Home Alone

Wait a minute, hear that? Neither do I, because somehow fate has conspired to gift me a day where the wife and all four kids are at various holiday parties and events.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my family. 99% of the things I do on a daily basis are in service to them, and it doesn’t irritate me one bit. My wife is my best friend. My kids are hilarious, and chill, and great conversationalists. But as an introvert at heart I crave these days of silence where I can sit on the front porch in my robe and pjs to drink and smoke, read or write, hell even just browse Reddit mindlessly, without interruption.

In recovery circles today would probably be considered a trigger, and to be honest I don’t know if I’m going to drink. Part of me wants to, just because that’s how I’ve forced relaxation for the past decade-plus of my life. It’s chilly and gray, I woke up to a flat tire (the universe thinks it’s so funny sometimes, doesn’t it?), but there is some alcohol in the house. Nothing special. Those light beers and a box of Straw-ber-Rita leftover from some party this past summer. There’s a liquor store within walking distance I could hit up, since I don’t feel like wasting my day getting out in the mud and pulling off that tire to be fixed. But there’s also group homework to be started, and the new chapbook to be worked on, and a warm pot of coffee steaming on the bar.

The newest homework is, of course, called Why Now? and is meant to be three pages on why I’ve decided that quitting drinking is the best decision for my life NOW. Why not a year ago, or next month, I suppose it’s asking, and I don’t really know how to answer that, because there’s that part of me that doesn’t really want to quit. That’s why this blog is so important, because my memory is very, very short when it comes to the consequences of bingeing.

Oh, consequences. One of the last times I stayed home alone like today and binged was two years ago on the fourth of July. My daughter was six months old and the whole family went up to the mountains to hang out in the water and watch the firework display. I was interviewing for a new remote-teaching job and begged off to put together some work they wanted to see. I hit the liquor store before they’d even made it out of town, sat down, and got it all done in time for the deadline. It was pretty good. But I set it aside, thinking I should look it over after a few drinks in order to catch anything amiss, and then completely forgot to send it in. I was so hungover that I missed the next few emails, and then so ashamed that I totally ghosted them.

Yeah, I’m still kicking myself over that one.

My mom, who’s been through recovery herself, always says, play the tape through, meaning don’t get caught up in the romantic notions of sitting poolside with a bloody mary, just working on a bestseller and your tan, but keep on going, through the next three, and the tequila shots that follow. Think about how you’ll likely end up pulling your bikini top off (not really a concern of mine, but you get the idea) next, dancing on the bar, and making out with a stranger for more drinks. Think about the divorce, the custody battle, the holidays spent cold and lonely with a bottle of Jack. Think about the liver failure, the early death, your children crying at your funeral.

At least that’s what I assume she means, when she says it.

So I don’t know. What’s the worst that could happen if I have a few drinks today? I could quiet that inner critic long enough to make some magic happen, on the chapbook. I could just as easily end up wanting more, walk half-cocked to the liquor store and get mowed down by a bus. I could make it home and pass out drunk on the porch for my ex to see when the boys are dropped back off. I could get depressed and put myself to bed early, wake with a splitting headache and have to confess to my counselor at our one o’clock tomorrow. I could lie. To myself, to her, to my family, to you, or any combination thereof.

I’ll keep you posted.

(Read this post on Medium.com)

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