We left our dashing hero at bit of a crossroads, yesterday, didn’t we? I, for one, had no idea how the story would play out. I felt a little restless, messed about in a few projects, and then decided that I was going to sit back down with WordPress and finally figure out how to move everything over from Medium (from now on I’ll post both places). And once I got started working a strange thing happened: I didn’t think about drinking once, while I worked. I went seven hours straight, had a splitting headache and an awful hunger by the time I finished, but I did come to a finish of sorts. There are some sections (like the Resources page) that I’ll want to continue working on, but damn did it feel good to get to sit back and survey a job well-done.
Then something even more exciting happened: I got my first like and follow! Then a few more likes trickled in. If any of you guys are reading this now, let me tell you, you stopped whatever post-project urge to drink I may have had right in its tracks. Thank you.
It did get me thinking, though, about why I drink. I know I did the 20 Reasons Why, but those seemed to trend sort of metaphysical-emotional. By this I mean why as in concrete, knee-jerk reactions to a physical state. I’m a really thirsty person, for instance. Like, I constantly need something to drink within my reach. If that happens to be a beer at any given moment then I’m going to drink the fuck out of them, same as I do tea, coffee, or Perrier (well, Perrier this week since it’s on sale at Sam’s. I’m not always so bougie.). When I’ve quit drinking for any stretch of time in the past I’ve had to make sure that I have plenty of cheap fizzy waters around to fill that slightly-bitter, carbonated void that ditching the beer leaves in my soul.
Hunger is another big one. I won’t drink on a full stomach, and if I’m planning to drink then I won’t eat, which I see now probably exacerbates the situation. Seems like it should be easy to quit then, right? Just make sure you’re eating constantly. If I weren’t already trying to lose the 20 pounds I put on this year then that might be an option.
I know I touched on boredom, in my reasons, but it’s such a huge one for me that it bears repeating. I will do almost anything to avoid being bored, including but not limited to hanging out with people I’m not interested in, watching my kids play video games, and drinking my socks off. What is boredom, though, really? Is it simply having nothing to do? If so then what right do I have to be bored when I live in a hundred year old home that constantly needs fixing, with walls full of books that I’ve bought and never finished reading, and a family of six who constantly deserves and desires my full attention? I think that when I say I’m bored I really mean there’s nothing that I want to be doing happening right this second. The problem with that is that I’ve spent so much of my adult life drinking I don’t really even know what I enjoy doing, otherwise.
Anxiety. I know that we don’t know one another very well yet, but you’ll soon find out that I’m an anxious mess. My counselor made the comment during my one-on-one today that the overarching theme she saw in my Reasons was one of community, connection, and belonging. She’s right, of course. My interpersonal relationships are the single biggest anxious-maker in my life, and that’s a huge one, right? We’re inherently social creatures, but it’s just not something that comes naturally to me. If I get the least bit uncomfortable in my skin I think that I need a drink. That’s what this blog is all about: making connections with others who can relate to the singular hell I’ve worked myself into.
The last big biological trigger for me is sleep. I drink when I’m tired, I drink when I’m wired, I drink for that second wind, I drink to pass out. If I let my sleep habits rule my drinking then I’d be perma-drunk.
Reading back over this list I think it’s easy to see why I drink the way I do. I’ve so thoroughly tethered it to the unavoidable experience of living that there’s always a good reason to pick one up, and once I have it in my hand I’m not going to stop until I pass out. I wonder if anyone out there relates?