A Drinking Life

I hardly ever drink anymore and I’m glad. I was never really what you’d call an alcoholic anyway, but I used to drink a lot and there were times when it was a bit problematic. So maybe “drinking problem” would have been the correct term.

The first time was on New Years Even 1979-80. There were disastrous results. All of 1980 was a little disastrous now that I think about it. I didn’t drink much after that until I started going to queer bars at 19.

When I was in my twenties, it was not unusual for me to drink a 12-pack over the course of a evening and then drive home from wherever I happened to be. I’d have beers before going out, beers while I was out, and more when I got home. At last call, the normal procedure was to get two or three beers to last through that “generous” half-hour North Carolina bars give you to finish up.

Sometimes my friends and I would drive an hour and a half to Raleigh or Charlotte, drinking all the way in the car. We’d hit two or three bars and then drive home, maybe even having one or two more in the car on the way back. We never much thought anything about it. One night, a friend and I even drove to Myrtle Beach (a good 200 miles away) after last call, spent the day there, went out drinking that night, and drove home afterward for a grand total of 48 hours awake. It’s a miracle I made it to 30 alive and without a DUI.

It just seemed natural in those days to start drinking at 10 and continue as late as possible. I couldn’t imagine a party or a night out without lots of beer. I drank a lot at home too. I’d get drunk to make a tape or just get drunk to get drunk. Then I’d wake up the next morning and go to work, albeit with a bit of a headache.

Even into my thirties I could still pull a pretty serious drunk now and then, although living two blocks from my favorite bars at least kept me out of the car. There were the occasional weekends when my roomie and I would stay up all night and hit the Watering Hole or the End-up at 6AM. I spent many other weekends walking around drunk and in circles at sex clubs until I finally got bored with that.

The one day a year or two back, I realized I don’t drink much anymore. I haven’t really drunk at home in several years, and I can’t manage more than a couple of beers on my rare nights out either, unless I’m prepared to feel like I’m going to die the next morning. The thought of drinking and driving terrifies me.

In a way, I sort of miss it sometimes. But then I get my senses back, see how much weight I’ve lost and how much less stupid I act, and I get over it…