How “tomorrow” becomes roughly four days later

Well don’t I feel like an aimless loser, I promised a post on my birthday and didn’t provide one! I wish I had a good excuse, but in reality, it was mostly because of alcohol consumption. My birthday was pretty awesome though, this is the first time in a long time I have felt the age I’m turning. Granted, I don’t know how exactly one can “feel” 23, but, I do. Thursday was a truly fantastic day too because I requested off of work and was able to spend it in Middletown with my parents and friends. For those of you who don’t know, I was mostly raised in Maryland but live in Pennsylvania now right outside of the town in which I went to school. I have friends in Pennsylvania, of course, but I’m one of those people who still gets really homesick and finds myself visiting my parents more than most 20-somethings usually do. A lot of my friends from home who have moved back in with parents (or never left) say how much they don’t like living with their parents but I’m lucky in that my relationship with my folks is actually very solid. A lot of it is probably because I don’t live at home, but you can’t have everything.

The picture my dad took of me and our birthday sparkling wine (a dry blush)

I have actually been in Maryland for most of this past week thanks to my ridiculous homesickness. I’m not sure how thrilled my parents are to have a child visiting right after their last two finally flew the coop, but it’s been a very enjoyable week. It feels like a vacation really, being away from the stresses of my job and home, having TiVO, only having to mind one suitcase of crap rather than my entire room back in PA, etc. I’ve gotten a chance to see a lot of friends, spend time with my parents and dog, and back about 500 bad decisions. Those, also, are mostly related to alcohol consumption.

People close to me, or anyone who saw my eight frillion status updates about it, know that I took a month off of drinking. Not because I thought I had a problem, got into trouble, or thought I was pregnant, but because I honestly don’t think I had gone a month without drinking since graduating high school. I’m not talking binge drinking, I’m talking like having a glass of wine after a meal drinking. The month came and went (Alcohol-Free August) scarily smoothly. I work at a drug and alcohol rehab full-time so sometimes hearing statistics and stories over and over can ingrain this sense of negativity toward alcohol for me. I think of it as being bad for those who are addicted and I guess some of it rubs off on my personal beliefs. And anyone who has known me for any extended period of time knows that I used to be a pretty heavy drinker and party-goer. I know exactly why I was, and I’m happy to say that with age and maturity I realized that partying all of the time is really stupid. And I will never lose weight if I’m drinking 3-4 (or 5-6 depending) times a week. I’ve had a pretty healthy relationship with it since but I do question myself just because I spend my days having to think about it. How much is too much, when does it become a problem, etc. I hate it, because I know I’m fine, but it did niggle at me. I took a month off because I thought it would clarify a few things. And this year has been a year so far of goal-setting and accomplishing for me. I quit smoking, graduated from college, began an exercise regimen (and have lost seven pounds so far), and started eating healthy and watching my caloric intake. When I say I’m going to do something, I’ve actually been doing it. And that is actually a big step for me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been really damn good at starting things but teeter and waver and give up right before they’re finished. I accepted it as a part of my personality. “I can’t finish things.” I used it as my excuse for not graduating college in four years. I crapped out hard my last semester and I tried to blame it on my inability to finish things. The reality was that I was just really unhappy with the way my life was going, I was smoking too much pot and not doing any schoolwork, I was accepting the wrong things and fighting the right things. It took a very serious reality check of me failing an entire semester for me to get my head on right. I went home that summer with my tail between my legs, but with a determination to change shit now. I pulled my head out of my nether regions and focused. I’ve been a work in progress for over a year and I’ve off-kiltered a few times but for the most part, I’m living a life now that makes me proud of myself.

So I had the month completely sober in August and I was right, it did clarify a few things for me. Not only that it was way the hell easier than I ever expected, but that I really prefer being sober in general. I’m not getting all preachy, and don’t get me wrong I still drink, but I realized that my entire life I didn’t actually like the feeling of being drunk or high, I just liked the social aspect of it. Sorry D.A.R.E., I still thought that it made me cool. And not in a conscious way, I wasn’t holding my beer thinking, “I am so g-damn cool right now, errybody,” I just sought out situations and groups of people that were into it because I was an uncomfortable and socially awkward preteen and saw their weird sort of clubhouse mentality and disconnect that made them different and wanted to be a part of it. Like I said, I have with age learned that being part of the group leaving the bigger party to go smoke a bowl or do shots of Goldschläger doesn’t mean anything. That even though I like being one of the kids holding a cigarette, or going out for one, I don’t actually like smoking. And when that reality and understanding sunk in is when I was able to quit smoking cigarettes. I leave space in my life for recreation, I still love having a few drinks and being a little (okay, a lot) silly, but I limit myself. I’m accountable for my actions for the most part. I thought, briefly, about quitting drinking entirely. I had gone to the bar a few times during that month and just had diet coke and it hadn’t even phased me. It wasn’t the alcohol aspect of the bar I liked, it was the social situation. That goes back to what I said before; it wasn’t the alcohol/drugs/cigarettes that I wanted or liked really, it was the social situation that they created. And I can still have those situations in some respect now, but with less law-breaking and an overall better physical condition.

On my birthday, I went out for a martini after my birthday dinner with a few friends and did end up a little worse for wear. I hadn’t drank heavily since July and I’m still having to remind myself of my seriously crappy tolerance. I ended up making a decision that night that I’m trying not to be embarrassed by for the sole reason that I am a flaming feminist. I belief it is completely healthy for single women to have active sex lives and I think the stigma behind a woman who “hooks up” with guys being a slut is chauvinistic and extremely outdated. Women think about sex just as much as men and want to have it just as much as men and when we start believing statistics that try to tell otherwise (such as, men are just hard-wired for constantly wanting sex and women aren’t – that statement is violently untrue in every possible way), we’re dooming ourselves. Well, now you know what I did. And I will probably write an entire post about casual sex culture in today’s generation.

To end this post that went in a totally different way than I meant it to, I just want to throw out a thumbs ups:

The Wine Kitchen (Frederick, MD)

They specialize in flights of wine and have a fantastic selection. We ate dinner there for my birthday and it was absolutely fantastic. Their portions and pricing are both very decent and the steak I ordered was not only local, it was absolute perfection.

I’ll try to write again tomorrow, with a little more of a structure hopefully.
– a.

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