions. He said the reason I drank all the time in years past was that I was attempting to “self-medicate” my depression.

I thought he was nuts and stopped seeing him. About a year and half ago my wife and I were attending Christmas dinner at some friend’s house and I was offered a brandy slush. I though maybe there was something to what this guy was saying after all so I had one. Never one to socialized, I found myself making more time for “special occasions.” Pretty soon I was laying in my own supply and having a couple of doubles three or four nights a week.

I wasn’t missing any work but I did feel fairly sick a couple of mornings. Recently, my wife had to go to California for a week to assist some friends. Well, that when the roof fell in. I was at my friends house and we put a pretty good dent in liter of Jack Daniels.

By the time I got home I was really sick. I passed out on the couch for a couple of hours and when I awoke I figured a couple more would put me in pretty good stead. This was Sunday. Monday I had to meet my wife at the airport at 5 a.m. I made it, but it was anything but fun. That evening we had some “welcome home” drinks.

That night I awoke at about 11 p.m. with the “mind horrors,” at least that’s what I call them. Horrible, scary thoughts that go through ones head and songs, pieces of which, go round and round until you think that you are going mad. I said to myself this is insane. Years ago I would have grabbed a drink to quell them.

However, I pulled together all my reserves and went into the kitchen and dumped about four liters of very expensive liquor down the drain including a six pack of beer and two five liter boxes of wine.

I did this on a Monday. Today is Friday and I am starting to feel a little like my old self. It’s been a pretty rough week–my depression has come back with a vengeance!

Fortunately, I have 17 years of clean living and certain habits that I have developed that I can go back to. I have my Faith. I have my wife. I have my work. I am lucky. This story could have a much worse ending.

The moral of this rather long-winded expose is to caution others of the danger of taking the advise of some jack-leg psychologist.

If anyone ever tells you its OK to drink again on “special occasions” do not be fooled by their sophisms.

The sad part of this story is that this “psychologist” is doing a lot of research on this very subject. I wonder how many other people he has messed up?