The Honest And Humbling Life Of A Young Alcoholic

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1For however many research-based, statistic-fueled pieces the media publishes regarding youths and their relationship with drugs and alcohol, very few actually address the human side of the story. Instead of discussing experiences, they rely on shocking numbers and tales of violent acts. We've been focusing on the "problem" of alcoholism when, really, we should also be considering the condition of alcoholism. What is it like to really be an addict? Memoirs like Augusten Burroughs' Dry help add to the conversation, but we haven't read a tell-all confessional that's as poignant as Thought Catalog's recent post.

An anonymous author (who was writing under the influence of his sixth whiskey-tonic that day), penned his story, and subsequently shattered all of our perceptions of 20-something alcoholism. It's not a glamorous description, nor is it a masturbatory one; it's a brutal telling that seeks nothing more than to bring awareness to the general public. The writer's recollections, from college drinking escalating to 12 or more drinks every single night is shocking, but grounded in its sincerity. This person isn't out at the bars with peers slamming shot after shot, he's drinking from the moment he wakes up until the moment he passes out drunk at 11 p.m. Alcohol is as big a part of his daily life as are gym trips, work, and friends. To him, alcohol is water and his thirst is quenched by a state of perpetual intoxication.

"In the past three and a half years, I have not been sober for more than 24 hours," he recounts, and thus begins the journey down the rabbit hole. What's shocking is not so much the author's drinking habits (though, his recollection of withdrawal symptoms experienced after attempting to limit himself to two drinks for a night is unnerving), but the way his therapist described his condition. As the author tells it, "My former therapist told me that my ability to live a normal life while under the influence is 'impressive.'” Impressive — not dangerous, but impressive. Ironically, the therapist seems to be glorifying the condition more than this author.

Of course, by no means are we applauding the author's condition — we aren't doctors here. This is a humanizing, first-hand description of a prevalent disease, and we respect his vulnerability and courage to openly talk about such a touchy subject. Whether or not this author's journey is a diamond in the rough is up for debate, but it certainly isn't reserved for twenty-somethings — it just so happens the author is young. As proof, the comment section showcases readers of all ages chiming in and expressing their concerns, life-parallels, and advice. The conversation has only begun but the floodgates have opened, and this article couldn't have come at a more opportune time. (Thought Catalogue)

Photographed by Grace Willis