In all seriousness, binge drinking taught me that joy was a thing. Even so, today marks 7 years since I stopped drinking. Thanks booze. I appreciate the lessons but I'm happier without you.
Like many of my peers, I lived a double life in early adulthood. Maever the binge-drinker was a total blast: free, fun, and the life and soul of the party. Daytime Maeve was uptight, anxious, and outwardly successful. Joy, to me, was the exclusive realm of a party. Drunk.
Sober Maeve was a horrible burden of seriousness and rules. Drinking was a haven: it offered a warm embrace and total freedom. It loosened me up so I could dance and finally be myself. It closed my eyes to outward obligation… at least at the blurry surface.
St Patrick’s Day 2009 I found myself standing outside Tapley’s bar in Whistler, crying my eyes out.
I was upset over something insignificant; really I wanted to drink myself fun again. My friend Amanda couldn’t comprehend the scale of my grief. “You’re making a big deal out of nothing. Just come inside, it’ll be fine.”
I was sad because booze wasn’t making me happy anymore. I’d foolishly assigned all my joy to that half-hearted blurry part of my life. I hated my daytime existence and was doing nothing to resolve my problems with it.
Objectively speaking, I was a mess. I’d forgotten how to live. Something told me it was time to cut the crap and clear up my whole life. I knew that drinking was an escape from some other pain I wasn’t acknowledging.
I saw how I was running from my problems. I saw that running away was compounding small problems into big ones. Above all, I was ready to meet my troubles straight on, sober, and move through them.
March 18 I woke up shattered and hungover. I silently resolved to never drink again. Shortly afterwards I stopped smoking pot for the same reason.
Make no mistake, I’ve tasted alcohol since 2009. Though, having resolved my penchant for escapism, I no longer enjoy it. These days you couldn’t pay me to drink a beer. I have no interest in misplacing my genuineness in a glass of wine or a bowl of pot.
So thanks, booze, for all the great times. And thanks for teaching me freedom. I learned a lot about myself from you. But I don’t miss you one bit.