One of the sayings I hear quite often is “Drinking was a lot of fun, until it wasn’t”; or “Alcohol worked for me, until it didn’t.” I relate to this as I feel those comments pretty much describe my drinking career as a whole. Lots of fun times, and I don’t regret or wish to take back any of them, but at some point in my 30’s, it just became something completely different. For me, I know for sure that there is no way back. I suspect that for those who are afflicted, the allure of drinking in moderation is not the desire for the drink itself, but the fantasy that we can somehow return to how it was before. I wonder if those alcoholics who have succeeded in moderation feel they have really returned to how it was before.
I recently watched a National Geographic show called Taboo: US of Alcohol. The show started with various scenes of people across Arizona, on Labor Day Weekend, living it up. Beautiful sexy people, bikinis, drinking, having fun, laughing, warm sun, rivers, lakes, boats, good times. The police and ER personnel were just waiting for all hell to break loose, which of course it did. Alcohol fueled a magical transition into tears, accidents, fights, overdoses, hospital visits, arrests, and knife wounds. It hit me like a ton of bricks “until it wasn’t.” I realized how many of my “fun” drinking days (even before I hit that completely different point) were a microcosm of my drinking career. That is, fun until it wasn’t. My “wasnts” were not of the jail, DUI, or stabbing variety; but tears, arguments, fights, sickness, idiocy, misunderstandings, pain, hurt – yeah we had that. Watching this show, I couldn’t stop thinking about how our brains suppress the “wasnts.” We want to do it again tomorrow. Years later, we relate magical tales of our drinking shenanigans as if they were the best times ever and rarely a bad time was had. Perhaps I have just uncovered the reason I cannot return to how it was before, because before was not real, before was a fantasy. Now that the truth is known the return path is forever lost.
I don’t really have a major point here, just observations of a 6+ month sober dude looking at the insanity from a different place now, glad that I don’t have any “wasnts” in front of me today.