I left the bar last night around twelve thirty am. I put my headphones in and made my way over to my light rail stop. The air was cold, but the upbeat tunes in my head kept a quick past on my walk over to Marin Blvd. I smiled as Bright by Echosmith came on. I turned the corner and walked the last distance to my light rail. It was the same kind of walk I had made several times over the last few weeks since new gay bar, the Royal, opened in Jersey City. It was not until this time that I really realized the change I’d made in my life.
I have had a difficult time with alcohol throughout the last decade. I have had to have my roommate pick me up drunk in Manhattan. The only thing I remember about one night is falling in a bush and losing my glasses. I didn’t remember anything else about the two mile walk from Christopher Street to deep within the Financial District. Another time I blacked out, I apparently fell and busted a tooth which inevitably cost me thousands of dollars. I even once got assaulted in Bayonne after drinking pitchers of beer. At this point, it’s needless to say that I have not had a healthy relationship with alcohol.
Even after my last major escapade of falling and breaking my teeth, I vowed to give up alcohol for ‘x’ amount of days. I bartered with it. I ended up falling off the wagon and drinking again. I am pretty sure I have mentioned this story before about the conversation to my friend. This woman was belting off key in the front during karaoke. I mention I didn’t like that woman. And he concurred and explained with the added. “She’s an alcoholic.” I stopped for a moment and smiled that drunken half smile people do. “What do you think about me?” “Well, you’re an alcoholic too, but you’ll get through it.” That started a much needed change in me.
The day he said that was the first day I really spent all day with them. It was in mid-January. I started cutting back the amount I was drinking. I began to spend more time prioritizing my writing and going to the gym. Alcohol was still there, but more than once I just opted to not drink while I was out and about with them. I just didn’t need alcohol to cover up whatever was going on inside my head.
Last night, I started drinking fairly early. I was bored in the afternoon and had a beer while I was writing my blog post yesterday. I had a second cocktail that took me over an hour to drink, while I chatted with my bartender friends. I had four more drinks throughout the next six hours. Over 8 hours, six drinks with food and ginger ales throughout. It’s not perfect, but I walked home fairly clear headed. I was happy, and I woke up this morning with no upset stomach or a headache.
This journey has been something I have needed to do for a long time. I prioritized the wrong things and used alcohol to cover up things I did not want to deal with. It’s not easy, cutting back. It’s like a demon constantly on my shoulder, especially when I’m working at a bar. But it’s also something I do not want to have back in my life like that. It does not add anything to it. It takes so much away.
I just want to keep having those great moments with friends, glasses clinking together with smiles on our faces, sarcasm, and stories. I prioritize that good life. Everything else stays in the past. Safe fun, Saturday guys.