I Kissed Drinking Goodbye (Sort of)

I am not an alcoholic, but I’m pretty sure I could be.

In my blood flows the stuff of addiction. Alcohol, or otherwise.

Case in point: My way-back-when relative named Sterling rode a horse off a cliff due to the death-grip of alcohol.

In other family members, I’ve seen signs of self-medicating with substances, with certain behaviors.

My mother’s vice wasn’t alcohol. She jonesed after sweets.

“Come into the kitchen with me,” she’d murmur after supper.

I watched as she fed the leftover peach cobbler to the garbage disposal. Winced as stainless steel blades gobbled the treat.

I almost asked why, but I knew full well why.

Because I, too, tiptoe the moderation tightwire that spans the Niagra Falls of excess, gluttony. With food, beverages, shopping. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Years ago, new to a life of faith, I heard the Spirit’s whisper to not be drunk (with wine).

“Stick to one drink,” the kind voice advised. “Two, at the most, then stop. Trust me on this.”

I obeyed for the most part, except for that one birthday.

The next morning I awoke with my head obnoxiously pained, my mouth potty-paper dry, my bedroom a Tilt-a-Whirl.

I squinted at my face in the bathroom mirror. “How did I get home?”

Furtively. Illegally.

“No one asked if you were okay to drive,” someone, something, defended.

How many times did I do that very thing during high-school and college, the pre-Uber, pre-Jesus years?

Drink…drive…regret…swear off…Well, maybe just one. Two. Three.

“In vino veritas,” the saying goes.

Translation: In wine lies the truth.

To be honest, I don’t even need wine. Words rush and tumble out of my mouth without liquid assistance. But if you introduce alcohol, caffeine even, my tongue’s audacity quadruples.

More often than not, it’s been my careless, fluid speech I lament the most.

I pencil a pro and con list. Concerning alcohol consumption.

The pro row is pitiful. All I can praise is taste and relaxation.

The con column is pregnant, late term for sure.

  • Killer headaches
  • Gnarly stomach
  • Risky behavior
  • Embarrassment, if not humiliation (see previous point)
  • Calories: from the alcohol itself, from the midnight munchies drinking induces
  • The potential for a DUI traffic violation. Or worse, a car wreck. Worse still, a car wreck involving others.
  • The risk of losing everything. There wasn’t much to lose before, but now?

“I should just quit,” I told my cappuccino the morning after that birthday. “Forever.”

“Then why don’t you?” something, someone in the house hissed.

All to say, I don’t wrestle with why.  I wrestle with when.


This post originally ran on my first blog back in 2012. But another year of college is about to begin. Plus I know a number of folks currently dealing with this issue, so here we are.

For more on the  topic of alcohol consumption, read this stunning account.

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