Today will be the day that I am going to stop drinking. But I won’t be doing it the same was as most people. If I really face this with any realistic expectations of succeeding then it is logical to assume that I will of course continue to enjoy alcohol. I mean this in the way that I do not believe that I have had my last drink. The people that sit there and say (and really believe it) that they are done drinking for the rest of their life are just lying to themselves and others around them. Further, I am not even sure that I want to stop drinking for the rest of my life. I want to enjoy how most people enjoy. I want to not be an addict. I want to be that person that is always in control and still enjoying life to the fullest, and that includes having a good time with family and friends. The part of me that I want to have control over is the part that when I have a couple drinks tells me to have as many as I can.
Last night was the last night of a business trip that took me to the outskirts of Atlanta, GA. A small town called Rockmart. The town itself isn’t all that bad. There seems to be very nice people there and there are some tasty restaurants. The Slate Market Grill for one has delicious food. I have tried both the ribeye (bone out) and the French dip. Both of these dishes came with a side of my choosing, both of which I ordered the red potatoes. These red potatoes are truly impressive. They are diced up, deep fried and then seasoned. The French dip was deceptively scrumptious. Upon delivery I noticed that it was not cut in half and I was thinking about asking my waitress to cut it for me so that I can enjoy this meal. For some reason when faced with a large sandwich I am usually at somewhat of an impasse when it is too large to fit in my hands comfortably in my mouth. For example, I always cut my burgers in half. This serves two main purpose. First I can manage the meal in my hands and stay relatively clean. Secondly and most importantly the meal does not get destroyed by the first couple of bites. When the sandwich is cut in half I can mash it, twist it and compress it as I am eating and while the first piece gets in all sorts of misshaped forms the second piece is still sitting there patiently waiting for me to finish it off. Anyway, moving on, the French dip stayed together pretty good considering I was holding it the whole time.
I have been to Rockmart before. The last time the Slate Market Grill was in a different location and where it is currently was occupied by an Italian restaurant. I got the Bolognese meat sauce. Also at that time you could write something on the wall if you desired. I like those kinds of places because people tend to enjoy writing on places that is typically not allowed. I scribed one of my many nicknames on the wall – “Dufois”.
So back to the last night of the trip. I had 8 beers left in my refrigerator from the week. There were 7 shock top (in the can, because there was a deal if you buy 12, you get 3 more free) and one miller high life. My go to beer has been Miller High Life for a long time. I think I have always enjoyed the high life because it reminds me of smoking weed. Even though when I drink it I feel nothing like I do when I used to smoke. Class had ended around 4 pm and I drove back to my shithole of a room at the econolodge. For reasons beyond my recollection I booked the same hotel twice in a row. How I didn’t remember how trashy this place was the first time I stayed there is beyond me. The stairwell was the worst part. It stunk like something was decaying and beginning to decompose. I held my breath going through there, which is hard to do while going up let me tell you.
I get in my room and I get a text from someone I work with for me to call him. He had spent the entire day working on a problem that I was able to instruct him on how to fix it within the first minute of the phone call. We can discuss work stuff at a later time. I get off the phone (it took 15 minutes to assure him and walk him through how to check it as well) and I immediately go to the fridge and open up my first beer. Oh it feels so good when it first hits your lips…. I say that or think it a lot when I open my first one. I don’t know why, I think that I have seen that somewhere on in a movie I guess. But I think of it when I take my first drink. The first one goes down really fast, probably less than 3 minutes. I go and grab 2 more and bring it back over to the bed where I am sitting to watch tv. There is a couch, but I never really sat on it because I figured they washed the sheets atleast every so often, and probably never washed or cleaned the couch. I got two so I didn’t have to go back to the fridge every few minutes because that’s how much I was drinking. You see when I am alone I typically try to get drunk. I’m not socially drinking, or drinking to get a buzz, or drinking to pass the time, or just for something to do. I am doing it with one goal in mind, I want to get drunk.
The problem with getting drunk at this point in my life is that it takes fucking forever. I feel like I lose the ability to speak before I get drunk, like I used to anyways when it used to feel good and great.
I get through the first 5 within the first 45 minutes for sure. Still feeling nothing really, other than a desire to keep drinking. I want to get that feeling back, the feeling of when I was young. Oh what a feeling it used to be to get drunk. Back when I was a teenager, I could drink a six pack and feel great. Of course back then I weighed a lot less too. Currently at 240 lbs I am 80 lbs heavier than when I first started drinking. Additional body weight and of course the tolerance thing really does inhibit my ability to get drunk easily at this point- really something that is frustrating to me.
It takes maybe another hour until I finish the last 3 I have in the refrigerator. Now being that I am in the eastern time zone its about 3 pm back home and I know that my wife is picking up the kids. So I call her Audi so that I can talk to everyone at the same time. I make the call and am able to speak to 3 out of 4 members of my family. My oldest son is still in school as he gets out last. We start to chat and go through the pleasantries of me coming home the next day. I recite to them a poem I wrote the day before to my fantasy football league. Lydia loves it and is laughing out loud – I guess this could be because she thinks it is that dumb too, but I don’t care and as a continually positive person I choose to believe that she is laughing because it is good. During this whole call I do not slur any words and to my knowledge totally pulled it off.
Now is that sad or what that when I make a phone call home that I have to think about whether or not I will be able to pull it off that I can appear sober. Because waiting to start drinking until after I make the phone call home is out of the question, that’s 2 good hours I could be spending drinking! I did walk up to the restaurant even though its about a half mile away because I do not want to risk a DUI. I am plenty stupid, but not completely an idiot. I do have much to risk with my family and career. The main reason I don’t smoke weed anymore is the risk of losing what I have by being fired after a failed drug test, which are random at my job. Weed is far superior to alcohol though and if it were legal and my work was ok with it I would be using that every day instead of alcohol.
After my phone call I go into the New York Pizza place to order my dinner. The waitress asks me if I want the family special to which I am quick to respond that its just me and I don’t need a family special, only a slice. When that sentence rolls off my tongue I feel a little sad thinking about how my family isn’t with me. They are such a part of me that its hard to compartmentalize my life into sections where I am alone and they aren’t with me. They are always with me and part of my spirit. It cannot be separated. After my order I go into Walmart which is next door to buy another six pack. I get XX amber because I do enjoy that beer from time to time. It reminds me of my mother in law because she used to buy that all the time when we would go on vacation together in Palm Springs. After I make the purchase I pick up my food and make my way back over to my room at the econolodge.
See there is some part of me that is almost always counting how many I have had for the night. This all started way back when it was a badge of honor if I could have 10 in a night… It was cool. But some part of me just counts things, so it doesn’t necessarily have to do with how many beers I’ve had, but just something to count. The part of my life when I played poker magnified this as I had to count everything, cards, money, bets, outs, hours, minutes, dealers, and of course beers too. Counting – so you see I have already done the mental math and have realized that if I drink this sixer I am up to 14 beers for the evening. Once I get over 12 the likelihood for a hangover doubles. Under 12 I rarely have hangovers as long as I drink plenty of water before I go to bed. As long as I stay hydrated during the night I will not have a headache in the morning.
So I choose to continue drinking, I may not drink them all yes that’s true, but there is a good chance that I will, knowing me anyways. As the night progresses I do end up drinking them all as I knew I would. To offset the hangover, I drank about 5 glasses of water right before bed. Yes, I know that I will have to wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. But that’s the thing about drinking a shitload of beer all the time, I am used to waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. It is just part of the deal with drinking a lot. Jill thinks this is because I am getting old and my bladder is getting smaller. I laugh it off when she says that and say “yeah maybe.” But I know better, I have the bladder of a camel. I drink like 5 cups of coffee and not really have to go to the bathroom. Throughout the day I may go three times total. On the rare nights that I don’t drink, I definitely do not have to wake up to go to the bathroom.
I get up in the morning and start doing the mental checklist to see how I am feeling.
Ok, first things first – Do I have a headache? Ok no, so that’s good, moving on.
Does my stomach hurt? Not yet, but sometimes this takes time. Lets keep checking.
Are there any unusual sore muscles from something I did that I don’t remember? Arms ok, legs ok so I guess I am fine there.
Ok, once more through it, head, stomach, are you feeling ok? Well that is another success story! This actually does bring me a small amount of happiness to know that I can drink so much fucking beer and not get a hangover. I guess we can get good at anything in life that we put our minds to.
At some point during my morning after I have had a cup of coffee and am looking at my fatass in the mirror I decide that perhaps today is the day I will begin my journey to fulling waking up in life. Years ago while I was still smoking a lot of weed my outlook on life and consciousness suddenly changed. I kinda call it waking up. You see I see things with clarity when I didn’t use to. I am a very logical minded person and through some deep thought experiments I came to a few realizations about life and our immortal souls. We will get into those later.
So I’m sitting in the Atlanta airport writing and look across the food court and see this woman sit down, organize her meal, stop scrolling on her phone, close her eyes and say a prayer. A moment of silence later she goes right back into the motions of looking at her phone while she takes a bite here and there. I sit here and imagine what it is she thinks about life. Is it simple, is she self-conscious about her looks, confident, got the life by the horns or even does she know addiction. Why does she pray before her meal at the airport? I pray at home with my family when we sit down for dinner, but if we are in public places typically we do not. I guess this is more of a problem with me though, because I should be setting the good example and saying a prayer whether we are alone or not. So part of me is commending her for doing that in public as so few of us do, and part of me is in a way judging her for doing so. It then makes me wonder if she is really praying, or just focused on thinking about who is watching her and thinking the thoughts I am thinking about her. To clarify here, I am not judging her in a negative way. Interestingly enough, a couple just sat down in front of me (and between me and the other woman) said their prayers as well. It wasn’t audible and heads were down, but I could tell they were praying because everything stopped for maybe 10-15 seconds. Right after they went back to digging into their bags to get their lunch out.
Ah lunch, yes I had the chicken lettuce wraps for starters and then finished with the shrimp pad thai from PF Chang’s. It is a most delicious way to spend an hour or two enjoying a meal. While sitting there slowly eating my food I did notice a few people ordering drinks and I truly did not feel like I wanted to have one. I looked at it and said to myself, well that would feel so good hitting the lips, but then again I also did not want one. I know that I will always like the taste of beer, it’s a part of me. There was a time when I drank 2-3 Dr Peppers a day. I still enjoy the taste of it, and if I had an option of soda I would choose Dr Pepper. But at this point in my life I have less than 1 per month. I guess that may change now that I will likely be drinking a significant less amount of beer. But I have no plans to increase my soda intake, if only to offset diabetes.
But it does feel good when it hits the lips….