I’m writing through a gray mood. If I’m going to write every day, I have to do it whether I feel like it or not. This used to be the kind of day when I’d go home, pour myself a globe of wine, and spend the evening drinking myself out of the picture.
The miracle today is that I don’t want to do that.
On New Year’s Eve, I drank pineapple juice and sang karaoke. I was able to hear clearly, for once, just how badly my voice craps out on high notes. But more importantly, I had fun while sober.
Learning how to relax and have fun has been the greatest challenge of life without booze. When time and deep breathing must be utilized to take the edge off a rough day instead of a shot of Jameson, the effect is not as instantaneous as I would like. Also, without booze, I wear my social anxiety like a velvet cape. It always surrounds me, and at times it overcomes me.
But I’m learning. One thing that’s helped is finally getting over my tendency to romanticize drunkenness and dismiss it as just another quirk of my flighty, allegedly artistic temperament. If I’m going to avoid booze on a permanent basis, I have to see it for what it is: poison. (At least that’s true in my case. I will be eternally jealous of folks like my boyfriend, who can have two beers, go home, and go to bed without salivating over the possibility of drinking 15 more.)
On New Year’s Eve, I watched the people around me deteriorate as they got drunk. One incredibly sexy 20-something was shiny and put-together at the beginning of the night, her cleavage sparkling with glitter. But before midnight had even rolled around, she was falling on the floor, slurring her words, and fighting with her boyfriend. She was not so sexy anymore.
What surprised me the most, though, was that most people at the bar were relatively sober and coherent, so the few drunkards stuck out even more. Back when I was drinking, I assumed everyone else was getting shitfaced right along with me. In reality, I was probably the only one.
I was the lone idiot stumbling around the room, babbling incoherently, trying to dance and falling on her ass. And there’s nothing romantic about that.