The Death Of A Journey’s Ghost

crown-royal-bottle

I’ve wrote my fair share here about how I worshipped at the alter of Crown Royal for many years. However, I have never told the story of the journey I thought I was on, the journey where I was looking for the questions to answers I had, and how my journey came to an absolute sudden stop. Over the past weekend I came across a ghost from my not so distant past. I wasn’t looking for the ghost, but I think I was lead to finding it for a reason. I think my finding the ghost let me reflect about the past and how it led me to be where I am today. Over the years I have given alcoholics a very hard time because I don’t believe being an alcoholic is a disease or a disability because it’s absolutely not, being an alcoholic is a choice because drinking is a choice. Personally, at this point in my life I don’t care if a single person agrees with me or disagrees with me, it’s a choice and that’s a damn fact. Oddly enough, I’m listening to “Whiskey In The Jar” by Metallica as I write about all of this. I can’t help it, I like the song, it drowns out the chatter of the conversation happening in Spanish 10 feet away. I didn’t need to be put in a “mood” because I was already there, already at the point where I had opened the wounds far enough where I was ready to write without any struggles. But I am struggling, I struggle with the feelings and emotions that have come out since opening the coffin of my dead journey. The big question y’all might be having is what journey died and how did it die. First of all, the short answer is I didn’t like where my life was going so I killed it dead, then I stomped a mudhole into it, then I kicked the shit out of it, then I burned it until it was a crispy critter,  and then I buried it. Obviously I didn’t kill it or bury real well, I killed it alright, but my burial lacked conviction because I found it or it found me, however one chooses to look at it.

Now, before we begin exploring, let me just add that I’m not glorifying drinking or downplaying alcoholism as a prominent problem in American society. You might here me poke fun or saying derogatory things about both, but they are based on my experience, my observation, and my own opinion. So, with that, let’s start at the end because that is where my actual journey began. When I’m done writing this today this the journey might be over, it might get buried again, and for sure the reminders (triggers) have been dealt with accordingly. So, anyway, I was looking through some boxes in my storage building for a box, which as I found, was un-labeled, that contained files I needed, to include my DD-214 (discharge paperwork) and some other VA paperwork. Back when I packed all this up it would appear that liquor boxes were what I had. Mostly because I worked at a bar, so I always liberated the sturdy boxes. I didn’t know what box the files I was looking for actually looked like because I have slept since that day. As I went through the boxes, opening around 50 or so boxes, I came across a long forgotten collection, I found 3 boxes of Crown Royal bags of mixed and varied sizes. I sat down in my chair and thought damn, this was a slap in the face I wasn’t expecting. Way back when, back in the day if you will, I used to drink allot, you may not actually be able to comprehend how much, just know it was more than the average social drinker. My drink of choice was Crown Royal on ice, and many times I just skipped the ice altogether because I kept my Crown in a freezer. When I was in the Air Force I stockpiled Crown Royal, when I say stockpiled I bought it regularly by the case or two to three cases at a time. It wasn’t because I had parties all the time, it was my personal drinking stock. When I drank with friends I drank what they had and usually allot of tequila.

crown royal bags 002

I can’t even began to phatheom the amount of Crown Royal I drank just while I was in the Air Force. Need I remind everyone that I built explosives for a living? To this day it still surprises me that I still have all my fingers. When I got my retirement orders I began to really stock up because I knew I would need Crown Royal on the cheap after my departure. I priced it out on the economy and found that I could buy it at the package store on base for right around 1/5 the cost. After I got out I drank as I pleased like there was no end to my supply for around 2 years. I always had an excuse to drink, if there is such a thing. My brother-in-law at the time, married to my baby sister, was an entertainer of sorts. He had a small band that consisted of himself as lead singer and guitar player, his sister who also sang and played keyboard, and her husband who played the drums. On occasion there were other members but my brother-in-law was such a dick that they didn’t stay that long. Anyway, every weekend starting Friday night they would play all the local dive country bars which were all b.y.o.b. (bring your own bottle) holes in the wall in the middle of nowhere at times. I don’t care for the wanging and twanging of country music much but I figured what a better place to get laid than by some drunk redneck girls. It has been my experience that redneck girls can ride for well over 8 seconds. After an ugly divorce I wanted two things in life and only two things, I wanted to drink to forget my own name and I wanted to fuck anyone who didn’t need me to remember her name.

Bonus, I could do as much as I wanted of both and nobody batted an eye at me. Not that it would have mattered because quite simply I didn’t give a shit about anyone’s opinion. About six months after getting out of the Air Force, while working for my father the concrete contractor, I found myself working on the other side of town. After an extremely long day in the heat, humidity, and the hot Texas sun, I was ready to call it quits for the day. Making my way home I drove by a bar with an advertisement I could not ignore, they were have a wet t-shirt contest, and drink specials. I was all over it. When I went in, after paying cover, I was entering the club with a mission, get drunk and find some tail. Bingo! The first thing I saw was a fantastic ass bent over the bar grabbing something from behind. My reaction? I walked up to her and smacked that ass with all my might! She jumped up so fast I almost got whiplash watching her. I knew something was up because it was all happening in slow motion and I was still 100% sober. She looked me square in the eye and TOLD me I owed her some drinks, some dancing, and a good fucking to take her mind off of how bad her ass was stinging. It’s a deal. We drank. We danced, well, she danced, I just moved around in a stuper. We drank. We made out a bit. We drank. Then I took her home, she was special.

We got married a year and a half later. Before that we spent allot of time together, I eventually moved her and her young daughter (1) into my apartment on the other side of town. She got a job and we were moving on. I introduced her to my weekend habit of going out to country gigs and life was one big party. Shortly after we got married, within the first month or so, after a night out partying, I woke up in my own puke. This wasn’t the first time, but I vowed that morning it was going to be the last damn time. And y’all know what? I’ve never looked back. Shortly after that my dad retired, leaving me without a job, so I contacted a friend of a friend of a friend who hired me as their front end bartender. My wife was worried that being in that close contact with alcohol that I would be heading back down the path of least resistance. She had no problem with it being a full nude strip bar but worried about me around all the alcohol. She had always heard it only takes one sip and all hell can break loose.

Sign

Fortunately for both of us I had no interest in the drinking any more. No, I never really quit drinking, but I quit drinking myself just shy of a coma every night. In fact, these days I don’t drink much at all, we don’t go out to bars, and most of my friends are actually family. So far so good. Personally I can’t see myself going back, I know, never say never. What happened to the Crown Royal bags? Currently my mother-in-law has them in her possession. She wanted them to make a quilt for me. I explained I didn’t need a quilt because I don’t want the everyday reminder of what an asshole I was when I was drinking. So who knows what she will eventually do with them. No, there was no Crown Royal remaining, which is unfortunate because that makes an easy Christmas present for most of the people I know.  You’ve heard of cleaning out one’s closet, well this was my version. Oh, I found all the records I was hunting for in the first place. No telling what is in the rest of those boxes, probably shit I don’t need to be seeing anyways.

Is being an alcoholic a disability?

Did y’all know that being an alcoholic is a “disability” which is both covered and protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act? Included in this post will be, but not limited to, information, links, and my opinions on this little factoid. When did being an alcoholic become a disability? When did being an alcoholic become a disease? I have news for y’all, being an alcoholic is neither a disability or disease. For example, one can quit drinking, but one can not quit having MS or CF. I found that reading at the Americans with Disabilities Act website that the definitions of terms are very screwed up. In fact, I challenge y’all to to look up four words, for fun of course, and then review how they are applied in the Americans with Disabilities Act. The four words are Disability, Disease, Alcoholic, and Addiction. Meanwhile, let me continue. Consuming alcohol is a choice a person makes. Stopping the consumption of alcohol is as well a choice.

 
This seems to be a very blurred subject when it comes to employment, benifits, and a person living their life. Unfortunately, as we see everyday, we tend to pay for the mistakes made by people making bad choices. Alcoholism is an addiction, it is a choice, it is a matter of a person’s will power, and that doesn’t make it a disability or disease. Makes no sense to me that an alcolholic is considered sick, he/she is not sick, he/she has an addiction to alcohol. Let me give you an example taken from the ADA questions and answers page. Click the “ADA” for an entire list of questions and answers.
 
Q. Are alcoholics covered by the ADA?
A. Yes. While a current illegal user of drugs is not protected by the ADA if an employer acts on the basis of such use,a person who currently uses alcohol is not automatically denied protection. An alcoholic is a person with a disability and is protected by the ADA if s/he is qualified to perform the essential functions of the job. An employer may be required to provide an accommodation to an alcoholic. However,an employer can discipline,discharge or deny employment to an alcoholic whose use of alcohol adversely affects job performance or conduct. An employer also may prohibit the use of alcohol in the workplace and can require that employees not be under the influence of alcohol.

I tend to look at the choices we make in life as being similar to choices we would make while playing a game of chess. Each move in chess is a choice, each choice has a consequence, and in turn each time we make a choice, good or bad, we have determined what the outcome will be in advance. The non-chess players are now scratching their head. Just in case one or all of y’all are curious to what brought this up with me today, let me take a minute to explain. I was listening to the radio and one of the commercials boasted information in reference to lawsuits based on the discrimination of alcoholics in the workplace, either being hired or grounds for dismissal. The advertisement went on to explain it was in violation of the ADA and that lawfirm was there to help. Needless to say, it pissed me off just a tad. It pissed me off enough to do some research on my own.

In case you are wondering, yes I do have family members and friends who are “classified” as alcoholics. I have had the exact same conversation with them as well, I have explained to them they do not have a disease, they have an addiction. I can’t say much about a person’s addictions, I have my own since I make the choice every day to light just one more cigarette. Maybe they should make smoking a “disease” and then I wont have to go out in the rain to smoke. Seriously. Speaking of which, I am being very serious here, I am not making light of someone being an alcoholic. Trust me when I say I fought my own demons of self control not too many years ago. I used to be a heavy drinker, even could be considered an alcoholic, and one day I made a choice. My choice? My choice was to stop drinking. Why? Because I was tired of waking up sick every morning. I was tired of throwing money into the bottle. I was done. Hence, I wanted to quit. Therefore, I made the choice to quit and uphold my decision. Yes I know, what happens with one person is not the blanket answer to everyone’s problems. But, I do know, that making the choice to stop drinking is still just that, its a choice.