Some of my earliest childhood memories included drinking alcohol. I remember my dad asking me to bring him a beer when I was quite small, only a few years old. I remember asking for a sip and sometimes he would let me have a sip. We had big picnics with kegs on tap either at our backyard or at a variety of clubs where my parents belonged. I remember distinctly at about 8-9 years old going to my grandmother’s home Christmas Eve. There was a large group of relatives, all the adults were in the living room and the kids were in the kitchen. I kept seeing dad and others getting something out from under the cabinet. Always the risk taker, I went to see what they were drinking and added some to my soft drink. By the time we went home, when I went to bed the room began to spin and I threw up. Dad asked me what I had to drink and I said, whatever you guys had under the cabinet.
Later in high school more of the same. By Junior High School we learned to steal our parents liquor and fill the bottles with water. By High School we were hard at it. We didn’t drink socially, we did it only for the buzz. There were many nights I stayed at a friend’s house so not to go home drunk. I always loved the buzz, always enjoyed mind altering substances.
At 21, married two years and a marriage that was sinking, I came to know the Lord. Gayle and I began attending an ultra conservative church. I stopped drinking totally. No alcohol crossed my lips from ages 21-47. Gayle and I decided on occasion if we wanted to have a glass of wine with a meal it was no big deal.
At age 50 we moved to Florida and a year later I began my career in the natural gas world. The corporate world is full of opportunities to drink. Happy hours, conferences, etc. My drinking began to increase. I went from an occasional drink with my wife to several a day. I allowed myself to cross the line more times than I care to admit here. I was always concerned about what others thought of me so many times my drinking would be in private. What we do in private ultimately leaks out into the public. I’ve had some events where I publicly drank way too much even though my intentions were only to have two drinks. The problem grew enough so, I decided it was time to do something about it. I went and talked with some of our church staff, but then also went to speak with a counseling service our company provides.
The counselor had a fancy title like, I am an episodic misuser of alcohol? Basically, he said, that used to be called a binge drinker. Once I become aware of the problem then I became responsible to correct it.
I’ve read those who abuse alcohol have two common traits, a mental obsession and a physical craving. For me, that looks like this, Gayle and me going out to eat and she looks at the food menu and asks me what I’m going to eat, but I haven’t looked at the food menu, I’m looking at the drink menu! We go on a big vacation and Gayle is organizing the food, clothes etc. but I am saying, I will run to the ABC Fine Wine and Liquor store and make sure I have everyone’s favorite beverage. That is the mental obsession. The physical craving is what happens after you have one or two drinks. Gayle can drink part of a glass of wine and be satisfied. Once I begin to drink my middle name could be “Scott One More Ranck.” As long as I can remember even if I only had one drink, I wanted more! Much like a person who intends to have a bite or two of ice cream and eats the entire half-gallon and wonders how it happened.
I promised the Lord a long time ago I would share whatever He is teaching me no matter how humbling. I have to believe He will use this not only to help me but to help others as well! The journey continues.