So, remember my promise not to drink anymore? After a serious over-indulgence one adventurous evening, I decided to go without my beloved wine for an indefinite amount of time.
I lasted 82 days.
82 days, and then I got together with one of my best friends in San Francisco. And that is what she and I do. We drink wine. So I decided to give it a try again. See if I could manage to be a responsible adult. And I did very well! I would only have 1 or 2 glasses of wine on occasion. When I was out to dinner, when I was hanging with friends. Just the 1 or 2 glasses at the occasional social event, and that was it.
Then, there was last night.
I got together with two girlfriends to have a Bridget Jones marathon. There was wine. And I could have been my responsible self, but I was watching Bridget Jones. I was hanging with two friends. I don’t know; I don’t have any valid excuse for what happened. The short of it is: I am not a responsible adult when wine is around. I can pretend all I want, but I’m just not.
As was proven last night when I drank so much, I managed to throw up all over my friend’s couch.
My other girlfriend gathered up our things to take me home. And what did I do? I vomited all over the leather interior of her boyfriend’s brand new car. Brand new Mini Cooper, by the way.
Yeah, I’m a classy gal.
I vaguely remember getting home, J coming out to get me with Charlie on his leash. The shower to wash off all the vomit is extremely fuzzy, and I don’t even remember getting to bed. Which is probably why I fell asleep wearing my contacts. When I woke up this morning, I felt a deeply rooted nausea. Part hangover. Part shame.
Once again, how could I have been so stupid? Why didn’t I cut myself off after my custom 1 or 2 glasses??
And I know the answer to said rhetorical question: because I can’t manage it once I start drinking. I can say no up front, and have done so on many of my dry runs. But once I say yes, and the wine keeps coming out, it keeps going in my glass.
So, now I know. I have to give it up. I have to give it up entirely. And I need to give it up for life.
I was watching an interview Robin Williams did with Jon Stewart last year, and in the conversation, he mentions his 20-year stretch of sobriety. Then, one day, he picks up one of those small bottles of Jack Daniels because he thought that after 20 years, he could handle drinking again. He could be responsible. And in his own words, Robin said, “whew! I went straight to the blackout phase.” One tiny bottle of Jack Daniels after 20 years of not drinking a drop of alcohol, and he was back to Alcoholic Extraordinaire.
And I remember reading that a common misconception among addicts and alcoholics is the belief that they can get their addiction under control, and that one day, they will be able to partake of their drinks or their drugs and do so responsibly. But that is a misconception. An alcoholic will never be able to drink like a non-alcoholic. An addict will never be able to snort, shoot, inhale, whatever like a recreational user. The only way out of it is total abstinence.
I won’t go as far to call myself an alcoholic. But I can easily be one. Very easily. Scary easily. And I don’t want that. There’s too much I want out of my life to lose half of it to blackouts and hangovers.
So, I give it up. This time, no counting days. Because this time, it has to be for the long haul. And this time, it has to be about more than getting through another day without wine. My life has to be more than that. I don’t want wine sitting on the back of my brain like a shadow. I don’t want to think about drinking when I’m at a nice dinner or out with friends, or when I’m having a really good day, or a really bad day. I want the focus on my life instead. That’s why I’m challenging myself. Not just to give up wine, but to give up thinking about wine. To let it go. Say goodbye. Wish it luck on its journey. And spend the time focusing on my own.