Chapter 3: Alcohol Conquers the Mind
At age 20, I was not even old enough to drink, but got arrested for drunk driving. At 21, after a change in colleges, my grades suffered as alcohol became more of a priority. I recall feeling extremely anxious and out of place at this new school. I felt like everyone was looking at me and talking about me. I was so nervous all the time that an acute sense of paranoia had set in. To this day, I do not know if people really were talking about me or if I was just hearing it in my head.
I always had a stiff mannerism when walking, but now this got much worse and quite noticeable. When I walked, I had a gait with a very tight tension because the constant detoxing from alcohol made me stiff with anxiety. On many days, I needed a drink to feel just okay. The amount of alcohol that would get a normal college kid drunk, just made me feel like I was on level ground. I had one arrest for drunken driving from the year before and got another arrest this year. I didn't go to court for my hearing because of a hangover and I was still feeling quite loaded. Now I was on the run from the law with a warrant out for my arrest. I really needed to drink now.
There was just no stopping me. I drank now because of the stress that the problems from prior drinking had caused me. I got another arrest, but this one was in another state which did not affect my driving record in my home state. That makes three DUIs by age 22. I ended up getting arrested for the one outstanding DUI warrant in my home state. I was caught because I would stand on the train tracks and wait for trains that moved about 70 mph to almost hit me then jump out of the way. I don't know if I wanted to die or I was just into it for a drunken thrill.
One time, the police got word of this and I got caught. Of course, I also had the warrants for DUI charges. I had to go to jail. I was the youngest guy in the psychiatric ward of the prison. It was an indescribable hell. I was not only in prison, but I was among the insane criminals of the psychiatric netherworld that they called the "M2 ward." Only one who has been to jail knows the feeling of pure hopelessness with 100% lack of freedom and privacy. One who has been to jail never sees life quite the same way again, even if nothing particularly bad happened to him in prison.
After a few days of that, my court hearing came up. I had to go to 26 days of inpatient treatment at an alcohol rehabilitation center or 26 more days of prison. I ended up going to rehabs, but continued to drink. It seemed now that I simply couldn't stop even though I really wanted to quit drinking altogether. I made solemn oaths to quit drinking alcohol for good, only to pick up the first drink once again.
I had to go to court with lawyers to plead my case to a lesser charge. All this stress made the alcohol problem multiply. Around the same time that all of this was happening, I had moved in with my girlfriend in Center City, Philadelphia. Being away from my parents' home, I could now drink openly and have a reserve in the refrigerator. I began morning drinking, drinking before work, and drinking to get to bed. My insomnia was awful.
I had to drop out of college and work full-time. I could drink on my job because I worked in a small store where I was the only one there most of the time. I took on the late night shift so I could isolate myself in my drunkenness. I tried going to psychiatrists in the past and their medications did not help. I denied that I had been drinking as much as I was to my doctors. I remember their warnings about alcohol-related anxiety and depression. They said to get alcohol out of my system first, and then to work on my other problems. I did not want to hear that. I wanted a magic pill to cure me. After all, I knew I could not quit getting drunk. I had already tried that.
At this point in time, I felt like I needed alcohol to think properly. Without the booze, my mind was a racing mess. I couldn't relax or concentrate on anything. Alcohol had become part of my mentality. Alcohol had become my mind.
Staff, H. (2008, December 22). Chapter 3: Alcohol Conquers the Mind, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, October 4 from https://www.healthyplace.com/addictions/articles/chapter-3-alcohol-conquers-the-mind