I mean, it’s been really goddamn hard to tell these last couple years. I might be a functioning alcoholic that just doesn’t know it yet.
Like, I’ve knocked back 3-4 drinks on a random Tuesday more than a few times during lockdown, and I’ve had to specifically track alcohol expenses under their own tab on my monthly budget spreadsheet. I’ve also more than once just caved in during what was supposed to be a dry week.
But on the other hand, I have successfully had a dry week now and again. And I’ve never been late to work or missed appointments or failed to do the dishes because I was too drunk or hungover.
So I don’t know man, maybe this is how every alcoholic’s story starts. Probably. Don’t think I ever heard anyone say, “I was totally sober and dealing with life for thirty years, then one day I just decided, fuck it, now I have to be drunk all the time.” My understanding is that all addictions begin with a series of promises that you break because they’re very small, and once you realize how easy it is to lie to yourself, you lean in.
I guess I’m not at the stage where I’m lying to myself. I know I drink too much. But not so much that I feel entirely helpless. Just like a sort of sometimes-helpless.
I need to start writing another book again. I tend not to drink too much when I know I’ve got something to keep busy. I wouldn’t call it “mania” because I’ve seen actual bipolar disorder up close and personal, and my highs and lows aren’t nearly as pronounced. But I think my highs and lows are like bipolar’s lazier cousin – the highs are just strong enough to be useful when I’m riding them, and the lows are just strong enough that I feel compelled to drink to ride them out. The problem is, lately I’ve been drinking through the highs, too, and that just fucking sucks. If I can get started on another book, I’ll keep that high going smooth and steady right up tot he finish line.
I mean, I know I’ll feel like shit when I finish writing it and have lost my purposes again, and suddenly the world will go back to being dark and helpless and I’ll want to crawl into bed, but at least I won’t be drunk at the time. That’s worth it.