DAY 1: November 20
Yep. That’s right. Gotta start from scratch: Mama got drunk last night.
It wasn’t anything epic. I didn’t go on a three-day binge of whiskey, cocaine, and prostitutes or anything. Didn’t black out and get weirdly emotional, crying and screaming over some sort of point I thought I was making. Didn’t wake up in jail or the hospital. Totally normal night of harmless drinking.
It was so without incident that I questioned whether or not I should even count it. Whether I should keep on going without setting myself back, make it to DAY 50. No one would really know the difference. I mean, some people, very, very few would know…the people I drank with. It’s not like I caved in and just bought a giant bottle of wine to gobble down alone, bathing in my own misery and self-pity. And it’s not like I was acting a fool last night, to the point where I was obviously gone. I put myself in a situation where alcohol would be free and flowing and just went with it. I was in very good company; I was in great spirits. I wasn’t drinking because I was depressed or because I hated myself. I drank because it was fun and I felt like doing it.
So yes…I was toying with the idea of chalking it off as one night without setting myself back to Day 1… but it didn’t feel …100% right. Made me feel a bit cheap, actually. Even if no one else ever mentioned last night again, part of me would feel like a sham. Then again, Day 1 sounds pretty rough. I have to start all over again? Maybe I could just set myself back 15 days. I mean, I did have a great time…who’s going to judge me?
So clearly I was on the fence over what to do. Do I pretend it never happened and tread on with my sobriety? Do I compromise the days a bit instead of starting at the very beginning? That sounds like it wouldn’t work without an explanation. People reading this might notice a jump from 46 to 31 and question it.
What am I even counting up to? And am I counting the days I can go without getting drunk or getting drunk without incident? That one was an easy one: getting drunk. Getting drunk without incident will eventually lead to getting drunk with incident. Okay, so I know that much. But how many drinks qualify me as drunk? As I’ve said before, I’ve had a few days where I had A beer or A glass of wine. I didn’t qualify those rarities because they were literally a single drink over the course of at least an hour, usually to kill time while I was waiting for someone to get out of work. But last night was not a single drink. BUT I managed to pace myself. BUT I’m also not the tank I once was, in fact my tolerance was comparable to a 7-year-old’s. 4 or 5 drinks over the course of a night can now make this 98 lb. bundle of sobriety pretty fucking tipsy. AND we’re not talking about beer or wine. We’re talking about my Achilles heel of alcohol. A very specific temptation that has gotten me a lengthy police record, a good amount of hospital trips, and a whole lot of fucking fighting. My Irish lover, the only man I was ever faithful to. Mr. John Jameson.
It was like sleeping with an ex …an ex that you know is no good for you. The relationship you once had was long, arduous, and toxic…but god dammit, the sex was fucking awesome. Yeah. It was pretty much exactly like that. BUT it was free and staring me in the face, like your ex-girlfriend bending over and presenting you with some hot, angry doggy-style. AND I was in a good state of mind. ALSO, I did pour myself baby ¾ oz. shots in replace of the 2 oz. pour that was once my standard. BUT i’m beginning to sound like a wet noodle with all of this wishy-washy reasoning.
A Conversation With My Better Half…of Myself
Denzel: What the fuck does that title even mean? Never mind. I get it. It’s stupid, but I get it. All right. So you fucked up.
Me: Fucked up? See…that’s where I’m kind of having issues. Seems kind of harsh for what actually happened. Fucked up. I didn’t really fuck up anything last night.
Denzel: Oh, I’m sorry, my mistake. So did you, or did you not, realize that you were a hot mess of asshole, and then decide to start writing a blog about being sober and sticking to it 40-some days ago?
Me: 46. And yes. That’s how it started but…
Denzel: But what? I ain’t got times for buts here, kid. I’m Denzel motherfucking Washington. Stop being a wishy-washy little bitch.
Me: I had a feeling I was coming off like that. Okay so I need to make a clear and concise decision here.
Denzel: All right, good. Now, were you drunk last night?
Me: Define drunk.
Denzel: Seriously. You don’t know what drunk is. That’s what you’re giving me right now to work with. Do you need me to make a mothafucking checklist that I need to go over with you every single time you think you might have been drunk? Do you need that to happen? Really? You can’t figure out the difference between drunk and not drunk on your own?
Me: Um…well, technically, it would still be “on my own” even with the checklist since like…but no. It’s fine. I don’t need a checklist. Don’t make a checklist…I can…
Denzel: Nah, you want a CHECKLIST. I’M MAKING YOU A MOTHAFUCKING CHECKLIST. This is why I get paid the big bucks.
Me: I’m paying you?
Denzel: SHUT THE FUCK UP. ::pulls out clipboard from leather jacket:: All right, Question 1: Did you cause any physical damage to yourself, another person, or any public/personal property that was not yours?
Me: Nope. Didn’t even get spill a drink on anything.
Denzel: Did you get arrested? Wake up in jail? Because you know if that shit ever happens again, you in there for a long fucking time.
Me: No, obviously not. Can we skip ahead a little or something? You already know all of this shit.
Denzel: You wanted a fucking checklist; we’re doing a fucking checklist. Question 3: Did you offend anyone? Piss anyone off?
Me: No? No more than I would sober, I think.
Denzel: All right. Did you spend a shitload of money? Did you wake up flat broke? Spent all your money on alcohol the night before, so you had to turn tricks just to get home?
Me: What? No, I never had to do that. And I didn’t spend a dime on alcohol. Just a train ticket to Philadelphia which I bought sober. After careful deliberation , it was the best solution to my whole “get another parking ticket in Philly, you’re getting the boot” issue. Oh, and a $7 cab.
Denzel: Because you were too DRUNK to walk?
Me: No! Jesus. It was fucking cold out. And I didn’t even have to pay for that, but I insisted because I didn’t pay for anything else. So yeah. $14 for a round-trip ticket to Philly that saved me the stress of street parking, gas, and an $18 parking garage fee. And one cab.
Denzel: All right, all right, good. So let’s see, so far we covered non-offensive…didn’t go to jail…didn’t hurt self or others…didn’t make it rain on strippers…
Me: Well, that wasn’t really offered as an option last night, but okay. If that opportunity had presented itself, I probably would’ve tried to make it rain on some strippers. Even sober.
Denzel: Who the fuck wouldn’t? All right, where were we…Question 5: Did you lose shit? Like vital shit, not like a lip gloss. Your wallet, your keys, your pants, your dignity, your cell phone? Any type of shit like that?
Me: No, actually. Totally intact with my belongings.
Denzel: Did you wake up not knowing where you were?
Me: No. Totally lucid memories of the night before.
Denzel: Wake up next to an ugly?
Me: Fuck no. Never again.
Denzel: Thank God. Some of those guys back in the day…
Me: I know, I know, shut up, moving on.
Denzel: Sorry. Did you black out?
Denzel: Did you brown out?
Denzel: Did you embarrass yourself? Fall off your chair and onto your face? Fall into a pile of trash and refuse to get back up because you thought it was comfortable? Flash a tit? Flash your cooch? Pee your pants? Pee in a gutter? Pee the bed? Pee in a trashcan thinking it was a toilet? Did you pee anywhere last night that wasn’t a toilet?
Me: Whoah. A lot of focus on urination there. But no. No to all of that.
Denzel: Did you feel good last night? No crying, no yelling, no unfiltered, unrequited rage? Any of that shit?
Me: I felt good. No emotional breakdowns or over-the-top theatrics. I was fine. A little more giggly than usual, a little less eloquent, but that’s it.
Denzel: Good. All right, last question, and I want you to think really long and hard about this one before you answer it. Have you experienced any negative consequences, anything at all, that are a result of how much you drank last night? Anything minor? From last night until right now?
Me: …No? Well…no. Not really. How minor are we talking about?
Denzel: Minute. Come on, spit it out. You know where I’m going with this one here, you’re having a fucking conversation with yourself right now for God’s sake. Just say it. Use your words.
Me: All right, well I felt shitty. Today. Especially this morning.
Denzel: Shitty. Shitty how? Mentally or physically?
Me: Uh…both, kind of? Mostly physical. 80% physical. 90% physical. Final answer.
Denzel: Good. Now, describe how you felt, physically.
Me: All right, well my head hurt. A lot. Especially in the morning. Didn’t help that there was literally someone drilling at 8 AM directly outside of my friend’s apartment. It felt like a mirroring of what was happening inside my head made physical. So yeah, that sucked. Dissipated throughout the day, though.
Denzel: All right…keep going…
Me: Uhhh…slightly nauseated for the majority of the day, exhausted because I didn’t sleep well or comfortably… um…slothful? That’s all I got. Just overall moderate shittiness, I guess. Nothing too crazy.
Denzel: Okay. Good. Now stay with me on this one for a second: Headaches, nausea, exhaustion, laziness, irritability…
Me: I didn’t say I was irritable.
Denzel: Oh, I was with you the whole day. You were a fucking irritable motherfucker. So, we take all of what you just said…these symptoms…what do they add up to? Come on, you got it…think hard…one word…
Denzel: HUNGOVER! Hooray! You figured it out! Your only negative consequence was a HANGOVER!
Me: Um…cool? Go…me?
Denzel: And who GETS hangovers?
Denzel: DRUNK PEOPLE! Two in a row! You’re on a role!
Denzel: So let me ask you one more time. Were you drunk last night?
Me: Ugh, fine. Yes.
Denzel: Checklist completed. YOU GOT DRUNK. Don’t ever make me pull out a mothafucking checklist again. Crazy ass white girl. All right. So now that we figured out what drunk is and have concluded that you were in fact, drunk last night, we can move on. Now, the occurrences of last night would have been completely fine, even expected, for a typical person of your age, right? One fun drunken night, every once in a while, no harm, no foul, right? It’s not like you even had to work the next day, who cares if you had a little hangover? You’re 25! Live it up a little, right?
Me: Yes, but…
Denzel: But you’re NOT a typical 25-year-old person, now are you?
Me: No. I’m not.
Denzel: Getting drunk once every now and then WOULD be fine if you were a typical 25-year-old, which you are not. You can’t just get drunk every now and then. You know what’s going to happen if you start thinking like that again. You tried that solution before, haven’t you? Didn’t work out too well for you, did it?
Me: No. It didn’t work out. It would only work for a little bit. Then it would snowball and get bad.
Denzel: So you had to quit drinking ALL TOGETHER, didn’t you? Not only that, you chose to WRITE ABOUT it. Make that writing PUBLIC. WHY did you do that? Some people would’ve just joined AA, gotten a therapist, written a haiku, call a hotline…WHY did YOU decide to share the part of yourself that you were most ashamed of to the entire world? For everyone and anyone to see? People who drink, people who don’t drink, people who judge, people who know you, people who don’t… WHY would someone DO something like that?
Me: …It was the only way to keep me honest. With myself.
Denzel: NOW you’re thinking. You had me worried for a second back there with that checklist bullshit.
Me: I never said I needed a checklist…
Denzel: So you got drunk when you said you weren’t going to get drunk anymore. You fucked up.
Me: I did.
Denzel: But you didn’t fuck up THAT bad.
Me: You’re right…I didn’t make anyone angry or hate me or anything. I’m not arrested.
Denzel: So you want me to congratulate you for not getting arrested? Not having more people hate you as a result of your drinking? Is that where we’re at right now?
Me: But…you just said…
Denzel: YOU. FUCKED. UP. There’s no compromising here, because that’s how you had to make it so that you could get your shit together. None of this “I didn’t fuck up that badly” wishy-washy bullshit. Do you want to be Mr. White or Mr. Blond?
Denzel: TRICK QUESTION. You want to be MR. PINK. Maybe he looked like a little bitch sometimes, but MAYBE he was the only mothafucker who lived THROUGH that fucking movie, so who’s the real G in the end? You want to be Mr. Blond, you want to be cool, you want to dance to “Stuck in the Middle With You” while severing a guy’s hand? Sure! Sounds fucking dope! Sounds like a badass, hood mothafucka right there. Sounds like HE GOT SHOT at the end of that movie. What you need is a level head. You gotta be Steve Buschemi. Maybe you look like a little bitch sometimes, but fuck it, you gotta do what you gotta do if you want to survive to the end, you feel me?
Me: …You never said Mr. Pink was an option.
Denzel: Shut the fuck up. Quit arguing with me. I’m you, you sound like a fucking crazy person.
Me: Truth. Got you. All right. I’m Mr. Pink. What are my options?
Denzel: Options. I like that. Mr. Pink thought about options. All right. You have four options. ONE: You throw in the towel; you go on a binger for a few days just to push off the inevitable, which will have grown over the course of those days into one massive, brutal hangover.
Me: Jesus Christ. No, next choice. That sounds fucking awful.
Denzel: Very good. A few months ago, Option 1 wouldn’t have sounded so crazy to you. 50/50 says you would’ve GONE with Option 1. So you’re improving.
Denzel: TWO: You hate yourself for fucking up one night, you beat yourself up for it, end up hating yourself altogether, and most likely end up back at Option 1.
Me: No. These are awful suggestions so far. Keep going.
Denzel: OPTION THREE: You pretend like last night never happened, you keep on writing like it never happened, you keep going with the sobriety thing without mentioning your little hiccup; win win.
Me: I was thinking of doing that. Doesn’t sound very Denzel-like though now.
Denzel: YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT THAT DOESN’T SOUND VERY DENZEL-LIKE NOW. THAT IS SOME WISHY-WASHY, WATERED DOWN SINBAD SHIT RIGHT THERE. DO YOU WANT TO BE SINBAD OR DO YOU WANT A FUCKING ACADEMY AWARD, BECAUSE THE LAST TIME I CHECKED SINBAD WASN’T IN ANY INSPIRATIONAL MOTHAFUCKIN MONTAGES LATELY AND THAT’S WHAT YOU REALLY WANT, RIGHT?
Sorry Sinbad. But fuck you.
Me: Jesus Christ, yes, that’s what I want. Stop yelling at me. You’re stressing me out.
Denzel: YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT I’M STRESSING YOU OUT. YOU WERE GOING TO GO WITH SOME PUSSY-ASS, FINE HOLIDAY FUN, EASY-WAY-OUT CLOWNSHOES TYPE SHIT, YOU SHOULD BE STRESSED THE FUCK OUT RIGHT NOW. YOU WANT A MONTAGE, NOT SOME STAND-UP SHIT FROM THE 90’S. DO YOU WANT TO WEAR ZOOBAS? DO YOU WANT TO WEAR A MOTHAFUCKIN’ TRACKSUIT WITH A NEON PATTERN OR DO YOU WANT TO WEAR A BADASS FUCKING BLACK LEATHER JACKET LIKE A STRAIGHT PIMP? DO YOU WANT TO BE DENZEL WASHINGTON, OR DO YOU WANT TO BE SINBAD?
Me: Leather jacket. Denzel…I want to be Denzel.
Denzel: I CAN’T HEAR YOU. DO YOU WANT TO BE SINBAD OR DO YOU WANT TO BE DENZEL?
Me: I WANT TO BE DENZEL.
Denzel: Then you’re going to have to go with Option 4: MAN THE FUCK UP. You fucked up, you know you fucked up, you gotta man the fuck up and own up to that shit. START FROM DAY 1. You start compromising shit, not counting certain days, being a little bitch about it, Option 3 is going to turn into Option 2 and then Option 2 is going to turn into Option 1 and then what?
Me: I have no options.
Denzel: YOU HAVE NO OPTIONS. And we both know what it feels like to have NO options.
Me: It feels fucking terrible.
Denzel: It is FUCKING TERRIBLE. So you know what you got to do. Handle the damn thing.
Me: You’re right. I’ve got to man the fuck up and handle my shit. Start from Day 1 all over again.
Denzel: Look to your chest, kid. Your phoenix isn’t even finished yet; it ain’t even colored in all the way. You still got a ways to go before you fully rise. Don’t go beating yourself up about this shit. You’re doing the right thing. Day 1 ain’t so bad. You did it once already. Sometimes you have to go back and start over so you can remember what exactly it is you’re fighting for, you feel me?
Me: I feel you.
Denzel: Alright, I’m out. Shit’s exhausting.
Me: Thanks Denzel.
Denzel: It’s what I’m here for. Just remember…never be Sinbad.
Me: Fuck Sinbad. Swag.
Denzel: Swag all day.
…So yeah. THAT happened.