From the May 2019 magazine.

Sweet-smelling lies

At 16 years, he got bored with AA and starting swallowing mouthwash. It seemed like a good idea

In the spring of 2016, I was approaching my 19th year of sobriety. I had made great friends in AA over the years and my home group had always been a lifesaver for me. It allowed me to exit the drunken haze and keep my family together. I had a supportive spouse who had stayed with me and I was able to be sober for most of our three children’s lives. My career was intact and flourishing. But in the spring of 2016, I started to get bored with the AA program and not take it seriously enough.

At the gym where I worked out, there were mouthwash dispensers. For some reason, I started to consume and swallow the mouthwash from them. Historically, my drink of choice was vodka, straight and fast. So predictably, my now weekly gargle and swallow of mouthwash began to increase to a weekly small cup, then to daily small cups. Soon I started buying bottles of mouthwash at the dollar store. Then that became daily. That warm burn in my throat from the mouthwash followed by that mental buzz was a trap that I should have known was a sure path to helplessness.

-- Don C.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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