Fatherhood and Sobriety

Out of the Closet

I had my first drunk during the summer of my 18th birthday. I had been invited to hang out with some friends from work, who were old enough to buy. It seemed appropriate to me to hang out with this crowd.

I made it through a six pack of Budweiser with relative ease. My chums were impressed. I didn’t get sick, but I did at least realize that I had reached a stopping point. I had an appropriate buzz, and I was flying.

We ended up going bowling. I don’t recall who drove, but I know it wasn’t me.

A few hours later, sufficiently drunk, still, by this point I called my mom to pick me up.

She knew immediately.

I didn’t drink for a while after that, I felt guilty about upsetting my mom. How much she disapproved. How little she said about it. I didn’t want to make her feel like that, but I constantly remembered how fucking awesome being drunk felt. Being underage made it hard to score anything, and my parents had taken to marking the levels in the liquor bottles after my little escapade.

Luckily for me, my friends encouraged my initiative and within a month an older friend picked up a bottle of vodka for me, which I nestled safely in a desk drawer away from prying parental eyes and nosy siblings.

It was completely justified. A few shots after dad went to bed, while mom was at work; bring back the buzz and then go to sleep. NOBODY had to know. To this day I don’t think they ever realized the long nights in my room, taking shots of Smirnoff,and bringing the empty bottle back to work, hidden in the bottom of my bag with my change of clothes, where I would dispose of the bottle in the empties bin at the bar of the restaurant where I was employed.

The funny thing, I’m realizing 14 years later, is that I was a closet drunk pretty much out of the gate.


Joshua admitted his life had become unmanageable on April 24, 2016. He regularly attends A.A. meetings and by the grace of God, is allowed to pour his heart and soul into co-parenting his three children.