My name is Mitch, and I’m an alcoholic.
Well, at least that’s what they want you to say when you go to AA. You see, I guess I’m what they call a “functioning alcoholic”. I have a job, hobbies, friends, and most importantly, a family. I’ve never really fully accepted that I have a drinking problem, because, well, it obviously isn’t really a problem if I still have all of those things right? Right.
I’ve been drinking since I was the ripe old age of 16 (thanks dad), and even now at the age of 41 I’ve never been arrested or hospitalized or any of that stuff you read about real alcoholics.
Now I’m not going to say that my drinking has never gotten me “in trouble”. My wife Lauren has always been wary of my drinking…especially once our two kids, Eric and Nelly, came into the picture. I love them with all my heart, which is why I agreed to do things to “help” my drinking “problem”. I’ve been to AA, outpatient rehabs, classes, and even a 30 day inpatient program. I’ve spoken to counselors, psychiatrists…but in the end I’m really just going to keep the peace at home.
Now 20+ years of drinking isn’t all fun and games. I’ve had to up my amount of vodka because of the tolerance I’ve built over the years. I now drink from the moment my eyes open till they are forced shut in a passed out state. Nobody ever warned me about the withdrawals. At first it was mostly shaking and sweating, but over the years it has developed into everything from vomiting to anxiety attacks. But I don’t go through much of it…since alcohol hits my stomach the minute after I wake up. Hell I don’t even taste it anymore! (I think my tastebuds are shot…oh well…now I don’t have to chase it!)
But what about work, you ask? Well it’s not hard to do when you work from home. My bosses don’t even know anything is amiss…I’m that good at what I do. Hell I’m even better at my job when I’m tipsy. The kids are in elementary school, and Lauren works your typical 9-5 job as an actuary. Drinking is much easier when you are home alone!
Of course we don’t keep any alcohol in the house…Lauren would get upset if she found out I was still drinking. So I stash my booze all around the house in my little “hidey holes”. My routine is pretty simple: I wake before Lauren every morning (normally because withdrawals force me awake after about 6 hours of sleep) and I finish off whatever I have remaining. That gets me going and staves off the shakes until she leaves around 8. The kids are already on the bus by then (don’t worry people, I don’t drive my kids drunk…I’m not a monster) and I make my way to the local liquor store. It’s only 1 mile away, so I walk there so I can walk in at 9 am…when it opens. Drink all day, pass out, rinse and repeat.
Well today was a little different.I had bought a little too much yesterday, so I had plenty of vodka stashed around the house. No need to go out today! I took my first few swigs from my bottle to get me started and got the kids ready for school. Lauren was a little standoffish today, but I was relieved when she left without a word. I thought for sure she had caught me…or at least suspected me of drinking. But she didn’t say anything, so phew!
It was around two pm when the doorbell rang. I got up from my computer and bottle of vodka and walked to the door. I noticed I was kinda shaky today, so my tolerance must really be skyrocketing. I looked out the peephole and saw a short, balding man standing outside. ‘Who the hell is that?’ I wondered, but in my impaired judgement I had already opened the door.
“Hello Mitch. I’m Mr. White. I was hoping to come in for a few minutes to talk to you.”
“About what?” I replied, getting a little agitated that I had opened the door to some salesman or something.
“Actually I’m here because your family wanted me to see you.”
‘Fuck’, I thought. They had realized I was drinking and sent someone over to intervene. I guess I will just have him come in to try and diffuse the situation later.
“Well come on in”.
He stepped in and closed the door behind him. I beckoned him to follow me to the living room where I had been working. I sat down, and motioned for him to sit across from me. He sat down and took in his surroundings a bit, stopping when he came across my bottle full of vodka. A thin, yet condescending smile came across his face.
“Your family has been worried about you Mitch.”
“They have?” I replied, trying to sound innocent.
“You aren’t as sneaky as you think Mitch. Lauren knows you are still drinking. Your kids know something is wrong. It’s not that hard to see….or smell for that matter” Mr. White said, his nose crinkling.
“It’s not that bad” I said, “I do what I need to do and I still work and provide for this family.” I picked up my vodka and took a few swigs.
“Your kids are scared, Mitch. Your wife is at wits end. Actually, they are coming here now.”
I heard the door open and Lauren walked in. My heart started racing. Eric and Nelly were standing behind them. I checked the clock…it was now 5 pm. How did that happen? Lauren and the kids came and sat down next to Mr. White.
“I….I….I don’t know what to say.”
Lauren finally spoke up, “Mitch. I know you’ve been drinking. I just want to help you. WE just want to help you.”
I started to cry. “I don’t know what to do anymore…”
Lauren got up and walked over to me. “It’s ok Mitch. I’m here now to help. WE all are.” Why did she keep saying it like that?
As I looked at her, tears welling up in my eyes, I noticed a flicker of black in her eyes. It threw me off guard, and I looked away towards where Mr. White and my kids were sitting. But it wasn’t my little Eric and Nelly anymore. Horns had grown out of their heads. They looked at me with crooked necks…ungodly smiles. I looked back at my wife, who smiled with sharp, pointy teeth.
“We are here to help you Mitch.” Lauren said, smiling even wider. I got up, shaking, sweating…my heart racing, and backed away from whatever had entered my house. It was not my wife….it was not my kids. Vomit surged up my throat, and I ran for the kitchen sink. I vomited what only could have been blood…and noticed that hundreds of spiders were swimming in it. I glanced up and saw Mr. White, unnervingly calm, standing by my side.
“That is not your wife and kids, Mitch. Those are monsters…I guess you can call them your demons. And I can help you get rid of them.”
“How?” I asked…quivering uncontrollably.
“With this.” Mr. White held up our large kitchen knife. I grabbed it from him and just stared at it. It must have been 3 seconds though because Lauren came into the kitchen.
“Honey, are you ok?” she asked…but it wasn’t her anymore. It looked like her, but her voice was deep. And her eyes…oh god her eyes were gone. Eric and Nelly stood behind her, still craning their necks and smiling. “Let us help you!” she screamed, and they all ran at me. I started stabbing and slicing at anything. All I heard were grunts and screams. I stabbed and stabbed until all I heard were my shallow breaths. Mr. White was nowhere to be found. That’s about when I passed out.
I came to in the hospital. I tried to get up, but instantly noticed I had been handcuffed to the bed. IVs stuck out of my arms. I laid back….glad that it was over.
“Mitch Tyler. He is in bed 3 over there”. I looked over to see a doctor speaking with a police officer.
“Is he still knocked out?” The policeman asked.
“Yes he is. Toxicology came back with no drugs or alcohol in his system, but we’ve been keeping him slightly sedated.”
“Makes sense. Such a shame though. His wife and kids were found near his passed out body, stabbed to death. We aren’t too sure why yet, but we know he was an alcoholic. It’s just that the only liquid we could find in his bottles was water.”