I’m trying to say something about belonging. About what drinking did for me. About feeling tapped in to human experience. About not feeling alone.
It’s about a buzz. About things making me laugh. About not caring.
I want to talk about putting Santigold on my headphones and walking down the street listening to “Creator” and drinking Miller Lite from a can, my favorite beer for a while because I could drink a lot of it and because saying “tall boy” was funny. I remember walking through the grittier streets of the city, on the way to someone’s house who I had yet to meet. I remember feeling genuinely happy, feeling like a genius, making connections between all the street signs and my memories and barking dogs. I felt like everything was connected. It was something spiritual. I don’t remember it all clearly.
I remember trying to recreate the scene, months later, after I had said I was an alcoholic, after I had tried to stop so many times, after I had convinced myself once more that drinking would be something like a good idea, something spiritual. It didn’t work. I got off the bus and went to a liquor store and bought vanilla vodka to put in Cherry Coke, the effort already doomed as I had been looking for vanilla rum, which they no longer made, and Wild Cherry Pepsi, like I used to drink when I was 19, like my first drink, like the drink I always asked for for my birthday, because it made me nostalgic. I walked up the hill to my house and it felt wrong, felt blank.
I want to talk about drinking three beers at home and taking two more with me for the 10 minute walk to the restaurant where I was meeting my friends, where I’d buy the next round. I’d get dressed up. I’d put music on. There would be the promise of the night. I would feel tapped in, connected to all things. A healthy buzz. A smile. I would be attractive and confident. I wouldn’t care. I wouldn’t censor myself. It would never end.
Really, those things never happened, except right then, in my head, when I dreamed them up. Or they happened, but only sometimes. Or they happened less and less. Really, usually, I was just mixing a drink in my living room. I was just blacking out. Really, eventually, pretty consistently, it wasn’t that great.