Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published March 2011.

Web Exclusive: A Better Life

A young writer chases his dreams into a bottle and finds his way to AA

"To keep my flask full, I begged, snuck and stole."

On Monday mornings in high school I would appear in my classes haggard and disheveled. I was secretly proud of the fact that I was worse for the wear after a weekend of hard partying. I had always been good at school, and was enrolled in many honors classes. Being in honors classes meant that I was smart, and drinking meant that I was cool. Looking around at my fellow students I was sure that I was better than any of them.

Needless to say I had an incredibly large ego. I knew for sure that I had all the answers, which made it all the more painful when nothing in my life ever seemed to work out. I was crippled with self-doubt and insecurities. I couldn’t interact with girls. I disliked most of my friends and I hated myself. At school I was often a ball of rage. Drinking cured this anger, in a way. At its best, drinking allowed me to be confident and happy, bigger than myself. At its worst, drinking was all that made life bearable. Sometimes it hardly worked at doing that; often when I drank I was sad and mopey, filled with self-pity. Still, it was better than sobriety.

-- Tom P.

Las Cruces, New Mexico

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