Life certainly is easier when I’m drunk. That seems a terrible thing to say. And it is, kinda, but I’ve found myself saying it a lot lately. There have been times in the past when I would stop drinking for a few weeks to cleanse myself. During that time, I would try to continue doing the late-night shenanigans that I so enjoyed. Yet the reality of my situation would always wend it’s way to the surface.
Such as at a recent live show trying to squeeze thru a crowd with my camera to snap a few choice photos. When I was drinking, this was not such a tedious task. Mainly because I was feeling loose and wouldn’t notice the sharp arthritic pains in my lower back or legs. I could slither thru tightly knit people like limboing on the high seas and it never felt like I’d fall. Somehow sober, the opposite was true.
I noticed as I stood up and could not catch my balance. Over and over I’d stumble from one leg to the other trying to get oriented. I’ve always had a problem with my equilibrium, even as a kid. I blame most of it on the damage I’ve caused subjecting to my ears to far too loud music. I’m not a doctor and there may very well be no correlation between tinnitus and balance, but since the inner ear controls balance, I will remain secure in my layman’s assumption.
Then, there was that pain. That nagging ache I’ve lived with for most of my life. My legs bitching at my back. My back screaming at my feet. My arms longing to just not deal with any of it. The alcohol may have been a false and temporary relief, but it was a relief nonetheless.
The chronic pain that was once masked by booze was now out in the open, running free. So I found myself with decisions to make regarding my lifestyle and the combatting of that pain. And for a while, the pain of my past had decreased. I’m assuming this was due to my being more physically active. Years of sitting at a desk typing some bullshit for hours on end certainly didn’t do me any good. So this new life of being on my feet all day making sandwiches, riding my bike to run errands, lifting, moving, and so on was really doing my body good.
Merely by default, I hadn’t been drinking as much in the last five years. The long hours of running a business has made it almost impossible. Sure, I’d still go out and partake but — for the most part — I was letting my body heal itself.
Recently, the pain was returning. While I was still physically as active as ever, my eating and sleeping habits were shot to hell. My mental and spiritual health was not up to par. And I was getting older. Turning 50, this became more of a concern.
I had decided that the easiest solution was to simply start drinking again. It’s not a bad option, I thought. I’ve always enjoyed the effects of alcohol. The spinning head, the loose muscles, the laughter (I tend to be a happy drunk). At those times that I decided to stop, it was never for fear of dependency or personal injury. It was just to take a break. Let my body detox and let my bank account recuperate. So I started drinking more heavily and more frequently. As if to prove that 50 was just a number and I could still hang with the best (and worst) of barflies.
Unfortunately, my go-to solution was no longer helping. Sure, in the moment it felt good, but the next day my body would curse me. The pain that was hidden the night before would be doubled the next day. The resilience of youth was no longer there to assist me. That bastard quit on me, allowing the pain to take a more dominant role in the relationship.
It was finally time to realize that the booze was not a treatment. It was a mask, a placebo. It was false hope packaged in good times.
Honestly, I don’t even know why I’m still ranting about this. Other than to convince myself that there is life after the party. It’s time for me to be a better me. Is that too “newagey” to say? Maybe, but fuck it. Turning 50 has put a myriad of thoughts into my head. Regrets, I have a few (actually a lot) but I’m still here, breathing. Walking on this earth. I’m the owner of one of the most unique eateries anywhere and there is time every single day to be better.
So — with all that finally offloaded from my conscience — I have an announcement. 2017 will be a sober year for me. 12 months. 0 booze. Endless possibilities. It’s time to take those frequent sobriety challenges of my past and focus that energy into one massively productive year.
The very least I can do is be the best me that I can.
Stay tuned for updates because I’m assuming there will be a lot to write about.
Here’s to not knowing. I’d raise a pint to cheer but … well … you know.