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?
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.