Back Drinkin' Again

 Me when I drink. Or party. 

Me when I drink. Or party. 

I don’t exactly know why I stopped drinking alcohol in January of 2016, although the timing suggests it may have been a New Year’s resolution. I didn’t think I had a problem, necessarily. I sure did not consider myself an alcoholic but I was undeniably someone who drank. I couldn’t even really say that I enjoyed drinking because I didn’t really get a whole lot out of it. My tolerance was high enough that I almost never got genuinely drunk, or even particularly tipsy, so while I didn’t have blackouts or bleary, fuzzy memories of making regrettable mistakes while under the influence, I also didn’t really have too many happy memories connected to imbibing excessively either, the way I do various mood-altering substance I have ingested over the years. Heck, I’m feeling a warm wave of nostalgia just thinking about the many happy memories I have while under the influence at Phish or Insane Clown Posse shows. 

But as a relatively shy, self-conscious 41 year old dad, homebody and husband to another relatively shy homebody, I almost never go to bars and the parties I attend tend to be Frozen or Batman themed and are attended primarily by 3 year olds. Yet every night, I drank a few of my modified white Russians (I substitute Irish cream for Kahlua) as a reward for successfully completing another day of slaving away in front of a computer, writing about some ridiculous aspect of pop culture. 

 Drunk and armed on a roller coaster. I call that "peak American!" 

Drunk and armed on a roller coaster. I call that "peak American!" 

So while drinking didn’t cause big problems, because I drank so regularly I ended up spending a fair amount of money on alcohol. I’m also going to assume that regularly imbibing concoctions made of milk, vodka and Irish cream wasn’t great for my health or my waistline. And as someone who enjoys not being sober, I didn’t want to reach a point where I would have to stop drinking completely because it had become an unmanageable problem. 

With the exception of the 2016 Republican National Convention, when I availed myself extensively of the free, good beer in the Washington Post press lounge,I went through nearly all of 2016 without drinking. And you know what? It felt good. I felt like I had proven to myself that I did not need to drink alcohol at all, let let alone nightly. 

Then November 8th happened. I went back to drinking watching the election returns, when it became increasingly apparent that Hillary Clinton would not cruise easily to victory. “I’m going to need something strong to get through this night” I thought as the unthinkable happened: Donald Trump was elected President. 

 The original party rocker 

The original party rocker 

When I woke up that next morning I thought to myself, “I’m going to need something strong to get me through the next four years.” And though I’m not proud that I went back to drinking, I can’t really fault my logic. Desperate people do desperate things to survive. In the grand scheme, drinking a dirty martini or two every night to help cope with the waking nightmare that is Trump’s presidency doesn’t seem like too much of an aggression. 

And in the months since I returned to drinking, I’ve come to realize that I actually enjoy alcohol. I enjoy the taste, the feeling, the sense of relaxation that it engenders at best. Besides, my brain has a predilection towards apocalyptic and all-or-nothing thinking so it’s good to know that I can satiate my thirst for a dirty martini with many blue cheese-stuffed olives without ending up in the gutter with a bottle of cheap hooch in my meaty paw. 

Alcohol can destroy lives and tear apart families but it doesn’t necessarily have to. I’m thinking that in the years ahead maintaining a healthy relationship with alcohol is more important than swearing off hooch completely. Because my reason to return to drinking doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, although I’d happily swear off booze (and all other vices, even the fun ones) entirely if it meant that monster would be impeached.

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