By the time I was 34 years old, I was getting up every day and drinking alcohol. I knew where I could buy the cheapest hard liquor with the highest percentage of alcohol and no matter where I went, I usually had a mini bottle or two of liquor in my pocket.
The same year—2016—I was driving home from a date with my wife one night when she asked for my coat to use as a blanket. When I realized I had mini bottles of liquor in the pockets, I selfishly told her I wanted my coat back for myself, just so I could hide the alcohol from her and so she wouldn’t realize I was driving while likely over the limit. At that time, I also always drank the moment I got home from work. Sometimes I couldn’t wait and I drank on the way home and I would be drunk when I arrived. My life was an absolute train wreck.
Growing up in Vancouver, alcohol was always a fixture in my home. But though my parents both drank, they weren’t alcoholics and I only started drinking during senior year in high school as a way to socialize. In college, and throughout my 20s, I only ever consumed two or three drinks at a time; I could take it or leave it. I didn’t consider my drinking to be problematic, although I suspect a doctor may tell you differently.
I had also been an obese child and then struggled with my weight my whole life. In 2012, at 30 years old and nearly 350lbs, I had gastric bypass surgery. In less than a year I lost 190lbs. The surgery meant that alcohol was digested differently, it was sort of like drinking on an empty stomach. Soon, I began to notice that my relationship with alcohol had changed. I regularly needed to quench an absolutely uncontrollable thirst for alcohol; I wanted to drink until I was sick or blacked out.
I wasn’t drinking to escape any real emotional trauma, despite having been through a lot. My relationship with alcohol just got seriously out of control. It was like a switch had been flipped.
I would tell my wife that something wasn’t right and stop drinking for a month or two. I even had one stretch of sobriety that lasted 14 months; I felt I’d taken care of the problem. But when I drank after that, even though I would swear to myself that I would only have one or two, I would end up having 12 to 24 alcoholic drinks a night in secret.
Sometimes I would buy wine in a box, decant it into a litre sized water bottle in the garage or bathroom and slug that down quickly. My behaviour became erratic and I wasn’t able to meet my commitments at work. When I was drunk, I …….