I started drinking when I was 13-years-old. In a nuclear family composed mainly of women, I think my dad enjoyed having a drinking buddy. I was sorta the boy he never had. At least he was upfront about drinking. He’d hand me a beer while my mom silently washed her hands of the matter. I could either drink unfiltered in front of them, or they could pretend that they’d raised a benign straight A parochial student who never drank wine coolers or played spin the bottle in the basement with friends.
By the time I landed in bear territory, I thought I was indestructible. I could out-run, out-drink, yet under-weigh everyone I knew in college. I bounced from the dorms to the co-ops to the fraternities, boozing up like Betty Ford on New Year’s Eve. I ended the night at Phi Tau’s Goldschlager party and began the morning schlumped against a toilet on the bathroom floor of my sorority. I oozed in and out of consciousness. I remember slurring all night, “Ooooh, pretty gold flakes. Is that real gold?” By the time I wizened up, it was too late.
I felt so spinningly nauseous, I considered a 911 preventative death dial. Maybe they could pump my tummy like they do with people who overdose on sleeping pills? Wait. If I survive, they’ll send me to rehab for drinking underage and everyone will graduate and I’ll be the old loser who couldn’t handle her alcohol and couldn’t figure out how to nurse her hangover. Mommy! Should I call my mom? She’ll be mad, but at least she’ll make sure I don’t die!
Oh please God please. I promise if I come out of this thing alive, I will never ever drink again.
You know how that goes. I survived, obviously.
Drinking has been a part of my life for over two decades. Twenty years of vodka shots, keg stands, binge drinking, vomit, blackouts, alcoholics anonymous, wine tasting. Every so often, I try to take a break. I like to detox before Burning Man and after. Unfortunately, I didn’t stick with my pre-Burn promise. A lot of Burners do some kind of cleanse. A friend of mine said that not until after five weeks did he realize true clarity. His comment really stood out to me. As much as I like a glass of wine or two or three after work, I want to know what it’s like to be productive after hours. I want to be a better writer since my writing is still at the same shitty level it was a few months ago.
September 7th marked the first day of my detox. I’m very much looking forward to a month of sobriety, productivity, and truth.