"Back in the Day"

Writing about Brian last week got me thinking about all the drinking we did in our younger days. God we were drinking fools! If I had a nickel for every bottle or can of Budweiser we consumed I could probably retire! We definitely overindulged and loved every minute of it! Consuming mass quantities of beer was what we enjoyed doing and we did it well!
Unfortunately Brian  went on to become an alcoholic, a battle he fought for the remainder of his life. But I can’t be held responsible, nor my friends.  Those of us who hung around with Bri may be guilty of having  handed him his first few cans of Bud, but believe me, no one twisted his arm, he was a willing participant as were the rest of us.
Brian’s real problem began when he was drafted and sent to Germany. It was not a pleasant experience for him. In Germany his loneliness and longing for home, drove him to drink. Occasionally he would mail me ‘party’ cassettes that can only be described as the ramblings of a drunk. I could understand his friends well enough but I could barely understand a word of Brian’s. It was usually just a slur of what sounded like words and gales of laughter. Pretty sad.
By the time he returned home he was already an alcoholic. It was all downhill from there.
I suppose more of us could have fallen victim to alcohol. Back in the day we were all abusing it. There were a couple of other friends who like Brian, ended up being marked for life. One died about ten years ago of cirrhosis of the liver. The other has had bouts with alcohol, and drugs, cleaned up for a few years then went back to alcohol. His wife recently left him due to his alcohol consumption. He drinks a six pack or two daily, but he’ll be the first to tell you he doesn’t have a drinking problem.
Then there is my brother, like Brian, his problem was chronic, both had early onset of drinking and alcohol problems. Both suffered from depression and anxiety disorders, both had a high dependency on drugs, prescribed and otherwise, and sadly both are dead.
All that drinking we did back in the day, the recreational drugs, the parties, the late nights, the carefree lifestyle, well that was then and this is now. What we did and who we were then, is in the past and should stay there.
The whole purpose of the Life experience is the pursuit of wisdom. As a means to this end we should then experience life, analyze and grow.  We should learn from the experiences of the past, good or bad, and move forward. We shouldn’t get caught in a moment, and keep reliving those experiences, they should not define us. We need to be fearless and relentless in our pursuit of wisdom and search for truth.
Brian tried and was successful for twenty plus years to put the past in perspective and was moving forward before circumstance caused him to fall back to his old ways. My brother was only marginally successful . His journey was more of a roller coaster ride of highs and lows through most of his life. His longest period of growth was perhaps five years. Sadly he didn’t have the strength to leave his past behind him. Alcohol was his crutch, it carried him through the difficult times. Eventually it was alcohol itself that brought about and prolonged those difficult times, and made each day an unbearable hell for him.
I pray for my brothers Ted and Brian, but I also pray for we the living, that we may find the strength to face the challenges of everyday and move forward on our life long journey without having to relying on anything, but the Grace of God to carry us through…

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