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Reading has always been a love of mine. Ever since I was little I’ve always been hungry for literature. I always read things way outside of my age group, I have my father to thank for that. He loves the classics and stories about adventure. I remember being 8 or 9 and lying on the sofa in our first house in Hawaii, listening to him recite the prose of Red Wall with my head on his lap, curled in a ball to stave off the chilled breeze coming off the ocean so near our front door. I picked up my first Hemingway novel at 12 and instantly fell in love. I’d always rip through anything that was handed to me. I guess it was the writer in me, or the soon-to-be-discovered writer, anyway.

In recent years I haven’t been reading as much. I was in college and there was so much required reading to do anyway that I suppose it was easy to lose touch of my treasured novels. I picked a new best friend, wine.

Recent, unfortunate personal events and some very undesirable behavior have been linked to my drinking. I had a meltdown at Gay Pride and fled the scene and I’ve lashed out at several people that I love as a result of being too drunk. I’ve always had problems with control. I never know when enough is enough. It’s a character flaw that I’m aware of and have every desire to change and control.

I realized I’d been drinking mostly out of boredom. Long days at work, followed by the sprawling hours of the evening before bed. I walk 5 miles home every day to kill time and clear my head. I write when I get home, sometimes, but usually I’m so creatively drained by then that I don’t have the patience to “produce” anything else. So, I usually end up at Wholefoods buying a bottle (or two) of their $3 cabernet and sitting in my apartment, watching Netflix and drinking. The truth is that I really do like drinking—love it even, but after so many personal mistakes due to the alcohol-induced nightmare I have more frequently become, I think it’s time to redirect my time. Not to mention binge drinking is extremely hazardous to my health in the first place.

That’s where the books come in. I realized, after some careful consideration and self-reflection, that reading may be just the medicine I need before things truly spiral out of my control and I end up irreparably destroying a friendship or in a jail cell. So, I asked all of my lovely Facebook friends to help me out. I asked for a Summer Reading List.

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Many people came through and gave me amazing recommendations. After a week the books arrived and I’m steadily making my way through each one. This remedy hasn’t entirely stopped my drinking. I still can have a night or two of fun and obviously I’m not going to give up every Sunday brunch, but I think this is going to be a great tool to fill my mind with knowledge and to keep my hands off the bottle. I’m excited about this summer full of new adventure into the lives of these crafted characters just like the ones I hope to create myself one day. I never knew as a little girl, sitting in my living room in Hawaii that reading would actually save my life.