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Kofi Carmichael

Why I Drank

I know why I started drinking but how I grew into an alcoholic, I don’t know. I started like anyone else with the normal underage drinking. This was especially easy in Montreal where the drinking age is 18 years old, as well as easily accessible beer, wine and liquor.  I remember sharing a 24 case of beer with my friends in the park. We used to grab them from the corner store (Depanneur ) and run out the front door, without paying of course. I heard when I was a child, my mom would put a little brandy in my bottle to make me sleep easier.

The transition into an alcoholic I can say started around 18 years old. I’ve mentioned in previous entries about  hiding King cans (710 ml)  of beer in my bedroom of my mom’s house. That was when I was about 19 and I can definitely say that drinking was an everyday thing at that point. In those times, I had dropped out of CEGEP(Junior college) and began selling weed. I was making a considerable amount for my age at the time, so 2-3 King cans was nothing on my budget. I’m not sure if I actually “needed” it at the time as a lot of alcoholics have said, because I never had to go without it. I was always able to afford my habits. In hindsight, I do realize now that it is harder to identify alcoholism when you have a high income. Especially when you add the Hip Hop lifestyle to it where drinking a lot can be considered socially acceptable.

However the question is “Why” and not when. Based on the previously mentioned events, it makes it harder to also identify the “Why”. Was I depressed? Was I acting out? Maybe it was a cry for help? No, no and no are my answers to all of those questions.

As I grew up and my tolerance grew with me, I got into my share of trouble and even though I can attribute a lot of those troubles to drunk decisions; why I got so drunk in the first place is still a question. I also realize that I caused most of my own problems and alcohol definitely helped to amplify the events.

Up to the morning of my infamous apartment fire, I could not think of the reasons that I became an alcoholic. When I look at life now I feel that I still have several stressful situations and reasons why many would want to turn to a drink. For now and God’s willing forever, I don’t have the desire to curb my stress and anxiety with a drink. However, I could never judge or look down on the alcoholic or nonalcoholic who decides to do so.

Ultimately, I feel that it may be a combination of all the above mentioned facts as well as something that is just within myself and other alcoholics worldwide. Maybe a defunct gene that makes us abnormal drinkers. I know there must be some truth to the genetic factor because of the fact that I can watch some friends drink heavily for days then put the bottle down for more than a week. While I know even now almost 7 years later if I have even one drink, that I will surely begin the journey to drinking every night once again. Then there’s a 99% certainty that I won’t make it to be 50.