I Drank Apple Juice At My Wedding
Guilt is a big part of my life now.
I feel guilty for falling asleep and snoring at my daughter, Sarah’s, first piano recital when she was 7 years old and getting thrown out of the church. I feel guilty for not taking my son to a baseball game because I was too hungover to go and told him I was “sick” and still went out later and got hammered again. I feel guilty for urinating all over myself at a Chicago Mercantile Exchange sponsored Cubs game outing and telling my daughter that it had “rained” during the game when I stumbled home. I feel guilty for putting my parents through HUNDREDS of days and nights wondering if I was EVER going to get home, or wondering which bus stop or park bench they had to GUESS that I was sleeping on, or which area hospital they had to pick me up from after getting treated for stitches, or wondering whose house they had to pick me up from and carry me out the door from, or wondering if their son was going to make it through the night ALIVE.
It is funny when you are young you truly think that you are invincible. Nothing that you do can hurt you. You can drink as much as you want and you know that somehow you will get home and you will never get hurt and you will never die. Only as a parent do you realize and truly fear what can happen to your children when they are “out there” as they say in AA.
My parents were the nicest people in the entire world. They did not deserve the torture that I put these poor Peruvians through. I gave NO FUCK when it came to them. I didn’t give it a single thought growing up. ALL I wanted to do was get fucked up. Once that little seed is planted in your head, it takes your life over.
I suppose that it really isn’t your fault if you believe in the “disease” part of the alcoholism. But you certainly have that CHOICE. You do not have to go out. You can stay home. You can be with your children or you can stay with your wife. However, when you are in that situation that you feel that urge, there really is NO CHOICE. You just do it. It is a very weird sensation that you cannot control, or at least you feel that you cannot control.
There was only ONE day that I recall in my “drinking history” that I made a conscious decision not to drink and stood by it. I drank apple juice on October 5, 1991 - my wedding day. I love the taste of apple juice. Deep down in my heart, maybe I was aware that I was an alcoholic. I hated the taste of alcohol, yet I would think nothing of drinking 12 to 18 beers in a single sitting. I especially hated the taste of beer.
I really enjoyed going through my parents wedding albums from the year 1960. The expressions on people’s faces were priceless. The whole world seemed like such a happy place. The black and white pictures in the church mesmerized me. Their wedding was magical. It was something that I wanted to replicate.
I remember not wanting to embarrass my children or myself when people saw OUR wedding album. Maybe way back then I recognized my alcoholism, maybe for even ONE day, and did something about it. I have never gone back and regretted that day and said “Damn, I wish I would have gotten fucked up that day.”
I chose to drink apple juice that entire day and the entire night. I did not have one drop of alcohol on my wedding day. I equated alcohol with BAD and apple juice with GOOD. This was the most important day of my life and I wanted it to be good. I knew that we would have children one day and I did not want to think their Dad was a drunk and BAD.
Letter to my children:
Your dad is an alcoholic. Your dad is a drunk. He just wasn’t drunk on his wedding day.
I am truly sorry that I wasn’t the man of father that I should have been through all of those years when you were growing up. I wish I would have had the same thought process when you guys were growing up that I had on my wedding day.
Sarah, I am so sorry I fell asleep during your first piano recital and got kicked out of the church, I am so sorry for throwing your cupcake in the parking lot of my high school because you were scared of a costume. I am so sorry for being a drunk Cookie Monster during your 2nd birthday party.
Eddie, I am so sorry for not going to enough baseball games with you. I am so sorry for not helping you with your homework. I am so sorry for going out drinking after you begged me to stay home.
Isabelle, I am sorry that I fell asleep during your gymnastics meets. I am sorry for driving you around drunk on many occasions. I could have killed you. I am sorry.
Teacy, I am sorry that I was a shitty husband and drank my way through the marriage. You deserved better.
I drank apple juice at my wedding. At least there isn’t an embarrassing story about my wedding.
Good thinking, Eddie.