It was the end of my junior year, and the thing I cared about most was getting drunk. I usually didn’t drink during the week, but when Friday rolled around, I was salivating for my first sip – which was usually a gulp followed closely by more and more gulps. I didn’t like where my life was romantically, I was still angry about cancer (both my own and a friend who passed from leukemia that November), and I turned to drinking as my way of release. Even though drinking had led to interactions with the BC Police, ER visits, and many apologies; I wasn’t ready to stop.
Then on May 7, 1995, I started drinking to excess. I drank everything in the apartment I shared with my roommates. Drinking made me not care, and that night I didn’t care if I lived or died. Again, it landed me at McLean’s. This time, I was ready to stop.
Of course, when I got there, I had other things on my mind. The Bruins were playing the Devils in the 1995 Stanley Cup Playoffs and they had lost games 1 and 2. Game 3 was a must win, and I had to watch it. As you can see in the Mental Status Examination Upon Asmission, I made that crystal clear:
Then while in one of the groups at McLean’s, a man in his late 30s/early 40s said something that made my decision with alcohol final. All he said was, “Hey, my name is Mike and this is my 8th time in rehab.” I said to myself that I never want to be saying that. I wanted this to be the last. And I knew the only way it would be the last is if I never drank again.My decision was made final when my father gave me some depressing news. My friend Justin, who I had met at UMass (he was 10 when I met him and getting treated for cancer on his brain stem) had passed away.
He was 13. When they could tell his battle was nearing the end, he asked his mother to call me so he could see me. I was in the hospital getting my stomach pumped, and my parents and the doctors agreed it would be best to keep me somewhere safe. Of course when they told me, I lashed out and was pissed that they didn’t tell me right away. But I knew the real reason I wasn’t there for him was because of my drinking. I failed being there for a friend in need, and it was because of alcohol. I don’t want that to ever happen again, so again I arrive at the decision not to drink again.
When I left McLean’s, the “experts” there were convinced that if I returned to Boston College for my senior year, I would drink again. They had known me for a week, and were that certain. I am happy to tell them they were wrong. Not only did I not drink my senior year at BC, I had the best GPA of my four years there. And I haven’t had a drink since May 7th, 1995.
My non-drinking is not because of anything any psychiatrist at McLean said to me. It’s not because I think drinking is evil and no one should do it. It’s because I know what road it leads me to: not caring for my family or friends, the ER, police, and McLean. I promised myself I wouldn’t let drinking take me there again, and I’ve lived up to that promise. But it’s easy to keep a promise like this when you have supportive family and friends like mine. Thank you to everyone who helped me get through this…I couldn’t have done it without you! And of course, GO B’S!!!!