Sunday, November 7, 2010

An Exercise in Sobriety (I'm on Meds)

Last night, around 2 am, I started to write a post about how my drinking habits have gone from abhorrent to acceptable, but after reading it just now I thought it would be better deleted and started over with another day's wisdom. Ironically my itunes (always on random) just started playing "Drinking As Religion" by Mason Jennings.

Basically, my life is at a standstill waiting to leave for LA. I'm not going to get into it but I've been endlessly delayed by a slew of unexpected, some unnecessary, but mostly understandable occurrences and am still bumming around Manhattan, bags packed and just about ready to leave. That's the sidebar to this rambling, incoherent piece of writing I'm about to provide you with.

My life has no shape, rhyme or reason lately. Until I get on the road I can't really think clearly, logically, or plan ahead. Therefore, I've been living like a cross between a bum, a blind person, and an over-emotional stereotype of woman. I sort of wonder around the streets absently, listening to a lot of Radiohead and Brazilian ballads on my iPod and acquire things like sinus infections, which I have right now. This is part of the reason that I have the luxury of writing this post at midnight on what will probably be my last Saturday night as a New York City resident for a long time (although, one can never be too sure considering how delayed my move has been). You see, I've said goodbye to most of my friends. Also, I'm on antibiotics and thus should avoid alcohol. It's pretty difficult to hang out with people that you've already said goodbye to on a Saturday night and not imbibe. Or is it?

Because of my surroundings, lifestyle, age, or some combination of the three I've spent the past half-dozen years marking important milestones with alcohol. Important milestones being things like birthdays, big decisions, holidays, impromptu parties, sporting events I have nothing invested in, weekends, Wednesdays, long nights at work, and select mornings. Does this mean that I was an alcoholic (or rather that I am one?–once one always one), no, I don't believe so. Do you know why? Well because it was simply because it was what I knew, not something that I couldn't live without. My persona became tied to "drunk me" and she wasn't very cool or interesting. When you're in the 18-24 age group most social activities center around drinking and what I didn't realize until very recently is that that doesn't have to mean drinking until your friends are laughing at you, your bra is hooked OVER your shirt (see below), or you have pulled the skirt of the cocktail waitress down in order to get yourself another tequila shot.



While things like the photo above are certainly hilarious (made more so by the fact that when confronted at the time my blacked out rationalization for said "style statement" was "Leave me alone. It's very hipster"...yes, drunk Adria can be funny), they are not when the night continues in the way that so many open bar situations do: tears, a cellphone left in a cab, wondering my East Village block in boxer shorts and Frye boots searching for said phone on the sidewalk, falling down the stairs, and somehow ripping a perfectly placed beauty mark off of the center of my chest. Okay so that's probably never happened to another person, and it still remains a mystery how that beauty mark was removed so aggressively. I can only imagine that my alone, blacked out self was being self-flagellating in fits of lost-phone rage. This makes for a good story, sure, but what does it say about my character? If my mother had this URL she'd read this and immediately send me to rehab. And rightfully so. However, I vowed the next morning that nothing like this would ever happen to me again and I can honestly say that I don't think it ever will. Since that day in January I have become an adult in my drinking habits (not an adult like Charlie Sheen, but more like what I imagine Natalie Portman to be like at a bar). I no longer desire to drink myself into a stupor, or feel like sharing war stories from the night before, or comparing hangovers the next morning (although I will say that somehow my hangovers have remained lethal, even with drinking exponentially less booze–thanks, aging).

I think that it is so important that us young people recognize that fun and booze are not always connected. You can have one without the other and more often than not do. As I approach the day where I leave the 18-24 grouping (still more than six months off, but nonetheless...) I realize more and more that my generation has put too much emphasis on substance and not enough on human connection. Because let's be honest, I would probably hook my bra over my shirt and say it is "the hipster thing to do" without six sake bombs, half a bottle of Chardonnay, and three shots of Grey Goose. So let's have a beer and play Jenga and I'll still probably say something stupider, but at least I'll wake up with all of my beauty marks.

What are your views on excessive drinking? Was there a specific moment when you realized that your previous habits were ridiculous? Do you want to argue for the party crowd and overconsumption? I'm REALLY not judging anyone and I want to know what you all think!

A

PS: I won't argue with the euphoric feeling of downing two dirty martinis and harmlessly flirting with the European bartender
PPS: As I recently commented on Lauren's spot, I'd rather give up carbs and chocolate than red wine. So, you know...

5 comments:

Allison said...

I definitely drink way less than I used to. I spent a few summers at the pub 4 nights a week. Now I would rather watch a movie and have a cup of tea.

I do, however, still have my nights of fun drinking (halloween). I also know when to stop (or not at all). Like if I'm feeling sick I will elect to stay sober, while when I was 19-22 I would have drank anyways and probably regretted it.

TbR said...

I think I've turned this corner, too. I can go out without making an absolute prat of myself, but in a funny way part of me misses young, drunk and irresponsible Tom. Only a small part of me thinks that - mostly I'm pleased he's gone, if only because it has decreased the frequency of hideous photo uploads onto Facebook...

You pulled a waitress' skirt down? Shocking behaviour Adria, shocking! :)

By the way - I like the sound of these Brazilian ballads. Are they a bit depressing? If so, can you send me some examples?! I feel a need to expand the selection of sad songs on my pod.

Adria said...

Allison-I would go out with a fever in college! What dumb ideas!

Tom-I'd love to send you some of my Brazilian music! Tell me where to send it to and it's yours. And yes, I pulled a waitress' skirt down, but not all the way and I was swiftly removed from the bar. Sigh.

Annabelle said...

Suuuuch a great post, and I am with you 100%. Probably once a month I have a night where I consider sending myself to rehab, but overall I'm toning it down because I'm starting to realize that reckless over-the-top drinking is... not even foolish, or childish, or dangerous, but just UNNECESSARY. Why do we all judge how great a night was by how little we remember?

Randall said...

I'm just getting started drinking at 25. Late to the party? Yes, very much.

Since starting, I've had some excessive moments, some Hunter Thompson/Circus Circus moments. But still, one of the reasons for me deciding to start was the realization that I didn't have to get unholy shit-faced every time I have something to drink. That there wasn't going to be some game of constant one-upsmanship, that I wasn't going to have to sit through fairly... cookie-cutter war stories the next morning.