There is a big cloud of alcohol in space many many light years away. Larger than our solar system. As well, in our Milky Way Galaxy, at Sagittarius B2, is a vast alcohol cloud that it is thought by scientists that it tastes a bit like raspberries and smells like rum. Alcohol is an organic compound made up of hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen. For such a simple molecule, it holds great power. Consider that we are made up of four main elements: hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon. So, alcohol—building block of life? Ironic isn’t it? Since alcohol often tears down lives.
You can read more about Alcohol In Space by clicking.
So we steer towards that alcohol cloud, safely park where we won’t have to drive again, and stick a big straw out of the Little Log Spaceship to have us a big ole raspberry-flavored rum drink party. Wheeeeee! Of course we can’t drink the alcohol in space—it’s full of poisons. But isn’t the alcohol we do drink a poison? Poison to our minds, bodies, families, friends, lovers, loved ones. If it is abused.
If it is abused. Again—if it is abused.
Now comes the hard part. I feel anxious even as I begin to write it publicly.
Last night I parked the Lil Log Spaceship, for I have a hard and fast rule I have never strayed from: no drinking and driving, and I drank too much. I did it with purpose. Nothing good ever comes out of saying, “Fuck it.” Once you utter those words, you are giving yourself permission to act like an idiot, an ass, or to be hurtful, or reckless, or stupid, silly, childish.
While I drank, I noted with distant fascination that I can hold more alcohol than I used to be able to. That somehow over the last year or so, I’ve built up a tolerance—one or two glasses of wine, or a bottle of beer, at a time. While the grownup rational side of my brain thought, “What are you doing? This isn’t healthy!” The “Fuck it” part of my brain laughed gleefully and went on social media and thought how witty and funny I was being because my inhibitions were released all willy nilly. A party of one in the Lonely Woman’s Galaxy slurping up the alcohol gas cloud at Sagittarius B2.
There was a time when I drank socially. Other than my mad-wild-partying teen years, I have not since then been a big drinker. There’s alcoholism in my family—my father stayed sober 50 years but his years of drinking took a heavy toll on his life and loved ones, and very small children—of which I was one.
Until last night, I never considered that alcohol had suddenly, sneakily, insidiously, wormed its way into my life as a Bad Friend, a very bad sucky friend who pretends they only want to be your friend and all the while they are sucking the life out of you and leading you down Bad Decision Making paths. Why, I told myself, I only drink a glass of wine or drink a beer every so often—though “every so often” began to mean almost every day. I told myself: “I don’t get drunk!” Though, last night I did, and I wasn’t sick or dizzy and I didn’t wake with a hangover—this sounds great, but it is not great. It means I have built a tolerance. It means my body and my brain are growing used to me poisoning myself.
But consider that most evenings I do not over-drink. I have one, and on occasion two drinks. In the big scheme of things that’s not so bad, right? Maybe not.
Until you look at your face in the mirror the morning after you drank too much and acted like an ass and begin taking stock of how you are using alcohol to cope with the anxiety, and with the loneliness, and with the stress. You are using alcohol to numb the fact that you are not writing and that has made you unhappy so you drink so you don’t feel unhappy but then you act like a ridiculous ass and that makes you more unhappy—and more anxious—and more alone. And the big ole ferris wheel of horror goes round and round and round and round and round. If you are looking up from below as the riders whizz by, you see faces lit up with terrified glee—a few gripping the bars and begging to be let off. You see yourself and you are not having fun.
You again consider that the thought you had while slamming down that alcohol last night is a thought you’ve had before over the last few months—the: “Wow, always before I was unable to drink this much without being dizzy and sick! Huh.” Oh well. La Tee Dah. Shrug! *Guzzle Guzzle Glub*
This morning, as I crawled out of bed after a sleepless night—for alcohol may put you to sleep right away but it will shake you the hell awake all night—and drank my coffee in the Little Log Spaceship, the realization and recognition of just where I am heading slapped me hard against my very hard peahead.
Here it is. The hard thing to say. What I didn’t see coming. What I don’t want to publicly admit but I am:
Alcohol is beginning to be a problem in my life. If I don’t jump off the Ferris Wheel of Horror, alcohol WILL be a problem in my life.
Alcohol is already a problem in my life.
I’ve watched as alcohol destroyed or near destroyed others’ lives and I always felt my Power and my Control over it. I was nearly arrogant in my complacent attitude towards alcohol despite my family history. Despite my own history from my teen years. Despite how lately my drinking to numb whatever I thought needed numbing was happening more often.
This Morning After I sit writing this and consider that if I am writing it, then I am living it. That if I am concerned over what seemed “innocent drinking” then it isn’t innocent. If I am sometimes an ass or out of control, or reckless, or maudlin, or giddy-then-depressed-then-regretful, then it is time to stop before it goes any further.
Like a very bad for me lover, I’m kicking alcohol out of my life. Forever? I don’t know. But it has to be until I know for sure I am not heading down a slippery path paved with Morning After regrets and a body that I have made healthy and strong over the years that alcohol will have no problems at all destroying. It has to be when I am not afraid of my drinking. It has to be No Alcohol until it has no power over me. When I am not lying to myself any longer about it.
Or when alcohol is not lying to me.
Because if I can’t stop after one, or if I look forward to that One far too fondly and anticipating that One too much, it is time to steer the Lil Log Spaceship away from the alcohol cloud.
And even as I write this, I am missing the person I was—the one who could sip on one drink once in a while and barely finish it before she felt all giddy and light-headed and would then just put it down. I miss that woman, but I’m not her right now. Maybe I’ll find her again. And maybe I won’t.
I love myself too much to let myself ever say, “Fuck it” to anything again. I love myself too much to poison myself and my thoughts and my dignity with alcohol. My dignity—just writing that I realize the truth: I care about my reputation and my dignity as a woman and a writer and an editor and a mother and a friend. Alcohol-induced “Fuck It’s” take away our dignity. Alcohol-induced buffoonery makes us look ridiculous. Makes us asses or assholes. And years of Living Right and Working Well and being proud of the reputation and life and work I have built can end in a destructive rubble after one night of Fuck It drinking.
I love myself, so I am going to prove it by taking care of myself. I am strong. I am independent. I am a woman who has much to lose. I am too smart for this. I am ready.
I feel relief now. As if the weight of those bottles has been on my shoulders pushing me into a hole. Free. Free. I feel free.
If you find yourself in my words, I hope you will love yourself and free yourself, too.
There is still time to click “like” or comment for the pound of Starbuck’s coffee drawing (below post). I’ll be drawing for that in about a week.
If you like Southern/Appalachian/Family Saga fiction (sometimes with a supernatural touch), then I hope you will consider one of my novels (or short story “snacks”) by clicking on this link to myAmazon Page. I appreciate your support! And I thank you, my readers.
I do also, suddenly, realize as I am about to publish this, that my Graces books have alcoholism- and alcohol-related themes to them. Huhn. Well now.