It’s Friday evening as I sit at my desk, starting to write this post. Next to me I have a glass of wine, just like I always do on Friday nights. And Saturdays. And sometimes on Tuesdays, but only if I don’t have to work on the Wednesday.
Those are the only nights I drink.
Do I drink until I am drunk?
Do I get tipsy?
Can I say no to alcohol?
I think I was about twelve when my parents said I could try a glass of wine at Sunday roast. I took one sip of it and decided I don’t like it. Maybe they said I could try it because I asked, maybe it was their idea. I think the first, as my mom didn’t drink, but my father did. My mom had the occasional glass of sherry, and if I say occasional, I really mean occasional. It might have been three or four times a year and I think in the last ten years of her life she never had one drop of alcohol. It was just not her ‘thing’. She liked her tea and cappucino, and if she wanted something cold to drink it was either milk or orange juice. Oh and buttermilk.
My father, however, was a different story. He drank. Every day. I grew up with a father who would fall asleep on the couch just after eight, snoring away. Then woke up just before nine, with a killer headache, pop some aspirin with another beer and go to bed. If you grow up like that, you don’t see that it’s wrong. He was never violent when he was drunk, but he had slurred speech and sometimes stumbled over his own feet.
I remember one year when we were on holiday that my mom sent my father and uncle (also a drinker) off to get some food and drink. They came back with about three times the amount of drink than food. My mom was furious and she made it known to my father. When later that day my father was too drunk to stand on his own feet, she emptied all the wine and beer in the sand next to the tent, and refused to give my father money the next day to get more alcohol.
When I was in my twenties I signed up for the army. Now if there’s a place where you can easily become an alcoholic, it’s the army. Booze is cheap, and opportunities do drink are many. So yes, I had my drunken experiences in the army. There were three times when I was really drunk, two of them while I did my basic training, and both those times when driving home (I was the passenger) they had to stop the car because I had to vomit. The last time was when a year before I quit the army, when I made the rank sergeant. They took me out on a pub run, making me drink all kinds of different things. I spent the entire night hugging the toilet pot, vomiting my lungs, my stomach, everything out. I have never been so sick as that night, and a couple of days after, and I have never been that drunk again.
Fun thing is that we sat talking at the office about being drunk, and I told my colleagues that story and said proudly: I’ve never been drunk after that. Then we went to Bristol — I believe it was 2016 — and on the Friday night at the meet & greet, Master T was the one making sure I had a glass in my hand all the time. I have no idea how much I drank that night. We went upstairs, and sexy stuff happened, but I fell asleep when he went to the bathroom. I woke up a couple of hours later, and it was only the next morning at the opening note of the conference that some snippets of the night before came back. I leaned over to Master T asking if it really happened, and he confirmed it. Bit by bit my memory returned.
And, I can now say that 2016 really was the last time I was drunk, even though it was in no way as bad as in 1993.
Back in 2007 I traveled to South Africa for the last time, and saw my father for the first time in 13 years. On all of the three nights we were there, he was drunk, and in bed by nine. Nothing had changed. No, something did change. He then didn’t drink only beer, but started with beer, then had red wine, then a beer and then white wine. It was disgusting.
I like my wine
Yes, I do like a glass of wine, but tend to drink no more than three (mostly two) on a night. Sometimes after the first one I just had enough. I don’t like to feel tipsy. I like for the wine to relax me some, and then go to bed and have a good night’s sleep. Sometimes even one glass of wine can have a negative effect, making me feel tipsy, and causing me to sleep restless.
I think having the example of my father has made me cautious for drinking too much. Yes, I had my drunken moments, but those can literally be counted on one hand. I prefer to keep it that way. I enjoy a glass of wine, but I will never let alcohol control my life the way it has (and still does) my father’s.
Master T drinks too, but he also does it in moderation. If we know there is a chance we might drink some more than we normally do (a glass or two – me wine, he whiskey) then we make sure we’ve had a proper meal before, to counter the effect of the alcohol. That works.
And, one good thing: both Master T and I can stop drinking without blinking an eye. There was a time where we both decided we would stop, and we didn’t drink for more than a year. We drink because we like it, but always in moderation. And, if I never drink again, just like my mom did, that will be fine too.
© Rebel’s Notes