I drink too much.
I rarely get drunk. I’ve never blacked out, except for that one time when I was 25, when I learned in the morning that I had fucked my closest female friend. And, lost my wallet. And, that my closest female friend had thrown up on my cock while sucking it.
On weekends, if I’m at home, I pour myself a scotch (currently, the incredibly peat-y Ardbeg An Oa; historically, mostly the smooth, sweet Oban, unless I’ve uncharacteristically allowed myself to run out, in which case, my backup, the tasty but crude Johnnie Walker Black).
If it’s one of the single malts, I pour it over a single ice cube, just over the top of it, in a tumbler. If Johnnie Walker, over a glass full of ice cubes, filling the glass. I sip the scotch. I finish it. I repeat. Maybe twice.
Weeknights, I often have my first drink in my office – always a single malt. In my office, no ice cubes. When I get home, I have my second drink, if I drank at the office. My first, if I didn’t. More nights than not, I repeat. Maybe twice.
Some nights, I have two. More, honestly, I have three. Occasionally, four.
If I’m out with friends, or on a date, I may have as many as five or six. I almost always stick to Black Label in bars; the markup on single malts just feels a bridge too far.
Rarely if ever am I observably drunk. Occasionally, I feel just a bit… tipsy. Mostly? I just become either relaxed or irritable, depending on the set and the setting (as Michael Pollan and others say). Mostly, relaxed. Once every two weeks or so, irritable.
If I’m somewhere there isn’t liquor, I don’t drink, and I don’t miss it. I never drink wine. I like beer, but only drink it with “ethnic food,” lobster, or at lunch on a hot summer day. I’m known to bring a good bottle of scotch with me to events that I expect will lack scotch.
I rarely drink mixed drinks (I think I’ve had two in the last year). And… That’s it.
When I say I drink too much, mostly I mean, it’s just too many calories. I struggle a bit with my weight (more on that soon – I’ve lost 15 pounds in the last two months), and alcohol just isn’t helpful in that struggle. And, I subscribe to the Buddha’s admonition against intoxication. With, in my mind, a waiver for mindful intoxication. So I don’t particularly like it when my inebriation noticeably changes my perceptions or behavior. I like the sweet spot where it softens my feelings without discernibly affecting either perceptions or behavior. That’s what I aim for.
In the pandemic, my average nightly consumption crept up by a full scotch.
Three years ago, I had a dry June. It wasn’t “hard,” exactly, but I did definitely notice a low level of anxiety washing over me, nightly. And, I became aware of the excitement I usually feel, starting an hour or so before my first drink. In the form of what I came to understand actually was not a positive excitement or anticipation, but a more troubling craving. With an accompanying feeling of, for that month, deprivation.
This year, I decided that, during my vacations, I wouldn’t drink. There was a rationale. It was wrong. But no matter: my first weeklong vacation was with 11 other members of my family. I love my family. But I felt a bit like the dude from airplane.
Truth is, I don’t going without quite easy, actually. Though I drew a little more, a little more frequently, from my weed pen. And didn’t miss a night of my 0.50 ml of 20:1 THC tincture. Which in normal life, I use mostly for pain.
Tomorrow, I start a two-week vacation, and again, I won’t be drinking.
Tonight? I’ve had two. I’ll have one more. Mindfully.