Thursday, December 13, 2012

Firewater

This blog is not just about how I'm trying to find a good job. I won't have dug out of the titular hole as soon as I ace an interview, shaking hands with a suited CEO who says, "Welcome aboard, Chapman!" I won't be writing some final post from my office with a view of swans gliding on a lake or something, typing "Success achieved, folks! Signing off here!" on my work-issued laptop before rearing back in my fancy reclining office chair, crossing my legs with my shoes resting on the desk in a most insouciant manner, folding my arms behind my head, and exhaling a sigh of deepest contentment and fulfillment.

It'll take more than that for me to have dug out of my particular hole. Although I'm not gonna lie; a view of swans would be pretty kickass.

I feel a little loth to describe myself as someone with "problems." I'm sure part of it is that I'm just so dang lucky in my life. I grew up in a happy, loving family; my folks are still together, and my brother and sister and I actually like one another. Our family was upper-middle-class, meaning we went to the beach and sometimes DisneyWorld, went out to eat and to a movie every Friday night (a favorite tradition of our dad's), lived in a big house in a nice safe neighborhood, never worried about money, and my siblings and I got a lot of help paying for college from our parents.

I'm ridiculously healthy; I have never been a patient at the hospital other than when I was born, have zero medical issues unless you count having to wear contacts, and take no prescription medications. I have never been any sort of victim of a crime, or even of bullying. (The closest I ever came to getting picked on at school was when two guys in my trigonometry class decided to start referring to me as "Casper the Friendly Ghost" due to my pale skin. Not exactly a heart-rending episode in my life.) I've never been in a serious accident, car or otherwise. I haven't had to live through a natural disaster. All of the guys I've dated have been nice (or I wouldn't have gone out with them in the first place).  

The only bad or hard thing I've ever had to deal with was my roughly decade-long (all of my twenties) relationship with a man who has severe manic depression, suicidal impulses, a habit of cutting himself, and who was unemployed nearly the entire time we were together, with the exception of two months there at the end when he got a job in the warehouse of a hardware store.

Also, I didn't even start drinking until I was a few weeks shy of 28 years old, I have never done drugs, and I have never smoked. I don't overeat or throw up my food or have any other addictions or faulty psychological happenings going on in the ol' noggin.

So to say something like, "I have a drinking problem" feels weird to me.

It feels like I'm lying, for attention or to create a bump of drama in the otherwise relative flatline of my life. It feels like I'm an actress in a bad TV movie. You know the joke about how "I can quit any time I want!"? Well, I feel like that. Close friends and my boyfriend have basically told me: "Christie, you have a drinking problem." And I usually go along with it to be polite, but part of me truly doesn't believe it. After all, I only drink before entering or while in a social setting -- a club, a party. I don't come home after a hard day at work and "drink my troubles away" or anything. There is currently beer (our housemate's) and wine (a bottle that was a housewarming gift from my boyfriend's parents, and a bottle that our housemate has cooked with) in our house -- and all of it holds zero allure for me. When someone says they're concerned, part of me thinks, "Oh no, I am freaking out so-and-so. I'll go easier on the booze next time." I always feel like I have control over it.

And then something like last night happens -- I find myself parked on a side street in DC at 8:30 on a Wednesday night, taking swigs of gimmicky pumpkin-pie-flavored vodka from the bottle I have in my trunk for pre-gaming before going into a club or party. Last night I remember holding the bottle up to see how much I had drunk the time before -- the time before being exactly two weeks prior, before going into the same every-other-Wednesday club event (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, the alternative-'80s night at Little Miss Whiskey's). The time before being the first time I had taken a single sip from this particular bottle. 

The bottle was half empty.

And it was also half full, of vodka for me to keep on drinking in my parked car merely two weeks after I had gotten so drunk that two friends insisted I spend the night in their guest room. So drunk that there are still shadows of puke on my favorite winter coat, so drunk that I don't even remember puking. After a certain point in that night, I remember nothing. I was so out of it that I didn't think to call my wonderful, patient, supportive boyfriend who was waiting for me at our home. I didn't call him until I awoke at 6:30 a.m., jolted awake by an unfamiliar alarm clock going off somewhere in my friends' house. For a few seconds, I did not know where I was.

Last night, looking at the bottle that was both half empty and half full, I actually thought, "How did I not die?" Because after apparently drinking half of a large bottle of vodka, I'd had more strong drinks at the club. I told my boyfriend that I wouldn't do that again, that "I have got to get rid of the bottles of booze in my trunk."

They're still in there. Several. The pumpkin-pie vodka. Two partially drunk bottles of peach-tea-flavored vodka. A bottle of red-velvet-cupcake wine that is only full because I couldn't get the cork out; I'd bought it (settling for wine from a grocery store in lieu of my usual vodka because I was nowhere near an ABC liquor store) to gird my nerves prior to a nude photo shoot with a photographer pal. And others. I don't even remember what else. (I'm sure it's all flavored vodka; I go for the gimmicky, sweet stuff, and I've learned that vodka goes down easier for me than other liquors, and the hangovers are less severe.) Sometimes the bottles roll and rattle around back there when I drive.

Last night I parked my car, and I popped the trunk, and I got out of my car, and I pulled the bottle out of the trunk. I got back in my car and I put the bottle in the cup holder. I might have hesitated a moment, but that's only because it struck me how odd it felt to be doing this, to be knowingly doing something stupid. To be knowingly doing something you know that your beloved significant other does not want you to do. To be knowingly doing something that you know, from past experience, leads to noplace good and could lead to someplace worse than you have ever been. It could lead to death, for me and for other people. I mean, I'm not being dramatic -- that is a real risk here.

But I picked up the bottle and I took a swig. And I took another swig. And I kept taking swigs. Because I never feel like I don't have control.

So in order for me to dig myself out of the hole, I have to fix more than just my present job situation. And I have to do more than just pour the trunk-booze down the drain.

I have to admit that I am a person who has problems.

1 comment:

  1. I have just come to a realization like this about food. I never carried TOO much weight for it to ever seem like a problem, but I have a sweet tooth I am having trouble harnessing. It feels ridiculous and I don't want to admit there's this unnameable thing that has power over me.

    With drinking and eating, I think if it is something so compelling we do it even if we know it's bad for us or think we shouldn't, it's a problem. I too, will say when I pick up a cookie, fuckit, I'm not that heavy and I want this.

    I don't know what to do about all this but it feels important to admit, right? Like it's not just cliche that that's the first step. -Hol

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