I Quit Drinking, Again

I quit drinking alcohol in June, six months ago when I started spending time with someone who does not enjoy the happy liquid brain refreshment of a marinating soak in a bottle of fermented buzz. Booze. I do miss it. Especially over the holidays. Every day I thought about how nice it would be to have a glass of wine. Or scotch. Or bourbon. Or gin. Or a Pacific Northwest style IPA. My taste buds perk up during the whisky drinking saloon scenes in a cowboy movie. I smell the gin swirling in James Bond’s martini. I want a glass with dinner. Also, before dinner and after dinner. My problem is moderation. I don’t seem to be able to stick with moderation. I open a bottle with the idea that I’m going to drink a limited amount. Then I drink the whole thing. And I never ever think I’m drunk. I don’t get drunk. I drink. What about you? 

Billie Best writes about how she quite drinking again.

The last time I quit drinking was 2014, so I’m due for a purge. Back then I embarrassed myself getting drunk on champagne punch at a friend’s holiday party. Too many times I didn’t remember driving home. Then on Christmas morning, I woke up with a mysterious blue bruise on my foot and no memory of what must have been a painful incident. So, signs from the Universe, a 2015 new year’s resolution, I abstained from alcohol for a year, and I thought it was forever. But in 2016, I met a guy who was a wine collector. He poured me a glass without even asking me if I wanted one, because who doesn’t want to drink a $100 bottle of wine? That was my slippery slope, and I was still on it when the pandemic hit.

Can you say Day Drinking? I’m sure you’ve seen the media coverage of lockdown alcohol consumption on the rise. I was living in the city because I wanted to be surrounded by good restaurants and fun things to do. When the virus hit and restaurant seating stopped, my local café began to sell whole bottles of wine for carry-out. No driving required. On the way home from my afternoon dog walk I could pick up a bottle and hug it all night long. And with it, two other habits emerged, overeating and not sleeping. You know the drill. One bad habit leads to another until they all blur together into a behavior pattern we call lifestyle. I was living a lifestyle young people dream of starting and old people dream of stopping. Our entertainment idealizes drinking, the mirror does not. 

Now I’m back on the wagon, dropped some weight and sleep better. But I do miss it. I miss the smell and the taste and the imaginary goodness that never really existed but lives on in my memories of holding the glass and bending my elbow. I miss drinking the way I miss smoking cigarettes. Yes, I’m also a nicotine addict, dopamine receptors open wide for the mind-altering substances that offer a quick fix, begging for satisfaction, that surge of euphoria that settles into a constant craving for more. So, January 2021. A fresh start. Wish me luck. 

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8 thoughts on “I Quit Drinking, Again

  1. I came here b/c I saw you are a fellow contributor to Manopause. As far as the subject at hand, I basically quit drinking after I had kids. Before that, my wife and I used to have a cocktail hour after work, and it was relaxing. But after the kids came it wasn’t fun — or relaxing — anymore. I’ve had an occasional beer since, but honestly it just doesn’t do anything for me anymore except give me a headache. Btw, love your dog!

    1. Hi, Tom. Thanks for chiming in here. I get how parenthood is a buzz kill. I quit smoking in 2003 when I started farming. Similarly, I was embarking on a caregiving mission I intended to enjoy and cigarettes were just too dangerous with all that hay around those old wooden buildings.

  2. Hello Billie!

    I Just read your post. Wow! Could I identify with almost all of it! Except I never drank during a pandemic…

    I dragged bottom in my drinking for 5 years, even after reading Ann Lander’s column about how “as a remover of things, alcohol has no equal.” I know, I’m dating myself here, this was when Ann and Abby were still on this plane of existence.
    I started drinking at age 13, and finally surrendered to my alcoholism at age 42 by going into a rehab. And then placed into the welcoming arms of Alcoholics Anonymous.

    That was over 25 years ago–July 11, 1995. I raised 4 children, one dog, three guinea pigs, and numerous cats as an alcoholic mom. Sometime single, sometime with whoever happened to be the current flavor of the month. My third husband was a one night stand that lasted for 10 years. He was good daddy material and helped me raise those kids and critters. Then we both got sober. The divorce was amicable and we remain thusly also to this day.

    My fourth (and final husband) has never seen me drunk. We’ve been together for 22 of my sober years, and he’s never been drunk a day in his life. Some would have called it and him boring, but I call it attracting to yourself someone who is on the same life path. And at that time, at almost 3 years in sobriety I was ready to live life on life’s terms by walking down a different street.

    Life didn’t immediately turn into a bed of roses by any stretch of the imagination. And for many of those early years I attended AA meetings daily. I was learning to re-build my internal “home”. The one I grew up in was fashioned out of twigs and straw and I wondered why every time a strong wind blew it would fall down and I’d be back looking up from inside the bottom of a bottle.

    Today I don’t attend as many Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, but when covid hit, in the early days, and Zoom was just starting, it was the first place I went back to for solace and company. It was like going home.

    Thank you for the memory greener with your post. I would not trade my worst day sober for my best day drunk. It’s taken me a long time to be in acceptance of what is. But life is truly remarkable and juicy– covid, bad hair and all. I don’t have to try and fix what is around me. I no longer have to be the actor, director, and stage hand all at once. However, I do get to live life on my little part of the planet, one glorious day at a time.

    My utmost best to you on your path, don’t give up before the miracle happens.

    1. Gail, thank you for sharing your story and the wisdom you’ve earned. I’m glad you found your way through all of it to be here now with support for me. Very, very kind of you.

  3. I hear ya, Bil. I do consider myself an actual ‘social’ drinker. I never drink at home, spending the extra cash on miller lite at the Brendan Behan. But since covid i’ve had, count em, 9 beers since last March and only when talking to a friend online with whom I drank at the B. I don’t miss. I like saving a buck a month. But once back to ‘regular life’ I’m sure Ill be back at it. There’s also something about when in Romantic Rome. An easier time of indulgence or the lack of it based on who were with in the heart.

  4. I decided to quit drinking for the month of January. After my mom went into the hospital in September and then died, I drank and ate my feelings. Since my pants no longer fit and I’m not in a financial position to buy a new wardrobe, I figure cutting out the wine (and the subsequent snacking that goes along with it) will surely help me drop some weight.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Pamela. I know how easy it is to drink grief and sadness. Hopefully you will find another way to process those complicated feelings. Big hugs to you.

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