“The night is dark and full of terrors.” --Melisandre, Game of Thrones
Sunday August 16th, 2015. 1:17 AM.
Q: Oh my God. This is a nightmare. I feel like I’m gonna freak out. How long have I been lying here? Why can’t I fall asleep? Why is this happening to me?
A: You dumb shit. You smoked pot and drank all day… now you wonder why you don’t feel good?
Q: I was just trying to have a good time. I didn’t want to wind up like this. I just want to fall into a canyon of unconsciousness and turn off my brain. This is horrible. I’m shaking. I’m burning up. I can’t get comfortable. Why do I do this to myself?
A: Good question. Why do you do this? I mean. You’re 43. You’ve had hangovers more times than you could ever count. You wake up. You feel like shit and you swear you’ll never do it again. So why do you keep doing it? Are you an alcoholic?
Q: I don’t feel like an alcoholic. I don’t know. Am I an alcoholic? Sometimes I feel like I can’t control myself.
A: I don’t know if you’re an alcoholic or not, but I’ll tell you one thing: you have a drinking problem. You can’t seem to consistently avoid the hangover. Just so we’re clear, this is the only body we get. You don’t have a spare liver lying around..
Q: I know. I KNOW, alright? Sometimes I can’t help myself! I like getting drunk! It feels good, right? Doesn’t it feel good to you, too?
A: Yeah. I admit-- it feels pretty great for 2-3 hours. But the next day we’re either stuck in the purgatory of minor-headache-not-quite-ourselves OR we descend into what the f--- have I done to myself hell complete with Advil bombs, self loathing, and heaping mounds of guilt.
Q: God, here comes another wave of the chills. Shit. This is horrible. What time is it?
Q: Think I’ll be able to get to sleep soon?
A: No way, dude. This party’s just getting started.
Q: Ugh. Why do I do this?
A: It’s what you do with your buddies. You drink, you laugh, you drink some more. Play games, goof around. Drink more. Then-- just after you’ve told yourself in the bathroom mirror that you shouldn’t have any more drinks-- you drink EVEN MORE!
Q: Alright! Don’t be so hard on me. Can’t you see I’m getting put through the grinder here?
A: Sorry. I know. It’s the centrifugal force of habit. It’s a role you’ve played so often, you just fall back into it. You’ve been drinking since you were in 9th grade.
Q: Wow. That’s scary. Really?
A: Yep. That’s when the pattern started. It’s what most of your friends did.
Q: I remember pretty much every weekend was about figuring out who could get beer and where we could drink it. I don’t remember going through stuff like this back in those days, do you?
A: Are you kidding? You drank so much vodka the night before graduation, you barfed in front of your house the next morning! It’s a good thing your parents weren’t home.
Q: Oh my God, you’re right. That’s horrible. Cap & gown, meet Retch & Puke. That’s pathetic. I’ve been doing this forever. But, I don’t feel like an addict. I mean, I’m not drinking gin out of a paper bag at 9 in the morning.
A: Who cares about how you label it? The question is, do you want to go through another night like this ever again?
Q: Hold on. F--- me, I can’t stop shaking. God, I wish I could die right now.
A: There’s your answer.
Q: Uggggg. I wish I could just go back in time and not put myself in this situation.
A: Can’t do it. No going back. I know you don’t wanna hear this right now, but maybe this is all happening for a reason. Maybe this is the big, fat, final red flag you need to see so that you just stop doing this to yourself once and for all.
Q: I never wanna feel like this. This is torture. This isn’t me. But I don’t know if I can just… not drink. For the rest of my life?
A: Dude. You quit cigarettes. You know how hard it is to quit cigarettes? You can do this. Nobody is your friend because you drink. Nobody thinks you’re a great guy because you get hammered. They like you because of who you are.
Q: This feels like an intervention with Stuart Smiley.
A: Shut up. You know what I’m saying.
Q: Well, right now, I’ll do anything to make it stop. I’ll swear on a stack of bibles. I just don’t know what I’ll do about it in a week or a month or six months. You think I can hack it? For good? Never have another beer or a glass of bourbon?
A: I would answer that by saying that this night should serve as a signpost. A reminder why you aren’t drinking anymore.
Q: This night is horrible.
A: This night IS horrible. I wish we weren’t going through it.
Q: It’s hard to admit I have a problem. Because a lot of the time it feels like there is no problem...
A: Until you have a night like this. Or a morning where you’re short tempered with your kids because you stayed up drinking beers.
Q: No more drinking. Ever. It feels so hard line and final. So many people seem like they have no problem at all getting their drink on. Like it’s nothing. It’s all good buzzes and happy hours and no fall out.
A: Well, first of all, who knows what people really go through? And second of all, who cares? This is your life and this is your experience and you’ve known for a long time that there’s some issues swimming around beneath the surface. Why don’t you just face it one day at a ...
Q: Are you gonna say “one day at a time?” That’s very 12 steppy.
A: It’s very 70s sitcom. And very 12 steppy. If the shoe fits, right? Look. Just get through this. Get through and see how you feel. Tomorrow. The next day. Take it slow. No need to plan out every detail.
Q: I think I’m through the worst of it. I’m so exhausted. I think I can actually fall asleep now. So…um… Me?
A: Yes, Me?
Q: Thanks. I guess we’ll see how it goes. Sorry that I put us through this.
A: Remember. It’s a signpost. Use it. Now try to get some sleep.
[Blogger’s note: Post finished on Friday August 28th. 13 days sober. Or what I am calling an open ended hiatus from drinking.]