Thursday, December 13, 2012

On the Night of the Geminid Meteor Shower

All of these bottles were in my trunk just now. I poured out the remaining booze (except for a bottle of wine whose cork I couldn't get out; I'll probably give that one away) into the gutter near my car. I'll recycle the bottles, of course. There were three bottles of wine, one bottle of limoncello, and two bottles of vodka. All clinking around in my trunk. At the same time. I mean, this was just the current batch -- I've been pre-gaming with trunk booze for two or three years now.

Of course, it's easy to pour out booze. It barely even fazed me to do it. There was a moment, when pouring out the first one -- the bottle of pumpkin-pie vodka I drank from the last two times I pre-gamed, including the night I woke up in my friends' guest room and apparently barfed all over my coat and didn't call my boyfriend until 6:30 a.m. I watched that one pour out and thought, "That vodka will not be going into my body. It's gone now. It's on the ground, soaking the brown leaves, instead of in my bloodstream and spurring me to do things I'll probably forget or regret."

That part's easy.

What's also easy is going to the ABC store to buy more. I can go into the liquor store (I now know where one is near my new home) as if I'm just popping into the grocery store for milk and bread. (I never leave the liquor store after purchasing booze without feeling as if I've somehow just gotten away with a crime. But then, I grew up in a teetotaler household in which even cooking with wine was a sin.) Thirty seconds later, I can be on my way back to my car with fresh trunk booze.

I'm not saying that I'm going to totally stop drinking. Maybe one day I'll decide that's what I have to do, but for now I just want to stop doing the really stupid stuff -- sitting in my car for half an hour or more pouring hard liquor into my body in order to feel less shy.

I've had nights when I've drunk a couple of cocktails and had a good time.

I've had nights when I've abstained from alcohol that were terrifying, nights when I drove home safe but full of self-loathing, wondering why it's so hard for me to just relax and talk to people and have fun. Sober nights when I've stood still when the music was playing, paralyzed with self-consciousness. Dry nights when I've had friends beckon for me to join them on the dancefloor, saying, "C'mon, everybody looks stupid! Looking stupid is nothing to be afraid of!" As if my shyness is a force I can reason with.

And of course there have been bad drinking nights (OK, really bad drinking nights), and good sober nights.

I don't know what I'll ultimately decide to do, or even if I'll ultimately decide to do anything. All I know is that drinking in my car from a giant bottle of booze is stupid. So I am not going to do it anymore. It's easy to say that, though. We'll see how it goes. On this once-a-year night when meteors are streaking through the sky, it felt like as good a time to do this as any. It seemed like a symbol of... something. Maybe the meaning doesn't even matter. Maybe I just needed a symbol.


  1. I like how you say "as if shyness is a force I can reason with" -- I feel the same thing with my panic about the dentist. People who are all "just RELAX" do not help at all. That part of my brain is convinced it's going to get hurt.

    I don't know what to do about the shyness, except that with my fear, they say exposure over time desensitizes. Like the way someone would reintroduce me to a spider. I can't even imagine wanting to do this, but there are programs that have had successes. Maybe shyness is like that too, exposure over time.

    I spent the morning looking at this article on self-control and it said not to put ourselves in situations where we have to challenge it. Wish it were that easy. :)

  2. I'm proud of you. As a person who really doesn't drink (except on very rare occasion and precious little when I do), I can't really relate. However, from what I do know, dumping the trunk booze had to be hard on some level. Every step you take toward being a healthier, happier version of yourself that you genuinely like and are proud to be is a step in the right direction. We are here if you need us. Congratulations on your courage!