13 September 2009

I don't know why I bother

I awoke last Tuesday and surveyed my kitchen. A quarter-full bottle of red wine sat on the counter. That meant that the night before, all by myself, for no good reason, I had celebrated Labor Day with more than three glasses of wine.

I was disgusted with myself. I'm a big lightweight. To me, three glasses is a lot of wine. What was I doing, drinking that much? And it wasn't just that night. Almost every evening, one gin and tonic turned into two. Maybe three. I often wondered "Am I drinking too much?"

Sometimes I would even stop for a few days, but I always went back. It never affected the rest of my life much, but I knew it wasn't doing me much good. And now, with the evidence before me, I knew I had to do something.

With new resolve, I poured the rest of the bottle of wine down the drain, along with the rest of the Tanqueray gin that had been stored in the freezer.

I had decided to quit drinking. Just like that.

Then I started reading blogs and found that Kristin of Better Now had just made the same choice. And recently Stefanie Wilder-Taylor had made some blogging-world waves by getting sober, too. I was in good company. I felt like a follower, but still.

I was proud of my decision, of my steely nerve. I told my friend who has been in AA for years what I was up to.

"Are you sure?" he asked. "What happened?"

"What do you mean, 'Am I sure, what happened?' I drank 3/4 of a bottle of wine," I said.

"Well, usually the women I know who quit drinking when they don't have a serious problem do it after they wake up after sleeping with some random guy," he said.

No. No random guy. Just shock at my behavior, which had seemed extreme to me. But held up in the light of day, it was starting to seem pretty mild.

This weekend, I saw Mr. Mojo, my ex-BF, famous ex-drunk and raconteur. Ironically, we met at our friend Jim's bar. Sitting on the patio sipping fizzy water with lime (me) and diet Coke (him), I asked him how long he had been sober now.

"Five years," he said, almost wonderingly.

He had once been a huge drunk. For about 30 years. Straight. The last time we broke up, he was drinking so much that he had pretty much given up eating - he got all the calories he needed from alcohol. He was THAT kind of drunk. I have no doubt that AA saved his life. He loves to joke about it, though.

"I quit drinking, too," I said. "Five days ago."

His eyes bulged out. "Why? What is WRONG with you?"

I explained the 3/4 bottle of wine thing.

"Ooh, 3/4 of a WHOLE BOTTLE?" he whooped, "You have to be KIDDING me. And now you're quitting drinking? That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard."

"I HATE YOU!" I shouted, smacking his leg. Probably only about the 5000th time I have ever said that to him. This time, I was laughing.

So if I go back to drinking, I have a good excuse. My two best friends who are involved in AA made me do it.

With a support group like this, I may need a liver transplant one of these days.


Loralee Choate said...

Reason 5,000 why I love you.

Look, if you are worried about how much you are drinking, then listen to yourself (like you don't know this, duh).


My hero.

For reals.

(Hell, I swear when I get unlazy I am going to google the hell out of every awesome "I've got your back" comment you have left and write a devotional to you on my blog with little hearts drawn all around them.) :) xoxoxo

Mrs. Flinger said...

That is my EXACT story. Like, EXACT. I ask "You think I'm a drunk?" all the time. My husband laughs. "Uh. four beers? No."

DUDE. FOUR BEERS. Like, a night.

So yea, I just (yesterday, actually) got pissed about the same "by myself nearly a bottle of wine") thing. Decided it's not helping my gut any.

But then my family is all, "Nah, comon, Leslie. You just fall asleep after two glasses. What's the harm?"

So I had another glass of wine tonight. One. And while I KNOW I can do moderation? Why do I need it at all, yaknow?

I'm here with ya, Sue. In this purgatory of alcoholism. Not quit drunks but not totally sober either.


Al_Pal said...

Gah, brutal. I have some friends who quit drinking at a young age, and have had some old AA people say disparaging things like, "I've spilled more booze than you ever drank!".

I wish you well.

Anonymous said...

You know you best, so screw 'em. Get to a meeting . . .

mayberry said...

Hey, mild is in the eye of the beholder. And I say trust your own self as the best beholder, right?

Gretchen said...

Eh, whatever. Doesn't have to be alcoholism. You'll feel better most mornings if you don't have a few drinks most nights. And save calories too. What better reasons do you need?

Anonymous said...

Yup! I do this periodically: Decide the drinking has gotten too regular or more excessive than I'd like and just stop.

To most people, the amount I'd be drinking seems minor, but to me it represented a red flag (especially coming from a family full of booze-hounds).

I think the mere fact that I can recognize it and adjust my behavior puts me in the clear, but I like to keep a handle on it anyway.

super des said...

Another good frined of mine also quit drinking recently. There ust be somethiing in the water. Er, wine.

Stillie said...

You can add me to that list of Bloggers who have been doing the AA thing. Sorta. Mine is a constant struggle.

I've learned you can't really compare your level of dependency to anyone else's. Your drinking made you uncomfortable, so you changed your habit. Good for you! You have to live with yourself.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

There is nothing wrong with not drinking.

For whatever reason is right for you.

angel apologist said...

Now, look here, Miss Cranky-Pants, I didn't mean to imply I thought YOU had woken up next to a random man.... which is a odd turn of phrase, anyway... like would that mean a man who works at Random House, like say the late Bennett Cerf ??? Waking up next to the long-deceased publishing legend and "What's My Line ???" panelist certainly would make one want to stop drinking.

j.sterling said...

LOL you are amazing.. and i am laughing.
i totally stopped drinking for SO LONG and people always were like "WHY DID YOU STOP? WHAT HAPPENED?!??!" as if some huge cosmic event forced me to stop. ever so slowly i have been drinking now and again.. never too many.. mostly just 1. but i think i'm ready to stop again. i just like being in 100% control all the time. and sinc ei hadn't drank in years.. that 1 drink makes me loopy to the extreme. HA but i just like to wake up the next morning feeling amazing, remembering everything i did the night before, and not ashamed because i was idiot. you know?

and mostly i like to remember the dumb shit everyone else did. lol

Anonymous said...

I remember, as a smug, I know everything 21 year old, that I told my Mom, based on her alcohol intack, she would be considered an alcoholic. How badly I must have hurt her. I think you are who you are, and a bottle of wine on your counter doesn't define that. You know. Alcohol is over rated anyway.

Ericka said...

i raise my coffee cup to you. it doesn't matter if you drink one glass of wine or polish off a keg anymore than it matters if you groped one guy or screwed your way through a football team. it's really how you are feeling and if you decide it's time to change... well, then it is. so, kudos to doing something that made you feel better about yourself. and if you decide later to go get completely sh*tfaced, call me, and i'll hold your hair back for you. ;-)

J said...

I love my wine. But lately I've gotten to the point where I'm drinking 3 glasses a night as well. Pretty much every night. I started dreaming that people thought I was an alcoholic. So I've cut back. Just in the last few days. Crazy, huh? The wine industry must be SUFFERING. ;)

I figure I'll still have wine when I want it, but I need to make sure that I really want it, and not just drink it out of habit. Because not having it, I don't miss it a bit. And maybe I'll stop at two glasses, rather than three. I'll probably drop a few pounds even. What a concept.

Elan Morgan said...

I love that you've listened to yourself and quit now before that habit turned into a whole bottle(s). Not everyone has to hit rock bottom.

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