Sunday, September 30, 2007
Today marks the first week in a long time that I've lasted without so much as a whiff of alcohol the entire time. Believe me when I tell you - it wasn't easy. Let me explain.
I grew up surrounded by alcoholics. No one in my immediate family was a drunk, per se, but a bunch of my uncles were, most of them actually. One of them [R.I.P.] fancied himself a Pavarotti of sorts when he was sufficiently inebriated, and we could tell how long it would take for him to leave the local pub and get home by the duration of the singing. It was typically only a 5-minute walk, but it'd take him the better part of 3 hours to get back to his crib. He sometimes did embarrassing things while under the influence and I didn't have to be a nuclear physicist to figure out that over-indulging in the stuff was bad.
When I was like 6 or 7 my Mom asked me to take a sip of some red wine. I couldn't believe my luck coz I'd always wanted to try it out, but it tasted so foul to my young palate that it took me damn near a decade to dare try out anything even remotely alcoholic. [That was real smart of her, now that I think about it] There was the occasional rebellious binges here and there afterward but the sheezy really hit the feezy, [sh*t hit the fan, I mean] as Jamie Foxx would say, when I found myself stateside.
With no parental or sibling rebuttal in sight and surrounded by drunks, it was downhill all the way. There was the happy hour every Tuesday after work, house parties every [other] Friday night and the putting 'em down while watching basketball or football every weekend.
After a couple of years of this it started getting old - and so did I - so I got another roommate who wasn't quite the party animal and things got a lot better. Plus, I once nailed this median in the Lancer that irreparably damaged it and I vowed to never again drink and drive.
Gone were the endless bashes but by then, the damage was done - we had to have some form of alcohol in the crib and that's when it took a turn for the worse for me, coz soon as I set foot inside the house I'd head straight for the fridge and pop off a cold one. What had started a habit was steadily becoming a ritual, but I was never really concerned about it coz after all, I wouldn't overdo it and it didn't interfere with any other part of my life - except perhaps my physical well-being. I found myself struggling at basketball. My jogs, which I had enjoyed, became chores. My skinny-dude 6-pack became a 1-pack and I started having occasional flares of that condition popularly known as CRS. [Can't Remember Sh*t]
That's when I remembered my Unc drinking his life away, and damned if I went out like that. I realized that I drink because I've nothing better to do. Seriously. I'd come to the crib, do homework or whatever, and then.... drink. Plus, TV or internet looks so much better when sipping on some sysurrp, and music sounds waaay better. And that's when it hit me - I needed to find stuff to do, stuff to keep me busy, if only to not drink.
So for this past week I've played b-ball 3 nights, gone to school, worked on the car like the grease-monkey I'm trying to be, devoured my novels, talked on the phone a little, and Lord knows what else. But I'm not drinking because I've nothing else to do, and that's what's important.
It doesn't help much that roomie's Henny bottle is sitting over there on the shelf looking all nice and pretty, or that his beer bottles are looking especially refreshing sitting in the fridge - right next to my orange juice. But I've resisted the temptation, and the impulse to drink is slowly but surely diminishing. I don't think I'm addicted tho, coz I'd imagine I would've succumbed by now.
Strictly from a physical point of view, I feel sooo much better without any alcohol in the system. I busted my ass at work last week and my inboxes were damn near empty by Thursday. [Keeping in mind they haven't been empty since Christmastime] I hit the ground running this past week every morning at 6am and keep the energy level up till midnight-ish. And it's amazing how much lard I've shed this past week. Shoot, if this is what being booze-free feels like then it's not half bad; I could get used to this - again.
Am I saying I'll never drink again? Heck no. Matter of fact, I might get sh*tfaced in a few weeks when I go on vacation. Alcohol isn't bad. It's how you handle it. Treat it with respect, as you would a pit bull - makes a great pet but would rip you apart if you messed with it. But what do I know?