Aubrie Mindock

Professional skier, author of "When I Saw Heaven" and "Back Up On Skis," Olympic hopeful

Why I do not drink

It was September 14th, 2016. My ex, Eric, was at my home with a gun. Like usual he was drunk and angry. Drinking daily and drinking a lot was a part of who Eric was. Alcohol defined him and controlled him. Eric lived to drink and the booze consumed him. It was alcohol that eventually played a role in Eric's violent death. If Eric had not been drinking that night maybe he would have lived. Maybe he would not have shot himself on my doorstep. 

I do not drink because I do not want to be like Eric. My life is too short to waste and I for sure do not want alcohol to control me. I want to be the one that controls my destiny. Alcohol is a dangerous and addicting drug and I will not get wrapped up in it. 

I learned early on that bars are not much fun. You sit around a big table with a bunch of friends and strangers and tell the same stupid stories over and over again. Sometimes people get too carried away and they become like Eric, obnoxious and annoying. Alcohol changes one's personality and makes everyone who drinks crazy. 

Alcohol plays a huge part in our society. People often go out to happy hour to drink socially and to have a good time with friends. It makes people who are normally shy open up and those who are outgoing even more outgoing. Alcohol can calm the nerves and people often use it as a coping mechanism. 

Eric used alcohol to cope with everything. He always had a reason to drink from the morning he woke up until the minute he went to bed. Often, I could smell the alcohol seeping through his pores and the smell was nauseating. I would smell the stench and realize that I did not want to ever have to worry about how I came off to people so I decided to lose the booze and never drink again, even if it was just one. 

Alcohol is a toxin. It is a poison. When a person drinks a lot the body focuses on getting rid of it. Your body will do whatever it takes to get the alcohol out of your system and sometimes it comes out through your pores. You can literally sweat alcohol out and when you do the smell is gut wrenching. To me, it is one of the worse smells on the planet. Once you smell an alcoholic you will never forget it. 

When Eric was drinking he often literally lost his mind. One minute he would be talking and acting normal then the next he would turn into a complete monster and fool. I remember one time Eric and I were in Breckenridge and Eric once again drank too much. He was out of control. 

Eric and I walked to town. I liked to walk into town because parking in Breckenridge is a pain, especially during the busy times. Since I only live about 3 miles from town walking does not take that long. I can get to and from town within half an hour on foot. 

I knew that Eric was going to get trashed. I also knew how Eric was when he got drunk. On the way down the mountain I begged Eric to not drink a lot because I just wanted a quiet night. He rolled his eyes at me and told me that he was on his weekend and was going to have a good time. I knew exactly how my night was going to end up. 

Eric drank and drank and drank. He drank so much that he literally crawled out of the bar. Eric was literally so drunk that he could not even stand and he had to crawl the entire 3 miles home. Somewhere along the way he lost his shoes. I do not know how or where he lost his shoes, nor do I care. All I know is that I ended up basically carrying him because he was getting all cut up and he could not stand. Bleeding and being as injured as he was, he didn't care. The alcohol had numbed him.

Watching Eric drink like a fish and seeing what alcohol did to him I chose never to drink again. Alcohol does nothing good. It is a dangerous and deadly drug that kills you from the inside out. I choose not to drink because I want to live my life to the fullest. I want to enjoy every second I have on this earth and I do not want my days to be destroyed by a hangover. 

I for sure do not want alcohol to control me. I don't want to end up like Eric, being consumed by when my next drink will be. Alcohol is extremely addicting. Some say it is even more addicting than cocaine and other hard core drugs. My life is too short to waste and I refuse to drink it away. 

I have also seen alcohol kill in more ways than I ever thought imaginable. Obviously, Eric took his life on my doorstep while he was intoxicated but there were other situations that were deadly as well. 

I was in Breckenridge when I got the phone call from Eric. Eric had been in a drunk driving accident that killed a 22 year old airman from Colorado Springs. Now, Eric was not driving that night but he was in the passenger seat, drunk. The airman was hit and violently killed and the men ran from the scene. Both men were so drunk that they did not even realize that an innocent life was taken. Neither had a clue that they had just hit and killed a young man who was serving his country and doing what he could to live a fulfilling life. 

Here is Eric and his his friend, driving drunk and they hit and kill a man who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. That young man had his entire life ahead of him. He was doing nothing wrong when he was hit by the drunk men. It was a terrible tragedy that could have been prevented had one of the two had enough sense to not get behind the wheel.

Now, Eric was not driving but he was just as much to blame as his friend. Eric should have insisted that neither of them drive and that they take a cab or call a friend or hang out somewhere until they sober up. When you have two alcoholics in the same car together bad things are bound to happen. I received that phone call from Eric and I was angry. Eric should have stopped his friend from getting behind the wheel. He was just as responsible as his friend.

Alcohol does kill. It really does. A couple years after Eric told me that him and his friend killed that 22 year old airman from the Air Force Academy Eric came to my home with a gun and shot himself in the head. He was extremely intoxicated and extremely violent.

For those of you who do drink I would like you to reconsider. What role does alcohol play in your life? Do you really need to drink to have a good time? I know that you will say that you only have one or two drinks but is that even worth it? I too use to only have one or two but because of what I have seen I now have none. At what point do we as a society come to realize that alcohol is not good and even drinking responsibly can lead to death and violence? What does alcohol really do for us? 

I encourage you if you are reading this to put the drink down. Alcohol is never worth your life or someone else's life. It isn't worth getting into trouble over. Even if you think you are sober and okay to drive or function you probably are not. Alcohol destroys the senses and makes us believe that we are okay to do things when in reality we are not. 

If you do decide to go dry and to be sober for the rest of your life you will notice many changes. The biggest change will be that you will always be in control. Alcohol will not cloud your judgment and you will always be able to think clearly. Your decisions will be only yours without the influence of a drug. You will also make better decisions, which in the long run, can lead to a longer life and more fulfilling life.