On the Course, Off the Wagon

How I Used Leisure Sports to Justify my Addiction

Russ W


Photo by mk. s on Unsplash

The afternoon was sticky, and the air hung heavy. I was sweating bullets (and my morning vodka) before we even stepped off the putting green.

We were a rag-tag bunch playing in a golf tournament for police officers. It was three Irish bartenders, me — one their best customers — and a hundred cops.

Like the other tournaments we played, it would be an all-day bender. Coolers stocked with beer sat on every tee box. At this point in my drinking career, I needed something stronger — so I’d stashed some vodka in my bag.

One of my teammates asked me if I’d drank that morning because he could smell the vodka. I casually dismissed him.

“It must be sweating through my pores.”

This had become my go-to excuse.

On the first hole, I barely missed a birdie putt. So, on the second tee box, I wound up on my drive looking to fully release my frustration by smashing through my little white Pro-V1.

After I made contact, I couldn’t stop my follow through. I spun around in a sloppy twirl and landed on my ass. Sitting on the tee box undeterred, I studied the sky and found my ball in flight, slicing over a ravine and cutting into the corner of the fairway.

I blamed my spill on the worn-down spikes on my golf shoes.

We were playing best ball, and my drive was the best of the bunch. Shaking off my tumble, I stepped up and knocked my wedge shot stiff — eight feet below the pin. My team let me putt first, and I finished off a solo birdie.

By the end of the day, I was squinting to see straight, but I was still dropping putts left and right. We finished tied for first place, but they gave the trophy to the cops.

Undeterred by Any Evidence

When many people fall down as a result of substance use, they take it as a red or yellow light. Either it’s time to stop for a while or at least pump the brakes.

Not so for this guy. My tumble became a justification. My mangled logic enabled me to celebrate that spill.

I birdied the hole. I have more skill and talent…



Russ W

Addiction therapist with an alphabet soup of degrees. Writer. Creative. Human. Hit me up: russ.w.medium@gmail.com