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going dry day one

Going dry day one
We’ve been discussing drying out for months. Back in July after a particularly crazy night in which I could have died, I started pushing for us to cut back. He, as always after a hard night and a lingering hangover, was more than willing to entertain the conversation. But he wanted to wait until after his birthday four months later. There is no arguing with him. I quietly acquiesced vowing to myself that I would try to do better for the time being on my own. In those four months, my job became untenable, the cool late summer air never showed, and my blooming friendship with the person who was to be my new boss kept me going to the same patio night after night. One whiskey always meant two. And depending on the bartender, maybe three and a few beers for good measure. When my bank account was hacked I was almost embarrassed by how many charges were from the same bar. I might as well just pay them rent.

So here we are at day one. It also happens to be the first day in an 8 day work week comprising of all three jobs and at least 3 massive applications due. Fun. We had partied heartily but not hard for his birthday. I was a little bleary in the morning but not hungover. Work was slow but steady. Then the most wonderful thing happened: I had no desire to drink. I wanted to go see my friends, but didn’t feel the need for alcohol. He on the other hand was struggling. Hard.

Let me tell you this: I have not had a non-alcoholic beer that didn’t have the finishing taste of wet hay. Day one of going dry has taught me that water and ginger ale will be my go tos.

The most difficult part of the night was assessing him. He would barely talk, always on his phone, looking unimpressed. Conversation was minimal. I could tell he just wanted that drink. He’s trying. But I don’t think he’s gone a full day without at least a beer in years. I’m able to distract him with Netflix until about 3am when I finally need to crash.

I found it curious that my first day went so easily. My Sunday night job might be the reason: it’s a local bar with local customers. This means people who have been hard drinkers and smokers for years mixed in with the punks, bears, twinks, families, first dates, industry workers, and creatives of the area. There are people in their 50’s who look ancient. Their minds, while kind, are sluggish, vocabulary reduced to 8th grade level, eyes lined with deep set crow’s feet. I have the good fortune to work with people in their 60s and 70s who are vibrant, active, and engaged. I want that for myself. For every morning that I was up fuzzy, buzzing, and exhausted, I am moving closer to that puffy faced older woman at the end of the bar with a martini glass stained with lipstick calling everyone ‘hon’. No thanks. I can do better.