What I’m always intrigued to find out when I read any drinking memoir (currently reading ‘Girl Walks Out of a Bar’ by Lisa Smith) is how much someone drank. Sometimes I wonder if this is my addict’s brain hoping to be able to say “look! That person drinks more! That means you are FINE!” but I can report that except for some of the stories that involve other substances too, there have been few so far where the author has topped my levels. On occasion I find myself thinking they must be lying. One bottle of wine per day? Pah! You call that a drinking problem? Bloody amateurs! Truth of the matter is it doesn’t, uhm, matter. We’re all different and we all react differently too. I always feel a bit hesitant to divulge the amounts I used to drink just in case someone like Drunk Me might hear and take it to be “oh look! She drinks WAY more! That means I am FINE!” – that’d be terrible. At the same time I want to be open and honest about this and talking about the actual amount of wine I was drowning in is part of the story here.
Strangely enough, looking back it would seem the amount I drank remained pretty level for almost the entirety of the 12-13 years I drank heavily. When I first spiralled, it was gradual but it was also FAST. In almost no time I quickly worked my way up to and went from almost a bottle of wine a night to nearly two bottles in what can’t have been more than a matter of a year or so of almost everyday drinking, and that’s where I seemed to remain. My cruising speed seemed to stabilise at between two and a half and closer to three bottles and that’s where I seemed to stay. Oh, I know, it’s staggering amounts – I’m not saying otherwise – but isn’t it a little surprising that it didn’t creep further? Then again, perhaps it would have. I just can’t imagine hard liquor but I’m sure my friend Tumbler probably said the same thing at some stage before she found herself drinking Jagermeister before breakfast during those last few years before she lost her life to alcoholism. It’s not as if I ever saw myself drinking a cask of wine every night of the week either. Tomaydo, tomahto.
Before I met Hubby nearly six years ago, I did go under a few times. One particular moment sticks out in my mind of getting more wine as soon as I could stand up one day and I was shaking so bad and was so dizzy I felt my legs starting to give way when I was less than 50 yards from my front door. I think that’s the only time I thought I’d have to open one of the bottles there and then, right on the sidewalk out in the street, and take a few swigs to come right. I didn’t have to, but you can bet your bottom dollar I was into that bottle before I even took my shoes off after making it home those last few yards. I don’t know what time of day it was but probably not much past lunchtime. Hubby, unbeknownst to him, probably slowed me down. Never good to have a witness when you’re up to no good. So I probably have more to thank him for than just telling him I’m grateful for being my best friend – the fact that he just exists seems to have pulled me back from the edge a bit. I’m sure this is true for many alcoholics but I sank the deepest when I was left alone and unchecked and could drink the way I wanted to.
That was the amount I seemed to maintain over the majority of my heavy drinking days – around the two and a half bottles of wine per sitting. Before the dawn of Hubby there were patches – sometimes longer periods – of every single day, definitely. There were also times when I didn’t drink that often and even a longer period one year where I didn’t drink at all for nearly five months. I suspect many of us alkies have a drinking history like that, slightly patchy. In the years since Hubby came along I’d say I’ve probably averaged around four or five nights a week. To be clear though, there are very few instances when I’ve had a drink and it hasn’t lead to me getting completely blotto or in black-out. Apart from times when I’ve either not been able to as there was no more booze or we had visitors or similar, it’s always been a case of if I have one I’m a goner. One drink is too many, twenty aren’t enough – the story of my life.
Do you read this and think HOLY MOLY did she really drink that much? Or do you read this the way I read about one bottle of wine per day and think WTF that’s nothing? You don’t have to tell me but it does always interest me for some reason to hear what another addict’s/alcoholic’s daily intake looked like. Not sure why and whilst in the past it would have been in the hope I’d be able to say “hurrah! I don’t have a problem because just look how much SHE drinks! I’m nothing like that!“, that’s not the case now. I don’t want to drink again because 1) it only causes shit and has no benefits, and 2) if I start drinking I cannot stop.
So the book I mentioned at the beginning is actually one of those where I’ve gone HOLY MOLY, because Smith describes drinking wine and snorting cocaine from the moment she wakes up. There is no part of me – at least not right now – that is trying to use this as a favourable comparison though. It’s not better and it’s not worse. Addiction is addiction. Just like it might be easy to point to the end stage alcoholic on the park bench and say “but I’m not THAT bad” in some pathetic attempt at making yourself believe you’re a “better” drunk because you’re drinking a good wine and not strong cider out of a can in full view. Tomaydo, tomahto. I’ve said it before, but the only difference between me and the drunk on the park bench in this very moment is one drink. That’s all.
Today I’m not going to drink.