Drinking tea and partying sober

One of Grady’s roommates, who requested anonymity, prepares for a Labor Day weekend party. Grady—a recovering alcoholic—is still the life of the party, now with a non-alcoholic drink in hand. Photo by Hasib Hussainzada.

One of Grady’s roommates, who requested anonymity, prepares for a Labor Day weekend party. Grady—a recovering alcoholic—is still the life of the party, now with a non-alcoholic drink in hand. Photo by Hasib Hussainzada.

The pinnacle

The last thing Grady Mellin, a senior physics major, said he could remember from the party he attended the night before he decided to pursue sobriety was drinking beer—a lot of beer. He said he drank a lot when he went home for the 2015 summer break.

“One beer is good, two beers [are] twice as good, and 10 beers [are] ten times as good,” said Mellin––who prefers to be called by his first name, Grady. “It’s not the way it works, but it’s the way my brain personally processes alcohol.”

About 50 percent of college students binge drink, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Although there are major health risks with binge drinking, some college students may not consider it a problem.

Thirteen months and 12 days later, Grady—now a recovering alcoholic—is still the life of the party.

“College is far from an easy environment to practice sobriety,” said Alexander Arnis, a junior economics major and Grady’s roommate. “But somehow Grady manages to partake in every social event, just drinking tea instead [of alcohol].”

Some of Grady’s best friends from high school also came to Westminster, including John Wilcox, a junior finance major.

“Grady is an eccentric and outgoing character, and I love it,” Wilcox said. “Grady thinks in ways that I would [never think]. He is extremely intelligent.”

However, Wilcox said Grady becomes a different person when he drinks.

“I have seen Grady just down 17 cups of fucking beer and a half bag of wine,” Wilcox said. “Obviously, you are not going to drink that much and not fucking vomit. [Grady] vomited the most I had ever seen out of any person. He just projectile-vomited everywhere.”

That was the peak of Grady’s alcohol consumption, Wilcox said.

Grady got so drunk one time that he forgot who I was,” said Cian Bremer, a junior business marketing and aviation management major, who grew up with Grady in Henniker, New Hampshire. “That is when I realized that he had a problem [with drinking].”

Grady: “I am done.”

“Get off this car, you stupid idiot,” Grady said he remembers the police ordering, banging on the window.

Grady woke up, disoriented.

“I had no idea where I was,” he said.

A few days after the arrest, Grady said he suddenly made the decision to become sober.

“It literally blows my mind,” he said. “I had no idea this was possible. But it completely is possible.”

Grady said he decided to stop drinking because alcohol consumption led him to bad situations.

Thirteen months and 12 days since his last alcoholic beverage, Grady Mellin takes a sip of his non-alcoholic beverage. “I feel really content with life,” Grady said. Photo by Hasib Hussainzada

Thirteen months and 12 days since his last alcoholic beverage, Grady Mellin takes a sip of his non-alcoholic beverage. “I feel really content with life,” Grady said. Photo by Hasib Hussainzada

During his first year at Westminster, he blacked out multiple times. During the blackouts, he said he fell down the stairs and ended up in the hospital, and the police arrested him four times for doing things like breaking into people’s cars to sleep.

“Your idea of what is right and what is wrong just goes out the window,” Grady said. “[When] you drink an excessive amount of alcohol, all of your conscience goes out of the window.”

Grady’s name became “synonymous” with alcohol and partying, said Grady’s friend Dan Abe Cantarella, a junior finance major. Cantarella said it surprised everybody when Grady decided to become sober.

“Grady was, and still is, the life of the party,” said Kieran Collins, a senior geology major. “Grady sobered up because if he had continued down [that] path, the consequences would eventually become extreme––possibly even fatal.”

Grady said sobriety is hard and he’s needed help along the way. However, he said it’s been worth the challenge.

“I definitely prefer being sober,” he said. “Anybody can do it. It takes rigorous honesty, but it can happen.”

Now that Grady is sober, he said he encourages others to practice sobriety, as well.

“Grady got me sober for two months,” said Thomas Reilly, a junior marketing major. “I worked with [Grady to sober up] for two months, but it wasn’t for me.”

Grady said he couldn’t continue drinking and live a happy and productive lifestyle. He said he now has time to focus on the things he enjoys doing the most: rock climbing, playing guitar, snowboarding and  photography.

“Grady’s ability to fully tackle [alcoholism] head-on truly amazes me,” said Arnis, Grady’s roommate. “Everyone is super proud of him.”

As Grady prepared to leave for a party, he said his advice for people chasing the “quick little pleasures” of alcohol is to stop doing so, because the alcohol in one’s body won’t last forever and neither will the pleasure.

Students struggling with alcohol abuse can visit the Counseling Center for resources and support.