I went on a bit of a bender this weekend. Which, for me, is nowhere near as wild as it sounds. Friday night happy hour with a few friends, and then more wine at home after the kids were in bed. Saturday a complete write-off for me. And then Sunday, after my weekly bar shift, I had a few glasses at the bar and then another at home with dinner. Today, I can hardly keep my eyes open. My head feels foggy. Writing this post is excruciating; in fact, I’d like to not write it. But I wanted to write every day. I didn’t write yesterday because I was too busy pretending to be a woman with no responsibility. So here I am today, showing up even though it ain’t pretty.
I suppose this weekend was different because I didn’t feel like I was drinking to numb out the overwhelm of a day spent with kids. Although, in retrospect, given the number of times I turned to my friends and wailed “I wish I didn’t have to go home!” I actually was drinking to numb out. It just felt fun because I was in the company of other adults, somewhere other than in my own chaotic home. But at its root, it was still a means of escaping my reality.
I spend a lot of time contemplating my relationship to alcohol. My grandfather was an alcoholic, and it’s what killed him. I was given my first drink when I was thirteen: my grandma made me a screwdriver on Christmas Eve. Vodka and orange juice was my drink of choice throughout my teens. Like most people, alcohol emboldens me. It makes social situations easier. It makes me feel brave and like I can say or do all the things I usually am too restrained to act upon. And now that I have kids, it feels like something I’m sort of expected to do. My mommy juice at the end of the day. An easy ticket to unwind.
Except that, for me, it keeps me from doing the things that actually help me to unwind. Yesterday it kept me from writing. Saturday it kept me from doing…most things. It’s kept me from getting any exercise over the weekend, or from meditating or reading. I’d like to be the gal who can have a glass on occasion and then walk away. But it takes me a lot of mental effort to actually make that choice to walk away. I wonder, could I have had as much fun this weekend drinking soda water? And would the people around me have accepted my choice to just drink soda water? So often, I wonder if it’s best for me to just not drink at all, at least for now. What would that look like? How might my life change?
I feel the need to add a disclaimer here: I’m examining my own experiences. I’m not suggesting that everyone needs to stop drinking. I’m not trying to shame anyone. Drinking is getting in the way of my life, as I would like to be living it. It’s getting in the way of my efforts at happiness in such a way that it allows me to live briefly in an alternate reality: when I come back to the truth, though, it’s a let down. I can’t accept this life I’ve got if I’m constantly trying to escape it. Maybe there’s a way to make alcohol a part of it, but right now, I’m not so sure I’m capable of that.
Image via Flickr user Evan Wood.