Squirrell stretched out on a rock in the shade under a fir tree.

Wiped Out.

First thought this morning after waking up with alcohol-induced tachycardia, “When is this going to end?”  Last night was the second night in a row of uncontrolled drinking, smoking, and eating; the third night in the last seven days.  Went out with my sister on Saturday and knew we were going to drink because that’s how we are, that’s what we learned to do in the early 1980s when we were young, wild, and free.  That’s how we relate to each other.

Yesterday, when I was recovering from the Saturday binge, my traitorous mind kept whispering, “Embrace the crazy!”  Between that and the boredom from yet another day sitting at home with no motivation to go anywhere or do anything else, I gave in with no argument when dear husband suggested we buy some beer.  “There are still a couple of joints left.”  That sealed the deal.

I think about not drinking every day.  I think about drinking every day.  I think about the consequences of pursuing either path and neither option is particularly attractive.  If I don’t drink, what will be left?  What will take its place?  The old adage is true — change is scary.

If I do continue to drink, how long before absolutely everything falls apart?  Just because I’ve managed to maintain my good job and a degree of respectability, does not mean my carefully crafted house of cards can’t all come crashing down when I am found out or when my health fails.

My husband will continue to drink, even if I don’t, although maybe not quite as much as he does now.  Can I stand it if he continues to drink and I don’t?  I’ve tried this and, honestly, the resentment puts me in a bad place, and I don’t like who I am when I go to that place.

My sister binges.  My brother, well, as far as I know, drinks all the time.  My aunt drinks.  My father was (is?) an alcoholic; he quit drinking almost 30 years ago — now he is old, in ill health, and developing dementia.  His brother died of alcohol-related illness.  My paternal grandmother was a binge drinker.   My mother, not a drinker at all, nevertheless, has her own issues with addictive substances; tobacco being her drug of choice, television her escape from reality.

David Cain, over at, wrote a good piece about self-esteem and its link to one’s activities.  I highly recommend reading, “Where Self Esteem Comes From“.  I will ask myself that very question when the thought crosses my mind to indulge.  “Do I like who I am while I’m doing this?”  And the answer will be all over the place depending upon where my head is at on that particular day.  So much for emotional intelligence.

I know I don’t like who I am when I’m wound up with tension.  I don’t like who I am when my irritability is enough to make me hate the sound of my own voice.  I don’t like who I am when I’m avoiding people because I don’t want to deal with them.  I don’t like who I am when the despair makes it hard to even get out of bed.  I don’t like who I am when I’m recovering from a hangover after drinking too much, smoking too much, eating too much.

But I do like who I am when I’ve got a good buzz on and am having fun, listening to blues, dancing, playing card games or dice, laughing, joking, crying, playing Ping-Pong, coloring, gardening, contemplating the mysteries of life. . . I like who I am when I put in an honest day’s work and feel like I accomplished something.  I like who I am when I take care of myself.  I like who I am when I meet my family obligations on time, with no delay.

“They” say that binge drinkers are not necessarily alcoholics, but that binge drinking can lead to alcoholism.  I am not an alcoholic in the sense that I am physically dependent upon it, but drinking 30 twelve-ounce beers over the course of two days is certainly not an innocent, seldom-repeated occurrence either.  If I am not an alcoholic yet, I am well on my way to being one.