Sunday, January 13, 2008

Alcohol pt.1

So I just went to an AA meeting today. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but for those of you who don’t know, AA stands for Alcohol Anonymous. It’s where people with alcohol/drug problems go and share stories and give support to each other to overcome their issues.

I don’t think I’m an alcoholic. I just have to go to these meetings since it is a part of my DUI deal. But, I realized something in the meeting. I am not alcoholic, but alcohol might be one of my problems. And, I’m glad that I realized it and working on it to fix.

I want to share a little bit of a story with you. One ordinary night after work mid last year, I went to a bar with few colleagues of mine near the office. I had beer after beer, shot after shot and quite a few JD coke. I had so much fun being drunk and getting loud and all. I believe I was drinking till the bar closed. I vaguely remember I said bye to my colleagues. The next thing I know, I woke up in my car completely smashed.

It was 4am. Apparently I drove for about 2 hours heading home. Somehow I past my exit and ended up on PCH in Santa Monica. I vaguely remember how I crashed. I was on 10 West trying to get onto PCH because, at that time, I had no idea where I was because I was so drunk I couldn’t even read signs. The ramp from 10 to PCH is pretty sharp and you would need to slow down. I guess I didn’t hit the brake hard enough… According to the police report, after making the curve onto PCH, I was going too fast and lost control of my car, hit the center divider and then smashed into the wall in the tunnel. Luckily, I didn’t get a single scratch. More importantly, I did not hurt anyone.

How the hell all this happened? I blacked out. I have no recollection of getting into my car. I don’t remember driving. I crashed.

So, this is nothing else but a problem. An alcohol-related problem.

I started drinking at the early age. I used to steal my dad’s sake bottle and started enjoying it when I was still in elementary school. Because of loose law enforcement, I’m not sure about now but back then, young people in Japan can drink in the bar without getting carded even if you apparently look young. The very first time I got trashed was when I threw a party in the bar when I was 13 with 20 other friends who were also at my age. Since then, drinking has become my social activity. Party = drinking… drinking till I get drunk. In college, I worked in a bar. Almost every weekend, Friday and Saturday, I drank with my friends till I puke… for 4 full years in college. I had many blackouts. I just don’t remember the half of the night before.

Drinking till I get drunk at a party become a habit. I would drink heavily and drive drunk. I love pumping up music and drive fast when I’m feeling good drunk. I would drive on freeways over 100mph and beat all cars on the road. That feeling and moment made me feel that I have a good life. Stupid. I’ve been in many troubles but I had never had to deal with the law… until last year. I guess it was just a matter of time.

So I finally realized… driving under influence especially when I drink too much drink and semi-unconscious is a serious problem. Thanks god I didn’t kill anyone. If you don’t drink much, you would say “pssh of course, duh.” But, for a person like me who has been drinking lots and driving for a long time, it doesn’t seem to be a big deal. Well, now I learned by experience that it is.

Having learned that, I stopped drinking heavily. I started to discipline myself to stop drinking once I feel the buzz even when I’m not driving. I have not been really drunk since I got arrested except for the New Year ’s Eve. And, I only got drunk that night since I knew I could stay over night at the host’s.

I also realized that I don’t need much alcohol to have fun. And, I can stop drinking at any moment at a party if I want to. I went out last night. I had two Heinekens and 2 shots of JD. I didn’t need anymore and I still had a lot of fun. I don't drink at home. I only drink for social purposes. I don't drink to deal with stress or problems. I only drink for fun. I might get aggressive but I don't get violent when I'm drunk. I tend to speak and laugh very loud but I don't dispraise anyone. I'm a happy drinker and I want to stay that way.

All in all, regardless of the degree, I have an alcohol-related problem and I am doing well to overcome it.

Aside from this problem, I have so many funny drunk stories but I guess I’ll talk about that some other time.

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