“It’s with a fresh set of eyes that I greet my final semester at UVA, and for the first time, sober ones,” college student Joe Leonard writes in a humorous new op-ed published in the Cavalier Daily. “That’s right kids, I am clean and sober, on the wagon, and going to AA.”
Leonard is a senior at the University of Virginia and a self-proclaimed “lonely homosexual virgin” who recently came to terms with the fact that he’s an alcoholic. But he says he’s determined to get his life back on track.
“No more stumbling outside of parties, throwing up and returning with the excuse that I was ‘praying,’” he writes. “No more waking up naked in my bed, finding my Lady Gaga T-shirt in the dishwasher with no memory of the night before.”
“Now my days are filled with waking up and going to class, doing simple chores like buying a lamp and going to AA meetings,” he says. “[A]nd no, I can’t tell you what we say in them, so stop asking.”
Leonard writes that before joining AA his days off from school consisted of “sleeping until 5 p.m., watching gay TV shows with my mother, and drinking until 5 a.m.”
In 2013, Leonard tried seeing a psychologist about his drinking habit, but balked after he saw the guy’s business card, which read “Combining modern behavioral psychology with traditional Christian values.”
“While I am a perfectly happy Presbyterian, I am also a notorious homosexual, so needless to say I was apprehensive,” he writes. “My fears were quickly realized when he asked me ‘Now, did anyone introduce you into homosexuality?’”
Leonard left the therapy session and never went back.
A few months later, in April of last year, he decided it was time to make a change. Or at least try to make a change.
“On April 1, 2014 … I called my father and told him I was an alcoholic in a conversation that lasted 2 minutes and 36 seconds,” Leonard recalls. “It probably would have been quicker had I not spent an entire minute convincing him it was not in fact an April Fool’s joke.”
Leonard vowed to lay off the booze for a while. His sobriety lasted about a month, before he went back to drinking. The none night he consumed 10 vodka cranberries and somehow wound up in ambulance ride with a broken ankle.
“While it gave everyone a good laugh to see me wheeling down the streets of New York city on my knee scooter every day,” he writes, “I realized it was probably time to quit drinking permanently.”
“What is my life like now, you ask?” he continues. “Well, I wake up, actually go to class, meet some pretty amazing people at AA meetings, and have time to think about what the hell I’m going to do with my life once I graduate.”
“See kids,” he concludes, “sobriety isn’t all that bad.”