Maybe Next Year

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A young man dealing with alcoholism and his decision to overcome.

Submitted: August 16, 2014

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Submitted: August 16, 2014



Somehow, I managed to survive another year. Sitting here watching the annual program on television, I feel a bit of self-assurance, a bit of optimism that has been missing from my life for a while now. The talk show host is now announcing a singer whom I don't recognize, which makes sense. I haven't listened to the radio in months. This is the first time I've sat down to watch TV in a year. My mind has been...preoccupied.

I look around at my living room, which is really just a title; I haven't done much living in a while. The room is a perfect visualization of what my life has become: a mess.There's food containers everywhere, clothes tossed haphazardly on the floor, and my makeshift bed (couch) hasn't been "made" in months. I laugh a little to myself at the Scooby Doo calendar that hangs on my wall. Shouldn't a twenty-two year old man have something more...mature? Half-naked women? Cars? I like my cartoon one much better; At least when I look at it, I can convince myself for a few moments that I'm still growing up.

I spent all of "growing up" wishing for it to be over; I was a miserable teenager. Adulthood could not come fast enough. I never was very good in school; I wanted to be, but it was just never something that came easy to me and Lord knows the "easy thing" was the only thing I ever wanted to do. I barely graduated , squeaking by because the teachers just wanted rid of me; everyone wanted rid of me. Who can blame them? Instead of the things I was supposed to be doing, I spent those years doing everything that was bad for me. I found my poison and I never let it go. I spent all that time wishing for it to be over, but I swear that I would give anything to have it back. That's how it always works, isn't it?

The countdown begins and I can feel a few butterflies start to flutter in the pit of my stomach.

At the meeting I sat in on today, there was a man who stood up on the stage and gave some big speech. It was supposed to be highly motivational, but I never did get into that kind of thing. He dragged on for about an hour and a half about how we have it in us to separate ourselves from the addiction. He kept telling us that we were still good people, we just had nasty habits. I understood the message he was trying to send, but I couldn't help but think that it was all insincere. I had this favorite book when I was a kid, The Catcher in the Rye, and I thought back to it as I sat there. I got the feeling that the speaker was a phony.

I did take one thing away from the meeting, though. He said that we should all make a New Year's Resolution, that it's good for us to have goals. Everyone in the meeting started to say theirs out loud. They wanted to lose a few pounds, take up a new hobby, or the very obvious one: to quit drinking. I didn't have one at the time. It seemed a bit pointless to me; I had come not to expect much from myself. However, I decided on the way home that it might be a good thing for me. Pinpointing one thing in my life that I wanted to fix was the problem. I had been bandaging the cuts in my life with alcohol since I was fifteen; you can only imagine the things I regret and the opportunities I let pass.

The one cut that had always been the deepest was my relationship with my brother, Henry. I guess I had been poking holes in that all my life, but I ripped it to shreds about two years ago. I had seen Henry angry plenty of times before, but this time it was different. It wasn't just a sibling spat; it was real.

"Get out! Get out!" he had screamed, spit flying in my face.

"Where exactly do you expect me to go?!"

"I don't care, just get out of my house." Straight face. No ounce of sympathy left in him.

"But you're my big brother; you can't kick me out!" I was such an idiot. That was at the pinnacle of my drinking problem. I never stopped; I don't think there was ever even a moment when I was sober. I was only twenty years old, but I thought nothing of the world around me. That was the thing about my drinking; I did it so I didn't HAVE to think. In my head, Henry was supposed to be there for me because that's what family is for.

"I stopped being your big brother when you came into my house and took advantage of everything I've done for you. I stopped being your brother when you chose the bottle over your own family. Don't give me that crap. You only need me now because you realize how deep you dug yourself. Shaun, I'm doing this for your own good." He was wrong, though. I didn't know how deep I had dug myself, or maybe I did, but I just refused to care. At that point, I took off toward the stairs, intending to pack my things. I didn't want to hear this kind of thing; these kind of things were the reason I drank in the first place. I could see him out of the corner of my eye start to advance toward me, but then he just stopped and stared.

"You're a mess Shaun. You're too intoxicated all the time to even notice, but you need to. Call me after you stop lying to yourself." Those were the last words my brother ever said to me.

I stopped lying to myself about a year after that happened. I had almost landed myself in jail, so I decided to land myself in some AA meetings instead. I never called my brother though. I was still angry, like the stupid kid I was.

I'm not angry anymore: not at him, not at myself. I am just tired: tired of being this way, tired of being alone. The lonelier I got, the more I drank; I finally decided that maybe I should fill the void with people instead of alcohol. The only person that I found myself wanting around was Henry.

I finally figured out that I was the problem, but I was also the solution.

So with the countdown reaching single digits and the ball starting to drop, I finally feel like I have some sort of direction in my life. I am absolutely terrified, but for once, I think that I'm okay with that. This is the type of fear that I don't want to cover up with liquor. This is the type of fear that I want to shake hands with.

For once in my life, I think I'm going to be okay,


Happy New Year.

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