Last night after a 3 hour, intensive yoga seminar, I felt nothing but hunger. And so we ventured out for a late bite to eat at Tryst. The place was packed with people drinking and hanging out, having a good time. There was one girl, in the back. I only noticed her because at first I thought she was Drunk Girl (aka our neighbor). This girl turned out to be just one, drunk girl. She was throwing back beer as if conquering a dare. I watched her drop two into the back of her throat. When the bottle was held upright once more, the index and middle finger came to her lips as if to hold back vomit or, at the very least, a gag. It was something I could literally not take my eyes off of at first. And then something occurred to me, I have been her before. There was that time I fell off the stool at Stetsons. There was the time I got in a fight at Galapagos, There was the time I tripped over an imaginary wrinkle on a rug and fell flat on my nose. There was that time I passed out on the floor, my arms wrapped around the toilet bowl waiting for someone to please come kill me as I was too drunk to do so myself. I have been the idiot, drunk and foolish, highly comical, always that safety around enabling someone to think, “It could be worse, I could be her.”
Somehow drinking became a habitual necessity within an everyday life – within my everyday life. I’m not sure why it happened. But it did. The words, “Hey, you want to meet for a drink?” have crossed my lips and ears thousands of times. Booze. It’s what’s for dinner and dessert. Booze. It just is. And it works that way well. Some even believe booze was created to keep a working man stay-put, stuck, and constantly frustrated by running so very fast while standing so very still – a perpetual motion, down and drunk, ready to work in order to consume more. After a long talk one day, three weeks ago, Toby and I decided to take a break from the booze, clean ourselves out. Well, I decided to take a break for a while. He did so just to be kind. “Solidarity,” he said. (Squared)
I was a bit worried. Within the first few days, I wondered if I’d be able to do it. It’s summer. Somehow summer seems coupled with booze. I wasn’t sure I could do it, not that I’d miss the taste of alcohol, but that I would succumb to the habit too easily. I asked Toby that we not discuss a time frame, but instead just take it day by day, and see where it takes us because If I think of anything as ‘Forever’ I’ll get scared and probably fail.
So that was it. Just like that, I gave up drinking. . . at least for now.
At the doctor’s office the other day the nurse asked, “What is your age?” I thought, that’s easy, “23”. I haven’t been 23 for many years but it’s always the first number which comes to my mind when asked about my age. 23. Always 23. “I’m 29” I answered after realizing 23 is just not so anymore.
Later that evening, on the way to the pottery studio I was feeling slightly proud of myself when something occurred to me. “Wanna hear something kinda sad?” I asked Toby. “I haven’t gone more than a week, maybe even a few days, without a drink since I was 23.”
Let’s look at 23. When I was 23, I was just graduating from college. (I had taken a year off to live in England, hence the older age). I was thin and fit. I worked for Penn State creating playbills. I worked in a video store and as a waitress. I had so much energy and what felt like so much time. I was so very excited about my life. I knew, one day, I’d spend time in New York City. I knew I’d travel other places. I knew I’d make enough money to buy toys. Hell, the details are boring, and quite honestly, I really don’t remember them all. I do remember a grand old feeling of elation, safety, and fearlessness for the unknown. Why snag oneself up on all life’s petty details when one has the entire story to comprehend? I think I’m in need of some story finally. That’s the new detail.
“Some people who gave up drinking have said it’s as if all the time spent drinking their life was on pause. They didn’t know it while drinking, but it was apparent after they became sober.” Toby said while standing in the kitchen stirring sauce, or boiling noodles, maybe steeping tea.
Since I stopped consuming alcohol entirely, I have been swept up by thoughts I haven’t been in touch with for a very long time. I have had this bit of excitement and energy I didn’t even know I was missing until now. And while I’m not an alcoholic – as stopping was entirely too easy for me – there was definitely something missing, wrong, or absent from my life, and only after stepping aside have I begun to see that. And my energy alone is enough to keep me interested.
I’m not even sure what it is I’m trying to say here or why I feel compelled to write anything at all about what I’ve been up to or not up to. And while I’m certain I’ll have a drink again someday, it’s nice to understand it’s not the necessity many people make it out to be, and that you do actually feel better when it’s removed, and that it is possible to talk to people without employing your hands and your head with a drink. And that sometimes, that bit of you you’re trying to squelch is the bit which actually matters.
And maybe tomorrow or next week sometime I will finally be 29. :]