Dear Reader, she missed yesterday’s appointment. She says it’s because her work, school, and social calendars have been all mixed up. But, when she arrived in my office, she appeared to be nursing a hangover. Either way, I get an extra $150 for rescheduling.
“So, how are you feeling?”
I don’t know, not great. I feel… salty? I don’t know if that makes any sense. But, not like the salt that goes on french fries. I’m talking road salt in February salt.
“Are you hungover?”
A little, yeah. My day off was yesterday and I went a little overboard with the wine at dinner. My mom is pretty mad. She’s got her own… experiences… with drunk people and it bothers her when me or other family members get a little heavy handed with the alcohol.
“How much did you drink?”
I want to say four glasses of red? It’s not the best feeling, wine drunk. I told myself never again after Korean BBQ in April, drank a full litre of red and wound up throwing up for like 24 hours. Told my mom it was food poisoning. She knew I was lying. You can’t mistake the smell, you know?
“Why do you think you drink that much?”
I… I’m not sure actually. When I get like that at dinners or parties it’s because I’m nervous and I don’t want to feel that way anymore or make other people uncomfortable. Last night was a mistake. If I get that drunk, I usually don’t go home. Or, I try to sober up a little before. Like I said, mom doesn’t like drunks.
“And you’ve always done that. Even the first time you drank?”
Oh, especially the first time I drank. I had just turned 19 and the summer camp I was working at was throwing their annual boat cruise. I took out $20 for booze on the boat and the drinks I bought with that money were going to be the only ones I had. Then, I got invited to this pre-game thing. I’ve never been to one of those. I didn’t drink in high school. Ever. So, I went. After hanging out for a bit, the guy who invited me decided to take shots with me. I got up to three with him, before he left me with the bottle and went to talk to other people. I took a few more shots by myself before he came back to bring the vodka back inside.
Then it was time to take the bus there. I remember being an absolute idiot. If it were possible to just forget that that bus ride ever happened, I would be the happiest person on earth. I was talking all sorts of stupid, awful things. Surprisingly really dirty things too. At that point, I had seen like, what? One penis? I thought I was some hot shit apparently. Bragging about all the sex that I was definitely not having.
“So, what happened once you got to the boat?”
I got breathalyzed. Twice. Three times the legal limit. Obviously they aren’t taking me on this boat, no way. So they pack me back onto this bus with a guy who was underage and then sent the both of us home. And if I thought the bus ride there was embarrassing… the one home wasn’t exactly my finest hour too. Called my boyfriend at the time to come pick me up and told my mom that I was going to be later than I expected from the boat cruise. Sobbing the entire way. Slept it off at his parents’ house. I twisted my ankle at one point, though. I was being chased to the bus.
“They chased you?”
Yeah, they had these staff videos at the end of the summer. I was, um, heavily featured.
Looked like a drunk, pink hippo. And you’d think, you’d think, having that image in my head. Having a sober image of how disgusting I am when I drink. You’d think that would help me slow down. And yet, from my very first time… the brakes were not there. I took this, Am I An Alcoholic test and the result wasn’t optimistic. It’s a cause for concern, apparently.
“So, you know what you need to do then. We’ve discussed more effective coping strategies for your tendencies towards negativity and nervousness. Why don’t you make some lists about what you can do differently?”
I’ve been keeping journals, I’ve been healthy and keeping up with all my obligations. I’ve got to be more careful, obviously. More sensitive to my mother, obviously. But I’m not sure that The Brand could stand another moral flaw on my part if I went full Recovery Mode and curbed it all together. I really think I can get a hold of myself.
“Difficulties with anxiety and alcohol are not moral flaws.”
Look, I know that. It doesn’t feel that way though, and that’s the problem.