Friday, May 26, 2006


Over last weekend I read this book,

And it really got me thinking. It was one of those neon signs flashing at me, sometimes blinding but if I can just focus showing me a road.

At first I found the book trite and whiny. Blah blah blah so you started to drink as a teenager and drank a lot a couple of times. Thing is, once I got halfway through it some messages really started to resonate with me.

I am a drinker. If I was to define my self in a short paragraph that would definitely be in there. I see myself as a social being, and when I think of personal interaction on a friendly basis I immediately associate it with alcohol.

In the past I have been known to joke about wanting to be a cultured individual but always finding myself in a bar. All I know is that I LIKE the way I feel after I have had a couple of drinks. And after four, I feel like a million bucks, like I can fly and walk on water. But I also feel a deeper thirst at that point. It is the point that I have to stop drinking to avoid a hangover, but it is so hard not to cross the line, I want to so much. Literally after four there is nothing I want more than to keep drinking, and it takes me scraping together what is left of my poor supply of willpower to stop.

Luckily even in excess I retain my sensibilities. I never lose control, and rarely do I drink to the point of memory loss. Somewhere deep inside I have this internal compass keeping myself safe, as being woman in NYC losing my faculties could quickly become life threatening.

This book touched on the reasons that people drink when drinking becomes destructive. Not in an alcoholism sense, but more like stagnating life.

I have friends who don't like themselves, and drink as a form of self abuse. Or the friends who drink to lose themselves because they hate who they are. People who ALWAYS drink too much, go too far. Friends who experience beer tears. Even friends who drank so much they were near death.

When my friends have experienced these things in the past, it was normally discussed in a light hearted anecdotal fashion, brushed off as just one of the regular things about drinking. Ha ha ha. This book - for the first time that I can remember - pointed out that all of these things are a cry for help, and we have been socialized to ignore them.

But we shouldn't. Not that you should confront the person when they are drunk, but stop enabling. If you have a friend who is hurting him or herself, don't let the fact that they have shrouded their pain in alcohol confuse the issue. They still need help.

This book really threw me for a loop, it has had me questioning my motivations for drinking and what happens to me when inebriated. I still haven't gotten a solid picture, but starting the thought process has really illuminated things for me. And more importantly taught me how to be a better friend and human being.

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