OK, So I Have a Drinking Problem
I drink too much. How do I know I drink too much, you ask? Because I’m drinking as I type this. One hand on the keyboard, the other on a glass.
My drinking has never caused me to lose my home, my family, or my career, but I don’t have those things to lose in the first place. The argument could be made that I don’t have them because, instead, I have a drinking problem. A problem that, previous to (again, one-handedly) typing these words, I have chosen to ignore, and to make excuses for, for far too long.
I have one rule—I don’t start drinking until the sun goes down—which, for years, I’ve used as proof of my lack of a problem. (Note: Said rule is null and void whenever I am on anything remotely resembling a vacation.) Day in, day out, I pat myself on the back and admire my restraint while eagerly watching the sun wane in the distance. Assuming, of course, I’ve opened the curtains in my apartment enough to watch it.
Waiting until nightfall to make myself a cocktail, however, is an easily achievable goal when it takes all day to recover from the hell I put my body through the previous night.
It turns out having a bottle in front of me and a frontal lobotomy are essentially the same thing. Days bleed into each other, interchangeable in their banality. I wake up at noon, stumble around in a haze, stare at the comparatively happy lives of my more productive, well-adjusted friends as they play out on myriad social media sites and slowly, methodically, drink coffee. So much coffee. The coffee is a necessity, its brown pallor echoing the bags I constantly have under my tired eyes. I live on borrowed time, operating under a foggy veil when the sun is at its peak and frantically rushing whenever I have to leave the confines of the glorified room I call an apartment. The ceaseless rush renders every situation, important or not, dire. I find myself, more and more, apologizing for my lateness, sending desperate texts at stoplights in between punching the dashboard in frustration. The traffic upsets me, sure, but I’m more upset with myself.
I’m upset that I’ve yet again stayed up, alone in my apartment, until the wee hours of the morning, watching music videos on YouTube I’ve seen a million times and sending embarrassing emails, which I type with one eye closed, the other bloodshot and squinting, because I can’t see straight. I rarely, if ever, reread these emails after I send them. I don’t want to know what’s in them.
My productivity suffers. I tell myself and everyone else within earshot that I have writer’s block, but the reality of the matter is that I have reality block. The idea of operating in an unaltered state terrifies me. I am afraid of the stark truths that come with complete and utter clarity. So I drink.
Sometimes a friend will tell me, wide-eyed and in a concerned tone, that they’ve been drinking too much—three, sometimes four, nights in a row. Depending on my level of intoxication, I’ll either feign concern or inform them I’ve drank every night for nigh on a decade. Depending on their level of intoxication, they’ll either find this information amusing or depressing. Either way, I feel nothing. So I drink.