Some of the teachers from my school were headed out yesterday afternoon for Happy Hour. I felt a twinge as I remembered all the Friday Afternoon Clubs that I had attended back in the dark days - "before the Clone Wars." They wanted me to come along. I wanted to go.
Well, part of me wanted to go. The social part of me that is witty and charming and makes such a lovely first impression. I wanted to go and be part of the gang, blowing the dust off the week that was and opening up the weekend with a little bit of camaraderie. The notion of knocking back a few adult beverages hung in the air and then I recalled the reason why I go straight home after school: I'm an addict.
The short version would be that I don't drink anymore because I'm no good at it, but the truth is I was once very good at it. The more accurate description would be "addict." I don't tend to do things just a little. I do things a lot. Drinking was a compulsion. If the bottle was opened, it had to be emptied. A case of beer has twenty four cans, and that's how you know you're done - when the cans are empty. In college we would look at each other and ask (somewhat rhetorically) "Penny Lane?" and we'd meet at the bottom of the beer glass. I would go to Penny Lane dozens of times a night. It was a physical challenge. When I got to a bar, I was there until Last Call.
Lots of people have a period of binge drinking in their lives. Mine was the Reagan administration. I was losing focus and losing friends. People loved to be around me for the first few drinks. I was very entertaining. It was the next nine or ten that became the concern. In my twenties, I considered myself indestructible and couldn't imagine why (given enough water and Tylenol) I couldn't pursue the lifestyle of Hunter S. Thompson, or Ernest Hemingway.
Those guys didn't end up happy. They just ended up. I made a choice some years back to try to find addictions or compulsions that wouldn't end up killing me. Running is working out right now. Writing a blog is working out right now. I had to give up Peanut M&Ms. In Hotel New Hampshire, John Irving once wrote: "Get obsessed and stay obsessed." I'm not sure I have any choice.
I didn't go to Happy Hour yesterday. I would like to go someday.