Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Adventures in Alcoholism

People are amazed when I tell them that I don't drink anymore. That could be because my mother once found some stolen bottles of vodka and rum in my room... when I was 13. It could be because I once got busted by a Priest for stealing alter wine... when I was in the Seminary. It also could have something to do with the fact that I spent a whole lot of time in high school and college drinking, which is how I met my best friend in the world. After 9 or 10 beers and an unknown amount of jello shots I punched the DJ at a frat party because he wouldn't believe me when I told him that James Brown was still alive. Thankfully XL was there to pull me out of the street, which is where I ended up after they through me off the front porch of the frat house.

My name is Greazy Tony and I have a drinking problem.

I'm not an alcoholic in the true sense of the word, because I never became dependant on alcohol. Ultimately it was the fact that I didn't need it that caused me to quit. My grandmother and other members of my family have been classified as a more typical alcoholic. That may be why my older brother didn't take his first serious drink until he was in his very late 20's. It sure was a factor that I thought of when ever I was confronted with the chance to display alkie tendencies, such as drinking alone or driving when I had too much. It was the chance that I may end up like my family members, who had been down that road, that kept me from needing an intervention.

However, I still have a drinking problem, in that, I can be a problem when I drink. I'm not too great at doing things in moderation, usually preferring the 'all or nothing' approach. So if I was going to drink, I wanted to D-R-I-N-K. That would sometimes lead to telling inappropriate stories, being far too loud and generally making an ass out of myself. This was compounded by the fact that I can't drink nearly as much now as I did in college. I had a hell of a tolerance in school, often drinking in excess of 12 beers in an evening, like I did on my second date with Inky. (we split a full case, I think she had 10 and I had 14) I was able to do that because we drank every weekend, but in the last few years my occasion to drink was greatly diminished and so too was my tolerance. Which led to my problem with drinking i.e. my drinking problem.

I began my ban on drinking when I started to play poker with my buddies. As the night wore on I would get sloppy and so too would my play. So I rectified that by not drinking during poker games anymore. Then I spent two years working third shift and that really puts a cramp in your drinking. If you drink at night you're drinking only a few hours after waking up, and if you drink when you get home from work, you're drinking at 9 or 10 in the morning. Neither are very good options.

So, by and by, I just didn't drink anymore, and what I found was startling. I still had tons of fun. I was still able to act silly and even do some crazy stuff like I used to do, but I never really crossed the line like I used to. Plus as an added bonus I was also able to be the designated driver, much like I was a few weekends ago. I went out with Ink, XL and another college friend to the last weekend at out beloved college bar, which is closing soon. They each put 8 or 9 beers away and we all acted like kids again, and when the time came to leave, I was able to drive safely.

Problem solved. And I didn't even have to climb those stupid steps.

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