After The Last Guest

I was addicted

November 17, 2020 Davron Bowman Season 1 Episode 2
After The Last Guest
I was addicted
Chapters
After The Last Guest
I was addicted
Nov 17, 2020 Season 1 Episode 2
Davron Bowman

What's the difference between a passionate, highly-skilled, incredible craftsman-
and an alcoholic?

Not much if you're a bartender.

Not much if you're in the restaurant industry at all.

Join me, ATLG podcast host - Davron Bowman as I open up to reveal my past struggles with drugs and alcohol.

Together- in a judgement-free, understanding community- we'll find the strength and courage to open a discussion about one of the most delicate, yet powerful topics in our industry...

ADDICTION

Where is the line drawn between addict and passionate mixologist?

Is frequent drug use really that bad for you?

Why is it so hard to openly, honestly and seriously talk about drug and alcohol addiction in our industry?

What has to change if we're to conquer our addictions....and what happens during....after?

It isn't easy. It isn't a happy, proud thing to talk about when we get right down to it. But until we conquer our fears, no change can be made. 

Find a quiet spot for this one. Tune in, listen, contribute, share. I understand it's a tough thing to discuss-

So I'll go first. 

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/atlg)

Show Notes Transcript

What's the difference between a passionate, highly-skilled, incredible craftsman-
and an alcoholic?

Not much if you're a bartender.

Not much if you're in the restaurant industry at all.

Join me, ATLG podcast host - Davron Bowman as I open up to reveal my past struggles with drugs and alcohol.

Together- in a judgement-free, understanding community- we'll find the strength and courage to open a discussion about one of the most delicate, yet powerful topics in our industry...

ADDICTION

Where is the line drawn between addict and passionate mixologist?

Is frequent drug use really that bad for you?

Why is it so hard to openly, honestly and seriously talk about drug and alcohol addiction in our industry?

What has to change if we're to conquer our addictions....and what happens during....after?

It isn't easy. It isn't a happy, proud thing to talk about when we get right down to it. But until we conquer our fears, no change can be made. 

Find a quiet spot for this one. Tune in, listen, contribute, share. I understand it's a tough thing to discuss-

So I'll go first. 

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/atlg)

My name is Davron Bowman


at the time of this recording on November 17, 2020, I am 32 years old. 


In my lifetime I've done cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, (the Kentucky versions, so definitely laced with

opioids, meth, heroin, and ketamine) 


I've done DMT, acid, mushrooms, molly, the other kinda molly… the other kind of molly. 


and am still a recreational marijuana user. 


From the ages of 23-27 I was, by all technical definition an alcoholic, and during that time was also a relatively frequent drug user. 


I'm beginning this episode of ATLG in this manner because I want to make it clear that I'm not here to judge. 


I'm not here to tell you that you have a problem, or that drugs are horrible, to stay away from them, or that drinking will ruin your life.


I'm not here to preach sobriety. 


I'm here to advocate for proper self-care, honest communication, self-evaluations, and personal moderation. 


For some of us that might mean complete sobriety from some or all substances. 


For others, it simply means regulation.  


It’s different, for each of us. 


And because of that, I'm simply here to share my story and open up a conversation on the topic we all tend to avoid. 


I want to open the discussion because I personally feel that the way the subject of addiction is approached or, for the most part, avoided, is complete and utter bullshit. 


Especially in the restaurant industry where it’s dismissed, shamed, dealt with inappropriately, or just excused. An industry where 99% of life’s problems can be solved if you just can handle another shot.. or make it to the bottom of that bottle. 




I mean, in a sense… addiction is pretty much a standard requirement for most of us who excel in the industry, right?


Every day, we’re mixing drinks, tasting for accuracy, tasting a glass of wine or the newest cocktail before our shift starts. How the fuck else are we going to explain it to a table. 


And there’s really nothing more satisfying than chillin out with the squad, and sippin on an ice-cold beer after working a Kids Eat Free, BOGO, 20% off coupon filled double.


There’s nothing more fun than heading to late-night volleyball, kick-ball, dodgeball - getting completely hammered and giving the other D league contenders all you’ve got. 


I use to love that shit. Strollin into the local dives, throwin down a shot of 151, chasing it with another shot and a beer. Stepping out on to volleyball courts as the shots set in and the cool night air hit me and created this perfect harmony of warm, and cold and happy and detached. 


I was the guy who couldn’t wait to get my 6-day bartending workweek over with, so I could spend my one day off brunching, cooking, inviting friends and family over to mix cocktails, chill around a bonfire, play games, celebrate,, visit our other friends stuck at work to give them shit and hopefully get free booze… just blowing off steam, trying to forget about this week's shitty guests. 


I'd stroll into a Sunday morning shift, fresh off a blunt, and make the best bloody Mary for myself as I opened the bar. My large styrofoam cup in plain view, clearly marked with my name- uncontested, open knowledge to everyone. 


I was never drunk at work...not too drunk.. You know what I mean- and we all know that when you play by the Golden Rules in the industry, - Don’t drink too much, not in front of the customers, and in most cases write that shit down in the waste log so at least it doesn’t fuck up count… you’re good. 


Besides. The managers we’re drinking. Staff was drinking, kitchen was drinking. We’re all high. Some of us on Marijuana, some of us blatantly on… other things.  And I mean, with the amount of shit we all put up with on a daily basis… didn’t we kinda deserve to be. I mean oftentimes that little on-shift sip or puff is the only thing keeping us from flipping our shit on Kyle and Karen and their 18 little badass kids. 


I was the guy who would study bartending religiously both at work and outside of it. I wanted to be amazing at it. I thought mixology was such a beautiful craft, and I still do.  


I wanted to move up, I wanted to make more money. I wasn’t an alcoholic, I was a craftsman, alcohol, and the consumption or alcohol was my livelihood. 


The cocaine… that was just to get me through. It wasn’t daily, weekly, even monthly. But when you’re balancing 2, sometimes 3 jobs.. When you’re working 85-90 hours a week to make ends meet. When you’re on your 5th double of the week in a row, sometimes you just need a little boost right. 


It was an easy justification.. I rarely ever second-guessed it on the way to the bathroom at work, my dollar bill, or shortened drink straw in hand. 


When it came to the molly and acid, and shrooms. I didn’t do them often. Only at festivals, and during the occasional house get-together. I loved the feeling. I loved being spaced out, I loved the visuals, you know… the peanut butter vibes,  


I loved being able to feel the vibrations of the universe, music, and those I loved flowing through me. And I wasn’t going to the festivals just to do drugs! It was about the music. About my friends. About relaxing.


Tripping, made me feel confident. Free. Motivated and connected. 


Molly, made me feel less like an introvert. It made me feel accepted, understanding, empathetic- less inhibited and more open-minded….. in bed. 


I loved drugs. I admitted it. 


Admitting is easy.  We literally do it all the time. It’s a fucking running joke in the industry. 


I’m an alcoholic. I do way too many drugs… I’ve done way too many drugs, maybe I should stop doing drugs for a sec.


I’ve lost count of all the mornings I use to wake up and say “Today is going to be different”, or “No Drugs Today”..... Only to step into work and get royally shit on and demeaned for 10+ hours… Let me tell ya, after a shift like that it’s super easy to just say “Fuck it” knock back a shot or five, and worry about it tomorrow. 


I loved drinking. I admit it. 


But I wasn’t going to admit to being an addict. 


I would. If I was.. But am I.. really? I’ve never injected a drug into my body. Never parachuted it. I’ve never stolen money or robbed anyone for drugs.


 I’ve never stolen someone’s drugs, never asked anyone in my family for money to support the habit. It’s just a recreational thing, something I could enjoy on the really good weeks when the guests were dining on company credit cards and the tips+autograt were flowing!


When I’m broke, I don’t even think about drugs, I don’t spend money on them. I focus and take care of the roof over my head. I work hard!


I’m not broke from doing drugs and alcohol. I pay my bills. I take care of my shit.


I don’t have any savings.. I’m a little behind on a couple of things.. But that’s because work’s been slow.. And as soon as it slowed down, I slowed down on smoking.. I bought bottles for home instead of going out and spending a ton. Drugs and alcohol are definitely not causing me money problems. 



I'm not a fuckin addict- It’d be easy to admit if I was...I mean what’s the actual definition of an addict. 


According to the Merriam Webster dictionary… the act of being addicted means to be physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects.


So I’m definitely not an addict then.. Right? No adverse effects. I’m not broke because of my drinking and drug use. I can stop at any time. I actually take weeks off every now and again to completely detox and stay off of drugs.. I haven’t hurt anyone around me, I haven’t forced drugs on anyone. 


And publicly I don’t even do much other than drink and stay high on weed. If I’m doing other drugs, it’s with people I trust.. I’m responsible, I stay hydrated, I don’t do too much.. I keep an eye on everyone. 


I’m not blackout hammered every night. It’s just a few drinks. Just a little buzz. 


I’m definitely… not.. An addict… If I was.. it ‘d be easy to admit..


And the molly and acid.. I’m not addicted to them. There are no adverse effects! I just really like them occasionally. It puts me in touch with this deeper part of me. It makes me less reserved, less shy, more confident, less restricted than normal me ever is.


I mean.. Ok.. so maybe during my detox, I had just one tiny shot… Or maybe I said fuck it and just had a tiny sip of wine… ok, so in reality.. If we’re being super technical and counting little sips, and tastes to make sure my drinks are on point at work… maybe I haven’t been a day without a drink in….awhile 


But I mean it’s work, and it’s fun, and it’s what we do, and wtf else is there to do after I clock out. Who else am I suppose to hang out with, nobody else works these fucking hours. My crew is my everything, and I can have fun and do drugs and…..


Other people do way worse drugs, and way way more often than me! I’d never be like them! They’re ruining their lives. I literally can stop whenever. I have!


There is a huuuuuuuuge difference.


It’s just a little stress relief, it’s really not a big deal. 


Why… am I getting frustrated, and upset right now?


Why… am I  trying to justify this….


I’m not an addict…… am I?


Maybe admitting addiction… isn’t that easy…? 


FUCK THAT! I AM NOT AN ADDICT. I CAN PROVE IT


I said those words to myself one morning and was committed to breaking the habit. 


I wasn’t a heavy user, so there were no extreme withdrawal symptoms. No seizures or hallucinations, no vomiting or cold-sweats at night. 


Nothing.


I mean maybe a little insomnia, but I could never fucking sleep anyways. Aside from that.. .


Nothing. I can’t even begin to imagine what those things would feel like. 


And my heart goes out to those who’ve gone through rough detoxes. 


And I want to take moment to specifically say that, if you’re someone who has, or is about to experience that/ I want you to know that I’m 100% fucking proud of you for respecting yourself and everyone around you enough to endure something like that. 


Back to my story- I pulled away from the drugs and booze, no real crazy side effects, no horrible drain. Nothing. 


Got a decent night's sleep.


I remember waking up the next morning after my big decision to go completely sober. First thought was -no drinking-


I remember. Walking down the stairs... 


Excited. Feeling good. Feeling blessed never stressed. 


Heading to the kitchen. Pouring a huge glass of OJ… put the OJ back in the fridge.

 

And


….Why did I grab this bottle? Looking down at a bottle of gin now in hand. I just told myself 15 minutes ago I wasn’t going to drink today.. 


I set the gin down. 


Muscle memory I guess. Just a...habit. 


Hmmm… this orange juice.. doesn’t seem as exciting now. And you know I’m lying here because orange juice is fucking delicious with or without alcohol and I still chugged the shit out of the glass I poured. But I did so with a heavy heart


And then. In a very real way


….the weight of that action..and my mindset.. hit me in a way I'll never forget. 


I was so embarrassed. Embarrassed that I had been drinking so regularly, that my morning felt instantly lesser. Embarrassed that I instinctively grabbed for a bottle. And was kinda upset that I couldn’t pour myself a drink. 


Adverse effects. 


It’s funny. How if you’ve been drinking and partying for a very long time. A lot of things in life get ignored. 


And when you stop drinking. When you’re sitting there in silence in the middle of your living room on awA A Monday Afternoon.. all of those ignored things come up… kinda all at once. 


And that’s what happened. the reality of the world and my life, crashed down upon me, overwhelming my mind in the most inexplicable ways. 


Adverse effect. 


I could really use a drink. 


But I can’t. 


It was at that moment. I realized. I was an addict. Not to drinking. Not drugs. But to anything that could distract me.. from feeling. 


Addicted to anything that would keep me comfortable, protect me. 


Addicted to being able to use drugs as an excuse. 


I was probably drunk when I did it


I was probably high when I said it 


I was tripping balls when that happened


I just want to sleep tonight. 


I just want to chill out


I just want to forget about it for a sec


I just want to be high because it feels amazing.  


I started to wonder. 


Am I high and drunk all the time because it feels amazing? Or am I high and drunk because life without those things feels overwhelming...agonizing?


My addiction was to anything that excused personal accountability 


And realizing that, was the most heart-wrenching thing I’ve ever felt in my entire life. 


It was then, that I realized. it isn’t about how many drugs you do or how you get them into your body. What matters is the frequency and carelessness of the use and the resulting negative consequences. 


What mattered..was that I was choosing temporary feelings of fake fulfillment...over real progress, knowledge, and connection. 


I wasn’t addicted to the substance. The substance was simply the outlet that I had chosen from my true addiction. I was addicted to being numb..to not being responsible for owning who I was. 


Something had to change. 


And it did. 


——- if you’d like to find out how it changed, I’d love for you to come back and join me for the next episode of After The Last Guest. 


In episode 3 We’ll briefly talk about the life changes I made mentally, physically, and socially that eventually allowed me to conquer my addictions. 


We’ll also be joined by our first guest who will be announced later in the week. 


In the meantime, I want to take the opportunity to invite you to the ATLG community on Instagram @AfterTheLastGuest


The focus of the community is two-fold


First, our Instagram community will be the central hub for all things AFTER THE LAST GUEST. Episode releases, weekly schedules, educational guides, skill-building workshops, community participation, live events, and more. 


SECOND, the Instagram account is a feature page. Not for me. Not for any of the lame-ass shit I’m doing. 


But for you! To show the world your talents outside of work. Show the world who you are after the last guest is served. 


Your art, your talents, dance skills, travels, words of encouragement. Your story. 


Submit your content and show the world just how creative, inspirational, and amazing you are. 


The best of the best will be featured on our Instagram page, in our story, and you may even receive an invite to be a featured guest on one of our upcoming episodes. 


You can submit your content #atlgis


If you ever need help- Instructions can be found on Instagram and on the podcast page. 


Looking forward to having you back with me next week. Thank you so much for tuning in. 


I’m going to end every episode with cheers. Tonight it’s a glass of good ole H20 in honor of the addiction episode being released. 



Stay safe, healthy, positive, and keep on going. Amazing things are about to happen for you!



Cheers. Until next time my friends!