In my boozer days the first thing I would think about when I had a weekend night at home alone was to crack a bottle of wine. I would enjoy the fact I wasn’t going out with friends as then I could drink freely at home without judgement or any of that pesky waiting for other people to finish their drink before ordering a new one malarkey. There would be a booze preparation plan: purchase enough wine to see me through the evening, and a pack of darbs (I would often smoke when I planned to binge drink).
Not that this was much of a plan. It was a pretty simple plan really: drink wine and smoke darbs on my balcony. Not that I would say my new plan has evolved dramatically: pizza, chocolate and a movie. Obviously a bit of replacement therapy going on there but you can’t quit everything otherwise you wouldn’t have anything to look forward to except a salad. I guess you could become a sex addict or a gambler but what a giant hassle. No, I’ll stick with my pizza and chocolate thanks.
When I was drinking I never really set out to get drunk. Sometimes I would even be extremely delusional and think that I might just enjoy a couple of glasses and call it a night. More often than not I would end up finishing my bottle of wine and heading out for another one. Sometimes bicycling at ridiculous times to faraway late night bottle shops (poor planning due to my delusion). This had become increasingly regular at the end of my drinking days. Funnily enough people seemed to think I was a bit of a ‘hummus eating, bicycling to yoga class after work’ type of person, which is true I did all of those things but what they didn’t know was after yoga I might then partake in a wine or two. Bottles that is.
However, maybe I am giving myself way too much credit in thinking they didn’t know. I remember hopping in the lift with my boss one day when I was particularly late and hungover, and I actually tried not to breath as I was afraid he would be able to smell the booze on me. As soon as he got out of the lift, I deeply exhaled in a sigh of relief. Perhaps they did know and regularly whispered behind my back, calling me The Walking Wine Barrel. I’d accept that. Then. Not now.
Now, they probably call me The Chocolate Scoffer, or something just as derogatory. Bastards. But I guess the thing is, I’d rather be a chocolate scoffer than a wine barrel. I’ve never said anything stupid or left myself open to all the dangers after eating too much dairy milk. I’ve never finished off a block of top deck, and cycled out at twenty to midnight in search of another block. I’ve never fallen asleep on the incline of a set of stairs because I’d been out all night on the chocolate. However, I probably have woken up the next day and declared ‘I’m never eating chocolate again!’.
I use to look forward to the ritual of getting drunk alone. It was the freedom to get as drunk as I wanted without worrying about doing something stupid, or having to socialise to make it seem normal. However, even though I relished drinking alone, on occasion I would message a friend late at night and decide it was a perfect time to go out. By the time I got out I would be incredibly drunk and at a point when I was losing touch with reality. Sometimes I would stay out for an hour then smoke bomb, and not even realise I hadn’t said goodbye until the next day when I would wake up to a friend’s worried texts. These days I certainly don’t crack a box of chocolate, and decide halfway through I want to change out of my pjs and hit the late night cafes in search of a latte.
The nights I did manage to keep my drunkenness contained in my apartment, I might drink steadily for a few hours until I realised I was hungry, and then order Uber Eats some time after ten. The order process would be a total palaver. One night I ordered a meal then promptly fell asleep, completely missing the delivery man. There’s nothing sadder than waking up to a cold Uber Eats bag at your front door, like some sort of delivery of drunken regret.
Now I don’t need to worry about drunken late night Uber Eats deliveries, or morning Uber Eats breakfasts to ward off hangovers. I actually don’t think I’ve ever ordered Uber Eats sober. Instead, on a night home alone on the weekend one of my main focuses is delicious snacks. Chocolate being my go-to. Sometimes it doesn’t remain a weekend treat either. Like alcohol, some weeks I will find myself binging on it, particularly when I am stressed, or unhappy, or the feeling of pointlessness at everything overwhelms me. My compulsion to eat vast quantities of chocolate is that same uncontrollable urge I feel with alcohol, the desire to keep ingesting until I can’t anymore. Okay, it’s definitely better than alcohol (see reasons above) but it’s still something I need to work on. Perhaps figure out why I have this void that needs filling.
A few years ago I attended Buddhist teaching classes, and the teacher said how desire only causes us harm because anything you desire you can overindulge in. Her example was a pack of Tim Tams: one Tim Tam = delicious, whole pack of Tim Tams = sickness. This analogy really rang true to me as I would always eat/drink to the point of overconsumption. If anything, I would think there was something wrong with people who would eat only one Tim Tam, like they must have real issues to not want to devour the whole pack, these weird moderate Tim Tam eaters. Unfortunately the Buddhist teachings didn’t do much to change this but at least I am AWARE of all my faults. Awareness counts for something. Awareness = a possibility to change.
Sometimes I get an inkling to revert back to the old plan for a night in alone but then I think of how short-lived my happiness would be, and how much I would hate myself in the morning, and it stops me. From previous experience I know that if I was to slip only once it would take me several months, possibly half a year to get back on track to sobriety. The feeling usually passes within half an hour of relaxing on my bed with a good movie on the laptop, and a pizza in hand.
I’ve just got to sit with it and let it pass, and it will. Once it does I usually don’t even notice as I’m too busy enjoying my movie and my pizza. It might not be the healthiest replacement for a weekend night in alone but that can be a work in progress. The main thing is, the late night bottle shop runs are sitting at zero, and so is the balance of my Uber Eats account.
For more Ex-Boozer Chronicles click here