I have always had a particular fascination with that quote, while not truly having any specific information on its author. So when I stumbled across a bargain e-book on Barnes & Noble’s site titled, “Sober Is My New Drunk,” with a lead in quote by Ms McLaughlin I decided to take a chance on it. That led me down the rabbit hole of self immolation from which I can, hopefully, arise like the Phoenix, or at least not like Brandon Lee’s Crow.
Some of you have, no doubt, ascertained where this is going and some of you are already clued into my new path, as it were. I took much longer than I needed to make this public pronouncement. I didn’t hesitate because I was afraid of the responses some might give, nor that any of you would think the less of me. I hesitated because I just didn’t want to have it be over. I just harbored the ridiculous notion that someday I would be able to do things differently, the grown up way. Unfortunately for me that just isn’t the case.
If you’re still reading this I trust the light bulb has gone on, but in case it hasn’t, or more correctly, because I decided to make this public declaration, here goes: I have not had a drop of alcohol, the sweet elixir that sustained me for too many years, since 6 October, 2012 and intend to keep it that way permanently.
I truly wish I could say I came to this place in life because I realized that I was hurting those that love me, or that I recognized I have a problem and wanted to do something about it, or that some major epiphany befell me, but the truth is much more plebian, pedestrian and all too embarrassing. I had a run in with the Philadelphia Police Department, after which I decided to go to rehab for the second time in two years.
I can no longer lie to myself. I have a problem with alcohol, and have for a very long time. Unlike most of you reading this, I cannot simply have 1 or 2, or even 10 or 12. Once I start drinking I will not, and cannot stop until I simply cannot drink anymore due to unconsciousness or some minor to major catastrophe stops me against my will.
That is the long and short of it. I have had multiple debacles while drinking, but didn’t want to face life without it. I adore bar rooms. Whether it is a gin mill, biker bar, honky-tonk, or upscale smoker’s lounge matters not. I love the sights and sounds of them; the way the glass tinkles as the bartender lifts the bottle from its place in front of the ubiquitous mirror; the too loud conviviality of strangers; the tv always turned to sports and the bartender remembering my drink choice.
See the real truth of the matter is I didn’t want to give up drinking. It has been the major part of my life’s jigsaw puzzle for as long as I can remember. It allowed me to act up and have an excuse, even though drunken excuses wear a lot thinner at 44 than they did 20 years earlier. As much as I might protest otherwise, I never wanted to drink like a gentleman. I never cared for a polite buzz, but rather, always preferred the blotto state up against brain damage territory. There are a number of reasons for that, but I will not bother to list them here. Truthfully, they don’t really matter.
What matters most is that alcohol has become a crutch I must abandon if I am to heal in any meaningful way. I have never needed booze to give me a jolt of confidence, nor do I need it in order to do things that are truly, stupendously ill conceived. Those things just come naturally to me. I’ve tried for a couple of years now to quit drinking, with various lengths of success, but what I have never done is what I am doing now.
The purpose of this monologue is not that any of you will coddle me, or hold my hand, but rather that I will have to face my words. I will have to admit that I simply cannot drink with any reasonable measure of success and the only way to prevent bad things from happening when I do drink is to abstain completely. So there you have it. The legendary, many would say infamous, days of wine and song, or in my case Heineken, Jameson’s and juke boxes are done. I was never overly embarrassed by my drunken antics, nor cared that people knew I tended to over imbibe, so why should I care now that the world knows I am officially On the Wagon? As you can all see, apparently I don’t.
While I am not as renowned as the author of the book that started this journey, I fully intend to let you all know what life is like from this side of the divide. To Your Health.