You Booze, You Lose

Every single embarrassing moment that I can recall resulted from too much alcohol.

Trust me, here. I am the last person in the world who would get preachy about drinking alcohol. I drink regularly. Probably, too regularly. I drank yesterday and probably definitely drank too much. So a parental scolding about the dangers of booze is not where this is headed. I promise. However, earlier today I was prompted to recall the last time that I was embarrassed. There were a few instances that immediately came to mind. The specifics of these instances are really not important and, in all honesty, I am still too embarrassed to share them with the Internet. But guess what? All those times had a common thread. I bet you can guess what it was. Yep. Every single one occurred while I was under the influence.

This realization naturally caused me to stop and take a little inventory. If every embarrassing moment I can recall happened while I was intoxicated, then why do I continue to choose to drink? That’s a great question. Prepare yourself for a lot of rationalizations for my actions coming in the next few sentences. First, I certainly don’t embarrass myself every time I sit down and have a beer. The fun and the laughs I’ve had with friends while partaking most definitely exceed the times that things may have gotten a little out of hand. Second, it’s much easier for me to carry on conversations with acquaintances once I’ve had a drink or two. Third, it has become a social habit that I have come to rely on to a fault.

Are you rolling your eyes at me, yet? Just hear me out. My relationship with alcohol began at a pretty young age. I took my first drink at 14. Got knock down drunk for the first time at 15. My high school years were full of partying on weekends. I am sure that all of these experiences at a young age continually re-enforced the idea that there is no socializing without beers or booze. The two went hand in hand. College came around and partying on weekends turned into partying anytime I wanted. It will come as no shock to you that I wanted to party a lot.  And the great thing about college is that everybody wants to party a lot. Law school was no different. I think most of us were so miserable and stressed out that drinking with each other seemed to be the only time we had any fun at all.

After law school, I moved back home for a couple of years to practice there and get some experience being an attorney. Most of my high school buddies were still around town so we would hang out on the weekends. I’ll give you a second to guess what we did….

You got it! Drinking on Fridays and Saturdays turned into drinking on Sundays too. Then that turned into drinking once or twice during the work week. It’s incredible how much booze a single guy with a good salary in a small town can put away as long as he continues to show up for work everyday. This brief overview of my history contains a lot of embarrassing moments scattered throughout and alcohol was involved in most, if not all, of them.

Then, finally, I met the woman who would eventually become my wife. Although, ironically, I am not sure I would have had the courage to approach her without the help of my long time liquid companion. When you meet your soulmate the desire to numb yourself with intoxicants begins to fade. I want to be able to remember every single moment I have with her. I still drink in social situations. I still have an embarrassing moment from time to time as a result but I am not sure how much value alcohol adds to my life anymore and I am not sure why I continue to use it.

This story doesn’t have a tidy ending wrapped up in a neat little bow. I am still working through my feelings on all of this and how to approach cutting back. However, I am sure that a future without booze would result in a lot less embarrassing moments and that is a good enough reason to quit while I’m ahead.

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A lucky man. Also a lawyer. Classic oxymoron.

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