My name is James Nathaniel Cook, and I am an alcoholic.
There. I said it.
I’m not talking about a ‘have a few beers before bed’ kind of problem, either. I’m talking about a ‘drink an entire liter of hard liquor a day’ kind of problem. Seriously. About a liter.
Every. Single. Day. Sometimes more. Can’t remember the last day I didn’t.
Let that sink in.
The last couple of weeks, I have been having my first drink at around 10:30 in the morning, and I’m usually passed out in my armchair by 1:00 PM. I wake up hungover, I drink water and tea to get functional, and after dinner, I start up again until I pass out. For the second time in a day. Usually before nine PM.
I haven’t written a word of new material for The Darkest Place in nearly two weeks. I’ve been too drunk. That is the real reason it is taking so long. Hell, that’s the reason all my books take so long. It’s hard to write when you’re so inebriated you can barely string a sentence together.
I didn’t get here overnight. I think I became addicted to alcohol at the age of 21. For a long time there, I could maintain. I could work. I was functional. But I can’t tell you how many times I went to work hungover. I should have been fired a hundred times over from every job I ever worked. It’s a wonder I never was. Maybe I just showed up resembling a pile of hammered dog shit so many times they just figured that was how I looked. Kind of pathetic when you think about it.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not looking for sympathy here. I did this to myself. I’ve spent the better part of 13 years in the bottle, and I have no one to blame but myself. It’s my own fault things have gotten this bad.
What I’m looking for here is accountability. Sooner or later, all my family and friends are going to see this, and the secret will be out. Once I post this, there is no going back. If I’m honest, I think I’m just tired of trying to hide it. I simply do not care about keeping up appearances anymore.
I have had many successes in my life. I served my country for six years with honor and distinction, and I have the service record and medals to prove it. I am the first person in my family to earn a bachelor’s degree (finance major, just in case you were wondering). I have a wife who loves me, two beautiful children, and plenty of people in my life who care about me.
Nonetheless, I feel like a failure.
I failed my family. I failed my friends. I failed you, my beloved readers. But the thing about failure is you can learn from it. You can choose a different path. For too many years of my life, I have walked the path of anger and depression and addiction.
I cannot live like this. It’s not a life. It’s barely an existence, and unless I make some serious changes, I won’t even have that. I’ll be dead before I’m forty.
I turned 34 years old last month. I don’t know how many years I have left. Maybe forty, maybe five, maybe a few days. But for whatever time I remain on this Earth, I refuse to spend it as a useless drunk. My family, and friends, and you readers who have given me the career I always wanted, you all deserve better from me.
And by God, I intend to make it happen.
I’m in a pretty low place right now. I woke up at three in the morning last night from alcohol withdrawal, shaking like a leaf in the wind, and I knew I was in trouble. All I wanted to do was have a drink. So instead, I stumbled downstairs on shaky legs because I haven’t been eating lately because my stomach can’t handle it, and I got every bottle of booze in the house and poured it down the fucking sink. Then I went upstairs and woke my wife up and told her I needed help. She’s staying home with me today.
The withdrawal is pretty terrible right now. My hands are shaking badly as I type this. But I know I can get through it. It’s easy when you don’t have a choice.
And that’s why I am posting this. I want everyone in my life who has ever given a rat’s ass about my existence to know what I’m going through and hold me responsible for fixing it. I’ve let a lot of people down, but I will do everything I can to make it right.
We all make mistakes. We all strive and fail. I'm no better than anyone else. Being willing to admit it is the first step to correcting the problem.
I may be down, but I’m not out. Not by a long shot; I have too much to live for. I’m going to take some time and get myself sober and functional again, and then I’ll work on picking up the other pieces of my life. I probably won’t get much writing done, so as far as a release date for The Darkest Place, you’re just going to have to be patient with me. I want to make it the best book I can, but that’s not going to happen if I spend most of every day drunk off my ass.
Enough is enough. I’m going to beat this thing. I’ll post again when I’m feeling a little stronger.
Wish me luck. And as always, thank you.