After a frightening, near-death experience, a semireformed drinker reviews his life.
Everett began writing what would become his debut memoir in fall 2015. A massive gastrointestinal attack landed him in the emergency room. Surgery for a torn esophagus and a stint in the ICU followed. It was a wake-up call to the damage he had inflicted upon his body during almost 40 years of copious drinking. The work is a way of coming to terms with “a lifetime of abuse, wrongdoings and bad decisions” and an attempt to find a more balanced path in the future. It all began the summer before Everett entered seventh-grade. The youngest of three boys, he was with his middle brother, Craig, and a friend when he had his first beer— actually, his first four beers. And it was the first time he became drunk. Now 50, he can look back at four beers as child’s play. The early part of the book recounts episodes from his middle school and high school years, pranks and escapades that make him laugh even today—all of them infused with alcohol (usually beer). He explains: “My alcoholism has never been about a ‘woe is me’ mantra. Instead, it has been about being super-charged and revved up with a ‘Hell yeah’ attitude. I love the high, I love the sense of invincibility it provides, and I love the inhibitions that are lost when I am loaded. I just love it.” In adulthood, vodka, wine, and occasionally bourbon became additional favorites. Vodka, evidently, works particularly well on road trips. It is discouraging to read how often he drove while drinking mega-cups of vodka (the way most people drink coffee), although he maintains that he was always a cautious driver when he was drunk. Readers should be prepared for overly explicit descriptions of gastric episodes and a heavy dose of vulgar, frat-boy language. Nevertheless, the author clearly expresses optimism about the journey ahead: “For the first time since I can remember, I actually like myself, and that’s a damn good thing.” But he still drinks, albeit less. This frank, detailed work may find a receptive audience among those facing similar battles.
A candid, if coarse, memoir chronicles one man’s struggles with alcohol.