From the April 2013 magazine.

April 2013: Man of Many Masks

There was the Wall Street Rodney, the college Rodney, the gay Rodney. Where would it end?

Painting by Amos P.

Alcoholic? What did I know about alcoholism? As far as I knew, alcoholics were men and women living on the streets who drank to relieve the pain of their condition. I had never heard the term used to describe anyone close to me, except maybe my Uncle Jim. He drank every weekend but held a steady job at the local factory for nearly 25 years. And during my summer visits to my grandmother in Georgia, I would also hear about Uncle Bo beating Aunt Ruth during one of his binges. But alcohol was not a part of my everyday life as a child. So how could I possibly imagine that someone with an Ivy League education, an MBA from one of the top business schools in the country, and a résumé with a string of Fortune 100 companies, would be an alcoholic? My denial was as deep, cunning and insidious as the disease itself.

I had my first drink when I was a freshman in college; it was also my first drunk. A long night of sloe gin fizzes that, by its end, saw me pass out in my best friend’s room. After that, I kept drinking occasionally throughout college and almost always got drunk.

-- Rodney

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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