Friday, July 08, 2005

Reflections on drinking alone

After a long, hard day, most people enjoy meeting each other for drinks and discussing their long, hard days. I myself used to regularly partake in this ritual, deriving some small amount of comfort from the knowledge that my friends also had unfulfilling jobs, deadbeat boyfriends, and families that seemed determined to derail any measure of success they might attain. After awhile, the burden seemed to get lighter until it was almost just funny. Lately, however, all this commisseration has begun to depress me, and in the face of talking about it with my friends, I sort of just want to go home and drink scotch in my bathtub and literally wallow in my problems, drinking until I no longer remember my name, much less my day. But drinking alone is stigmatized, the "first sign of alcoholism," something only losers do. So for awhile it remained a deep, dark fantasy of mine.

Until last night.

Yesterday, my boyfriend, who is possessed by bar examiners, was fighting with me. Rather than manifesting his possession in a cool way, like having his head spin around, speaking in tongues, or vomiting pure green bile Exorcist-style, it just makes him ornery and mean. Not only was I unhappy because of the fighting, I had had a long day at work and some bullshit to do at school after work. I was too tired to go out with friends, but definitely needed to take the edge off. So I did what any reasonable person would do: I put on a hat, quickly ducked into a liquor store, and grabbed a bottle of Black Label. I truly felt like I was breaking the law, like everyone in the store was staring at me, knowing what I was going to do with it and that they thought I was a huge loser. I stashed the bag in my purse and made my way to school with shame.

I got home at about 10:30 and immediately ran myself a bubble bath. I put some ice in a glass and estimated that when I go out drinking, I usually have about four drinks, so I should only have one for it to be a socially acceptable "nightcap." Apparently, bars use quite a lot more ice than I did. As I stepped out of the bath twenty minutes later and nearly fell flat on my face, I realized that I was really quite shitfaced and that I should probably get in bed and turn the phone off. I made it to bed, but when I woke up this morning (fresh as a daisy, I might add) and checked the phone, I realized that I had not turned it off, as was evidenced by the record of a phone call at 12:51 A.M. from my boyfriend to me that lasted one minute, eleven seconds. I spent most of the day today wondering what transpired during that one minute, eleven seconds. Turns out I just whimpered, "I'm so hammered" until he told me he'd call me back the next day.

Moral of the story: I do understand why people stigmatize drinking alone, but it worked out pretty well for me last night. Sometimes, it's better not to talk about your problems, and there's nothing like a little "nightcap" to put the demons to sleep.


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