Thursday, October 2, 2014

Confession Time

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.

No more.

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. 


  1. Just remember hitting bottom is the worst point - although it is hard to believe right now (and there will still be bad moments) things can only get better from here. I am now over ten years clean and sober, and believe me I still have my moments - but none of them include the cravings that I once felt I couldn't endure. Yes You Can!! Things do get better, day by day! Thank you so much for sharing, as you said, this is the beginning of recovery! And thank you for the amazing books you have been able to write in spite of it all - may The Darkest Place come easier, and in its own time. Love you, James <3 <3 <3

  2. Thank you for your honesty. It takes a lot of courage to admit you have a problem to yourself, much less the World. You will be in my thoughts and prayers while you fight this for yourself, your family, and your fans. You're a brother Sailor, and I have faith that as hard as it will be, that you will succeed.

  3. Wishing you the best. I can definitely relate. I began my drinking in the military and continued for 10 years after. I have been sober for roughly 17 years and feel great. I look back and wonder how I survived. Some pretty ugly days, hell they were all ugly. I don't miss those days at all. It's going to be rough for awhile but once you get over the hump it will be easier. If you need to chat let me know. Things seem unmanageable you have to let others know. Tough to beat on your own. Good luck my friend. Remember, let me know if you need an ear.

  4. Took some balls and a lot of courage to do what you just did. The hard part, and it will be the hardest, is letting your friends and family help you through this but we know you can do it.

  5. Respect - keep the faith & draw strength from those around you who love and support you. Pay them back by kicking it & sticking around for the good times to come brother.

  6. Recovering alcoholic myself. 17 Months as of Oct. 8 2014. I also drank at Least a 12 pack and a pint a day, usually some rot-gut bottom barrel whiskey or Ginger Brandy. Usually I woukd drink that, not get to where I wanted to be and go get another six pack or pint, yes I would drive and didnt give a shit. I lived this way for seven years, every day. I had always been a drinker, usually just weekend six packs ir a night out with thee guys. Then somthing in my life changed and I went hardcore overnight. Started getting coke for free and my life went to shit. I didnt care about anything except booze and drugs. Pretty much missed the first ten years of my sons lives because I was in a drug or alcoholic haze every day. May 8th 2012 my youngest son came up to me when I was still relitivly sober and asked me "Dad, why do you drink so much?" he was 5. I didnt even think he realized what I was doing. My oldest basically raised his little brother for me as their mother worked nights and I was supposed to be watching them after I got home from work. But I would usually pound down the liquor and beers and pass out, not even knowing or caring if they were fed.
    For some reason that question hit me and stuck and I asked myself the same thing. Why? I didnt know, and still dont really, but I realized that I needed to do something right now. That tear streaked face saved my life, and probabaly some poor bastard that I was going to end up smashing into while on one my drunken "refills".
    I wont lie, it's a struggle everyday. There is hardly a mintue during the day that I dont think about it. But I havnt touched a drop since that night and never will. No AA meetings, no counciling. Just determination to do right for my family and myself. Be strong man. Lean on people when you need to. Admition is the first step and it's a long road ahead. Just stay the course. And if you ever need someone to talk to, feel free to hit me up. I found it was Alot easier to talk to stangers about things than friends and family. And it really helped me to get things straight in my head for when I Did want to talk to them. Sounding boards are awesome. Im proud of you man, even if we dont know each other personally. Addiction is a Very difficult thing to deal with but you family will always love you and be there for you. Now more than ever.

    1. Jeez dude. I thought I was bad off. I actually feel a little better now. :)

      But seriously, I'm glad you cleaned up. Hopefully I can do the same.

  7. I'm one of your original fans and I'm proud of you for making the decision that you need help to stop drinking. I have only wonderful thoughts for you and I care deeply about the quality of your life.

  8. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May God give you the strength to deal with the days ahead. I love reading your books and knowing how they were written makes them that much more remarkable. (they are really VERY good). Take care of yourself and your family and whenever The Darkest Place is finished, I'm sure it will be your best book yet and I'll be one of the first to buy it. God Bless you and your family today and everyday.

  9. James, I know what you are going through because I hit rock bottom this past Saturday and went insane for about 30 minutes. This landed me in jail in a padded cell with 3 felonies and a misdemeanor. I won't go into deep detail but I hurt someone I love and luckily this person forgives me and still loves me which is hard to believe. I started treatment on Tuesday and Start A.A. meetings tonight. I started drinking when I was 21 as well and had my life "under control" until recently (straight liquor). I feel for you man so take your time and do what you have to for YOU. Best wishes, Casey

  10. Wow, first time I visit your blog and get a big does of honesty! God bless and good luck getting sober Mr. Cook.

  11. Semper Fi Brother...It won't be easy but then nothing worth doing ever is.

  12. Took a great deal of courage to tackle your situation like this, couldn't think of a better way. Get well soon and will be looking forward to all your work to come.

  13. James... saw your Facebook post and came here to read the comments. I am also a recovering alcoholic.I got sober when I was 23 and have been clean and sober for 24 years. Just wanted to tell you that there is a life without alcohol (or drugs) and for me it is better than I ever thought possible. I am still active in my recovery and spend a lot of time with guys getting sober. I am sharing this to give you some perspective. As much as what you are going through sucks is it actually a beautiful thing. Why? because it has created opportunity. What you do with that opportunity is up to you but it is there. If you ever want to talk to someone in recovery just reach out to me anytime night or day. Not sure how that would work in a blog post :) but I think if you respond here I get notified via e-mail. Would just need a way to get you my phone number. Bottom line... you are not alone and my personal experience is that getting sober alone is tough. Peace.
    Jon P.

  14. It must’ve been difficult for you to share your experience, James. However, having the courage to tell the darker side of you is a good start. The reason is that it makes you realize all the mistakes and regret that have manifested in you. It’s never easy to admit to yourself the struggles you've been through. That’s why it helps to take things one at a time, until you’re finally free from the destruction that alcohol has caused you. Wish you all the best!

    Donnie Benson @ Midwest Institute

  15. Dude you're awesome, get healthy and be happy Damnit! I LOVE your books and support you from the land of 10,000 lakes!

  16. My brother was an alcoholic. My entire life. He didn't consider beer a "drink" Your confession sounds like the conversation I had with him a week before his liver failed at 50. On his death bed. The first time he EVER admitted it. For him it was too late. His oldest daughter got sober 1.5 years ago now. She is doing fantastic. She started sneaking drunks obscenely young.
    My point. Huge congrats for the first step. Admitting it to yourself. I wish you all the success in the world. I have enjoyed your writing. I look forward to more of your stories. I truly appreciate your perspective on the potentials of the future.

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  18. Wow Mr. Cook how incredibly brave you are to take this step!!!!! You should be so proud of yourself. Knowing you have a problem and admitting it is one thing but taking action, being accountable for your self, asking for help and trying to do something about it is a whole different ball game. I love your writing and have admired it (and I am a complete z-fiction junkie) so it takes a lot to impress me which you have done, but now not only do I admire the series but the author as well!!! Stay strong and when it seems like a day is too hard break to get through break it down. As someone told me when I was at one of the lowest points of my life and didn't know how I could get through a day..... She said don't get through the day get through an hour and if that's too hard get through the next minute. I will never forget that advise. Because of her I made it through many minutes and then many more hours and then through days!!!! So just take it minute by minute and then by the hour and then when you can by the day one small step at a time!!!!!