And then a beer, a margarita, a couple vodka sodas, and two more tequila shots.
Last year I drank tequila. This year I don’t.
November 2017. The bars in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood close at 2 am on weekends. It is now 3:30 am and I am aimlessly wandering the streets in a T-shirt. Cold and drunk. I lost my jacket, my friends, and my phone is dead.
A month before that night, I came to on a stoop in South Boston. Food at my feet, arms covered in sharpie ink, unaware of how a Saturday bike ride turned into a 2-day binge drink through the neighborhoods of Boston. But the unread text messages told me I had a good time. Good time, huh?
Oh, I almost forgot. Squeezed in between these two nights was the time I drove the 45 minutes home at 2:30 am — drunk and videoing every time I passed 100mph. “Which time” is right as this happened more than once.
I don’t include these stories in an attempt to glorify my nights out, nor to legitimize my party life. The party life I had. If anything, typing these words out are both painful and embarrassing. These were the moments that sparked my sobriety. For so long, I had policed myself by saying “no drinking for one week” or “Sober January” only to return to alcohol and to experience similar chapter endings. Insanity. These were temporary band-aid resolutions to a larger problem. These were the moments that led to the decision to be firm and go sober.
Sober at 26.
I hesitate to use the words lucky, as it implies that this story is almost heroic. I prefer to use the word foolish. I believed alcohol was cool. Or maybe not cool, but necessary. I didn’t know that I could be a star without it and I invested so much of my identity in the culture of drinking.
In the 1 year and 10 days since going sober, I’ve answered “why did you stop drinking?” many times, but haven’t spent much energy into looking at why I drank. So here goes. In high school, it was for the feeling of rebellion, of tasting the dessert before dinner. In college, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the feeling of losing control and getting attention: the attention of being the wildest man at the party, of being the last man standing. And from there it continued. Living and traveling in Europe, it was both to engage in the…