What led you to get sober?
My wife and I had talked several times about how my drinking was a problem. I tried multiple times to tone it down, thinking, “Maybe I can just have one drink.” But I’m sure you’ve heard the usual: one drink turns to six or however many. There were some weird times—a lot of holes in my brain of wondering what might have happened on various nights.
The night before I quit, I went to a show. I was blacked out and don’t remember a lot of what happened. I was told that when I got home, I came in the door, fell on the floor, and passed out right in the entryway of the house. I was with a friend that night, and I don’t know if I drove or if he drove.
I never had a good rationale for safety for myself or others. Once I’d had a few drinks, I’d get behind the wheel. I had that lackadaisical attitude of, “Oh, I’m fine.” That was a concern too.
So my wife had brought it up, and at that point I decided, “I can’t just slow down; I’m going to stop altogether.”
It seems like you had thought about it at various points. One reason I’m doing this project is because before I got sober, I only heard one narrative of: you hit rock bottom and then you get sober. I had a lot of low points, but it wasn’t linear; it wasn’t like, “And then I had the worst low point and got sober.” It was all different things throughout the years. Then I also know people who maybe didn’t hit rock bottom, but just decided it wasn’t good for them.
Yeah, my low point that I mentioned probably wasn’t the lowest. It was one of many.
2013 is when I got sober, and I had a DUI probably around 2005. I wasn’t in an accident; I was swerving in the road and got pulled over. But I had thought, “I never want to be ‘that guy,’” and then suddenly became that guy and started to rationalize it. I kind of curbed my drinking for a little, but it escalated back to where it was.
It’s crazy to think there were times I would go to the bar for happy hour at 5 or 6 and come home at 2 in the morning. That’s like an 8-hour day of drinking. I spent way too many nights in bars just drinking with no real purpose.
Do you have a recovery program—therapy, AA, anything you do for it?
I drink non-alcoholic beer; I love the taste still. During the pandemic I found a brewery that’s entirely non-alcoholic. They deliver, so I’ve been getting various flavors from them.
In general, I’ve found that as long as I don’t touch one drink, I don’t touch six drinks.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve noticed in yourself since you got sober?
I’m definitely way more functional. I’m also way more of a morning person than I ever was. I get my best work done before noon now. It’s nice waking up without a hangover and jumping right into your day.
A little while after I got sober, I was part of making a movie that was this massive undertaking. It’s something I probably would not have been able to do before. It’s amazing how much more time you have.
Oh, money’s a big thing—noticing how it doesn’t just fly away. I would also buy cigarettes when I was drinking, even though I didn’t really want them.
Yeah, I quit cigarettes prior to drinking, around 2010 or so. That was tough as well, probably tougher for me.
Has the pandemic affected your sobriety in any way?
Not really—I would normally get the non-alcoholic beers anyway if I went out in a social setting. I’ll have one or two every Friday now; it’s become my pandemic ritual, letting me know it’s the weekend.
Even though I quit smoking, another pandemic ritual is that I’ll sit out back and have a cigar. Not every weekend, but once in a while. It’s gotten me outside during the pandemic.
So those have been my weekend go-to’s during the pandemic—instead of using something that controls me like alcohol or cigarettes did.