The first time I ever drank alcohol was either late 2001 or early 2002. It was Grade 11 and it was Colt .45.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was playing and when combined with my new taste of elixir, it was a weird crown on a surreal evening.
My sister picked me up and drove me home. I never saw the end of the movie and Hunter S. Thompson has mystified me ever since.
I’m reading an oral biography on Thompson now and so now is as good a time as any to revisit my relationship with booze.
I would like to think that I don’t drink as much as I used to, even a year ago, although my credit card statement disagrees with that at times. I suppose my tolerance has increased and so drinking has become less binging and more an accompaniment to an evening.
A month or so ago, a co-worker and I were having a conversation about our stresses at the office and the demands of the non-profit sector, especially as we plunge full bore into the busy time of year. She asked me how I dealt with the additional responsibilities that I have been tasked with over the past year and I automatically replied that I drink.
It surprised me a bit at how casual and quick that answer came, but yes, I drink a bit to deal with stresses at work. I then run to also deal with those stresses at work and to keep off the extra pounds that so much drinking should add.
It doesn’t work of course, the beers don’t make the work go away (and thankfully my flirtation with scotch has remained just that, not going into a full relationship). It’s a weakness and it’s a release, but at times, it’s a needed crutch.
I have a cruel sense of pride into my ability to rebound, to go out on the night, come home at an early hour and bounce back for work in the morning. In some ways, I’m no worse for wear. But I can feel the lack of drive or energy, the lack of ambition or motivation, lack of focus. This very well could lead to me losing my writing gig.
I’ve had friends that say out of all their friends, they think I drink the most. That scares me. That bothers me. My parents think I drink too much and again that troubles my mind. The last girl I had anything relatively serious or lasting with told me I drank too much. My excuse was that it was the playoffs, but the fact I haven’t been able to foster any substantial relationship since then makes me wonder how right she was.
It might be affecting me in ways that are too subtle for me to really tell. It might be preventing me from becoming a better person. I don’t think I have a problem with drinking, simply because I drink a lot. I don’t think I’m an alcoholic. But I think I need to control it a bit more. I can’t use it as the crutch I am using it for, simply because of how it affects everything else around it.
It costs too much. If I want to pull myself into something better, I’ll likely need to save money, but to stay where I am, those funds are allocated towards this alcohol therapy.
If I can’t deal with work, then something else has to be done. Not just the bottom of a bottle.
The irony (or ignorance) of all this is that within an hour, I’ll be standing in a bar, with drink in hand.