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A photograph of a small, red toy sportscar next to a glass of brown alcohol. The red car is being blocked by a small toy police car.

Alcoholism: From the Perspective of the Alcoholic, Interview 2

addiction alcoholism dui Feb 06, 2024

By Kidra Avery, CSUCI Service Learning student.

This interview was conducted in person at the participant’s home. I received verbal consent from Andrew, the interviewee. Andrew is 27 years old and works as a barista at a local coffee shop. He and I met in high school and played on the men’s and women’s water polo teams both at our high school and local junior college. It was a beautiful sunny California day so we sat in the backyard. We started the interview at about 1pm on October 16th. 

He started drinking when he was about 22 years old, and he would only drink alone. He’d buy small personal bottles and drink alone every once in a while. I asked him if he noticed a change in his drinking patterns; when it went from fun to a necessity. Hindsight is 20/20, so thinking back to when he started drinking to now, he noticed a difference which he hadn’t noticed before.

His definition of “alcoholic/alcoholism” is one that he had to pause and ponder for a moment since it’s not something he’d put into his own words prior to this interview. His definition is, “Probably somebody who starts to experience negative long-term effects from it. Whether it be withdrawals, or maybe it’s taking over more important priorities in life.” He described priorities as being work, having car trouble, etc. Basically, drinking goes from something fun that alleviates stress from everyday tasks to the stressful thing that doesn’t allow you to complete tasks. 

Andrew’s first and only DUI was received in December 2019. He was out bar hopping with his boyfriend, his boyfriend’s sister, and a mutual friend. The night was extremely fun and they were ready to head home by the time the bars were closing (2am), so their friend drove them all to his house. The logic utilized, which is logic I’ve heard multiple times, was “he was the most sober out of the group so he’s the one that drove.” Finding an Uber that late at night is like finding a needle in a haystack. Once their friend had dropped himself off, Andrew got back into the driver’s seat and took the remainder of the group to his own house to spend the night there. They made it to the intersection before his house… “and that’s when I got pulled over and it happened” (he shuffles in his chair). He struggled to talk about his experience and didn’t feel comfortable sharing his blood alcohol concentration (BAC). He stated, “umm, it was high.” The breathalyzer test was given after he failed the physical test which consisted of: standing on one foot, walking in a straight line with one foot directly in front of the other, following a pen with only your eyes and a few other things not mentioned. Needless to say, he was arrested and spent the night in jail. 

His case was reviewed and he was given a misdemeanor, which is pricey, but not as pricey as felonies. His drivers license is revoked until he finishes his SR22 classes which are 9 months long. He has 1 class per week for the duration of 2 hours. It costs $25 per absence, and he can only miss 7 classes in total, or he has to start the entire process over from scratch, which he has already done once due to scheduling issues at work. It’s about $4,000 in fees total for the court fees and class. 

At this point in time, he does consider himself an alcoholic. If there was one thing that he could tell the people who are struggling with this in life, “I would say to like, not make compromises with [addiction]. Cause looking back, once you start doing something you always end up doing more of it and then once it becomes a problem you start making excuses for it and start compromising. People get withdrawals like, ‘Oh I’ll just have a shot or two and just go about my day, that’s what I need’ and you kinda just start getting worse.” 

Alcoholism runs in his family on his mother’s side. He didn’t grow up much around his father who wasn’t much of a drinker. But his mother enjoys drinking wine often and drank around him in his youth and today. We discussed the statistics I found while typing up my first interview about the likelihood of males becoming alcoholics when raised by alcoholic fathers. 

I brought up the fact that my parent is a recovering alcoholic, 26 years sober, and my hesitation of looking up the statistics of women who have alcoholic parents. He told me I should do it, to which I responded by giggling off the suggestion. I suppose I’m afraid to find out that I too should not be drinking alcohol for the simple fact that it is a dangerous substance mixed with the age-old ascribed identifier of “harmful substance.” My biggest fear is having to call myself an alcoholic because I don’t want to identify as such. And no one wants to be the one that sits in the stereotypical room with people who look like they stopped paying attention to their clothing style when they started drinking, standing in front of them saying, “Hi, I’m Kidra, I’m an alcoholic,” to which the room sings in unison, “Hi Kidra” and that’s your cue to share your shitty stories of why you’re no longer “allowed” to drink along with all the reasons you wanted to drink earlier in the day. I suppose it would have been smarter for me not to start, since I know both sides of my family have alcoholics and heavy drinkers. And now that I’ve had this conversation I must ask myself, am I making excuses? 

Andrew says that he still has random cravings for alcohol from time to time. Game of Thrones is a trigger for him along with a couple of other shows. It was one of those fun pastimes that he enjoyed coming home to which no longer gives the same kind of gratification it used to. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, visit for resources in Ventura County.