The constant worry affects my life infinitely more than the actual drinking. The drinking is two or three hours of nice and then bed. But the worry, the anxiety, it's always there. A backpack full of enormous college textbooks strapped to my body weighing me down and wouldn't it just be easier to take off the fucker?
Probably. But can I not enjoy this one damn thing or does my brain have to constantly analyze causes and effects and whys and why nots? My whole life is an over-analysis of my whole life. Look at this blog. A manifesto of over-analyzation. I cannot escape. Analyzation is as much a part of my being as breathing. So, give me this, dammit. Let me have this, my three beers at night. Because, GOD, I'm not drowning any sorrows in the amber stuff, not masking any pain...Okay, maybe a little pain but not big pain, just the usual scraped knees and paper cuts of life. Maybe a couple wounds here and there that required stitches, but they're healing nicely, mostly no big deal!
The beer stealthily sands the sharp, jagged edges of the day into smooth, graceful lines. Isn't it ever so nice to run fingertips across silky smooth banisters instead of having to stop and dig out slivers? The days are filled with slivers. And the beer, it slows the analysis. He takes a Xanax for his anxiety, she takes a Valium for her thing, why can't I have three beers for my thing? What's wrong with that? And yet even just rhetorically posing the question here is the starting gun that prompts a million voices in my head to trip over themselves in their anxious effort to answer... That's how it starts. That's denial talking. If you have to ask you already know the answer.
But I don't! I don't know the answer! It's three silly beers. Sometimes four. And besides, it was a rhetorical fucking question, you asshole.
And then I'm stuck right back where I was when I wrote this post. I went back and read all the excellent comments again today and one really stood out for me:
Personally, if I were spending my day watching the clock, waiting for the drink to be officially OKAY, and then spending the next two hours fretting about the drink I just had, that would be a problem FOR ME.
I don't clockwatch but usually glance up and it's nearly five or after five or whatever and I'm like, All right! Time for a drink! Yes, that's an exclamation point. Two exclamation points! I put them there to demonstrate that beer time makes me excited. It does. What is that you're doing? Is that a pencil? Are you taking notes? Did you add the exclamation points to the list of things that point to alcoholism?
So the part of her comment that really stood out for me is where she says spending all that time fretting about having a drink would ruin it for her. Because that's kind of what's happening here. I enjoy my drinks and we go to bed and then I wake up in the morning and I'm all, you're so silly. You don't need to drink. It's just extra money and extra calories and a whole lotta extra stress.
I maintain that party line for the rest of the day, mostly. But, just like the morning mist slowly evaporating as the sun climbs a ladder of clouds into the sky, so does my You Don't Need To Drink sentiment. I don't need to drink but I want to.
And so what?
I write my stuff and shuttle kids to and fro, maybe go to the park, deal with a tantrum or two, put the kids in their rooms - rolling the dice on some afternoon quiet time to finish up some more writing and then, before I know it, Dinner Hour is once again making my acquaintance, his twin brother Cocktail Hour in tow, and the whole thing starts all over again.
And really I just want to annihilate the part of my brain that engages in this fucking square dance because can I not enjoy myself for two fucking hours at night if I'm dotting all my I's and crossing all my T's the other 22 hours a day? Life is short, man. But maybe that entire thought process is the last bastion between me being a functioning human being or the star of the next episode of Intervention? See. There it goes again...
Round and around and around we go...