#3. "Here's my fuckin' gut difference."
Day 29. On the very first video, I drunkenly pulled up my shirt and displayed my beer gut to the world. It wasn't massive like the ones you see littering a TNA Impact wrestling audience, but it was the biggest my body had ever produced, and I was interested to know if it would go away once I stopped drinking.
It did! In 29 days, I had lost 30 pounds without changing my daily routine.
No additional exercise, no special foods, no cocaine. I just cut out the beer, and a month later I was down to my normal size again. Sadly, my penis never lost the weight. It's embarrassing sometimes because it's hard to find normal sized pants with extra crotch. You have to special order them.
#2. "I think I've gotten 500 private messages from people, saying thank you ..."
This video is 405 days after the first one, but looks like it's five years later. Or a different person.
Before you ask, yes, at the end I mentioned that I was going to use the same method to quit smoking. It lasted a few months. That'll have to be the subject of a separate piece down the road.
Anyway, in the intervening period between this video and the last, I had lost my job at the truck washing place I kept mentioning, due to a back problem. That could have been disaster (chronic pain plus endless spare time plus substance abuse = what killed my dad before he was 50). Instead, I channeled that energy to writing comedy.
I have a friend on the editorial team here at Cracked, which would normally be an advantage... except that he also knew I was a drunk. He would previously have never allowed me anywhere near the operation out of a fear that I'd wind up sending a late-night drunken rant to all of his bosses. But that path was cleared thanks to the year of sobriety under my belt and the shocking realization that it's actually way easier to research an article without beer molecules clogging up the brain cells. I used to write a few articles a year; now I found I could hammer out polished work at the rate of one piece a week, if not more.
And people were actually reading them.
Already I was making as much money from that as I had at my old (shitty) job. Then as I wrote more articles and honed my skills, I was given more behind the scenes work including a permanent layout position. That put me ahead of the game, and a few months later, we were able to finally move out of that sardine can of an apartment we lived in (I'll get to that in a minute).
At the time I made that video, about one year ago, I was finally feeling like an adult. After 36 years of drunkenness and poverty and turmoil and depression and even homelessness, my long broken childhood was finally coming to a close.
Yes, I still had cravings from time to time. Yes, there were days that I struggled. But I was still clean, and that sobriety was what landed me my career. Before, the booze took precedence over everything. It demanded my full attention. At this point, my life was my own -- I called the fucking shots.
#1. "Occasionally I'll go into the local library or grocery store and just pick a fight ..."
Yep, this one is filmed with an actual camera instead of a shitty webcam. So you know something has paid off! Also, I have a slicked back ponytail because at this point, I ran my own mafia.
Finally, we were able to move out of that one bedroom apartment where all of my other videos were shot. To give you an idea of how big of a transition this was, everything in our old apartment was crammed in so tight that we literally didn't have enough room to buy anything else. Like if we picked up an additional dining chair, we couldn't put it in any room because it would have blocked off a walking path ... and since there were only four rooms in the entire place, every walking path led to something important. Stove, bed, bathroom, fridge.
Knowing that, imagine this: when we moved, everything we owned could be fit comfortably into the new house's living room. Beds and all. Everything.
I know I make the jokes about being rich in that video, but don't let that undermine what we actually did accomplish. We're normal people now. With a middle class income instead of the soul crushing poverty that I endured for thirty-five years. I'm able to give my kids an environment that my parents never could -- a peaceful, clean place with their own bedrooms, a yard and a nice neighborhood. I have all the comedy work I can handle, I'm writing a book, I'm planning a wedding ...
I'm healthy for the first time in over two decades. I'm in a relationship that isn't volatile and destructive. I'm working a job full of professional people who truly appreciate the part I play. I'm ... normal.
Not everyone who drinks has a problem, I know that. But I'm telling you that if you do have a problem, you're not doomed. I escaped. So can you.
For more Cheese, check out The Top 10 Celebrity Sex Videos Nobody Wanted to See and 5 Things Nobody Tells You About Quitting Drinking.