Today's prompt over at Nicky and Mike's "We Work for Cheese" contest (one more day left!) is "and that's why I got drunk". Please head on over to all the other teetotaler and drunkard posts...and read what they have to say about it. Cheers!
I'm not sure what to write for this post. Whether I should write something about my distant past, my not so distant past (also known, ironically, as my not so recent past), or my recent past.
So, I will write something which I hope all kids and grown ups out there will listen to and use it as a lesson. In fact, I'll write two. One was way back in my past - the second, the other day. These are indeed facts and I'm not proud of them...but if I can save a life...then it will be worth the indignity and humiliation and whatever else I got.
Back in my personal heyday of drug taking...I was born in 1960 after all, the things to take were just smoking joints and drinking. Or for those not into pot, there was always good old cheap booze. Cheap booze, by the way is usually not "good" nor is it "old". They made it on Monday in some guy's bathtub (well, the factory which operates on this basic set-up) and by the weekend, it was miles away from their makers, stocking the shelves of your local purveyor of affordable buzzes.
I had many young friends as was fashionable in the days when you'd all drive around from place to place with a carload of friends...and most times, since I was either a tiny bit older or had a job to afford a car...I became very important to some of these people.
Drinking would usually be done in back of a place called "Obie's" or the very old "Pig 'n' Whistle Bar" which (talk about irony) burned down the first night we moved to Browns Mills, NJ, in 1972. They built a new one...but it wasn't as regal and resplendent as the original, but that was the one everyone "hung" behind.
There were a bunch of dirt trails back there and people hanging in the front of the bar made a nice extra income when the "younger kids" couldn't legally buy their liquour.
You'd take it around back...watch the cars, trucks, and motorbikes jump the dirt hills and you'd drink until drunk set it...and then you'd go home.
It wasn't hard to figure out that when a group of you ended up there watching the cars, trucks, and bikes...that was pretty much it to do where we lived; it was basically unofficially our town's entertainment distrinct. Considering it's behind two bars in the woods...and this was as good as it was going to get...sometimes people would use it as a gathering place to "party".
You'd get drunk to fit in, you'd get drunk because otherwise people wouldn't do these foolish things for your entertainment, you'd get drunk because life was absolutely friggen boring in Browns Mills, New Jersey...and that's why I got drunk, too.
It was at one such of these events that some of my friends wanted to go home and I was the designated driver. The "designated driver" back then meant: I was the one who had a car.
The roads around a lake don't have any shoulder...what they do have are embankments full up of pine trees and then water.
Volkswagen Beetles were known to roll over without much effort expended...just the gravitational pull of lopsided sitters, failure to obey a 15 mph sign, and way too much alcohol and other recreational "treats" from my era...sometimes culminates into a bad day. This day there was much reveling and everyone made an oooooooooooooh noise and my oil light flashed on. Never having had my oil light come on, I asked my passengers, who probably had no clue; this time they did. You see, I was up on two wheels about to go over like a curious boy prodding a Dung Beetle with a stick. I was just a hair shy from ending up at the bottom of the embankment, because when they tell you 15 mph, there's a reason...and the last number I reason I saw was about 55.
Well, nothing happened after that other than I swear I sobered up. I sobered up quickly. You see, I had a couple friends who drove drunk and killed their occupants, or messed them up for life. I was determined never to drive after drinking again...this was when I was 17...and I never have. Not even one drink. I have not done it. I take it that I have a lot of willpower...but I'd like to believe I'm ethical, too. I never want to be responsible for taking someone's life because I was too stupid and drunk to know when to say "No." You say "no" before you get to that point - and many nites I would be the sober driver before "sober drivers" were the in people.
That was lesson number one.
Lesson number two is embarrassing.
I take Ambien. Some Ambien don't work very well and I take more Ambien. I am also prone to dropping Ambien, and being a germaphobe, toss those away. I shouldn't. But when you are taking Ambien there is no such thing as a "rationale" mind.
So, after finishing up yesterday's "Deal With It" prompt, I realized I didn't have enough Ambien to get me until "end day" - the day I can refill these things...and I'm already getting my spazz on early. I look like a miser counting my money. My little vial, my pills, my pills broken into portions, the portions being obligated for this day and that...and still I realize I won't have enough to make it. So, I did something stupid...
...I remembered what a few of my friends said...that they took their Ambien and sloshed it back with some wine or vodka. Again, I'm a "rational" person...but a rational person on Ambien is akin to The Easter Bunny helping Santa load his sleigh up for him. There's no such thing.
But I took my partial pill and noticed I do indeed have vodka...so let me try this - as I said several friends swear by it. I took down the very pretty, and very small, cordial glasses for sipping tiny bits of sherry. Think overly large, overly old, women sipping only enough alcohol to fit into two thimbles. I took one off the shelf and meticulously wash it. I'm not so wonky in the head that the germaphobe isn't there. The germaphobe is always there...he has permanent residence in there and pretty much calls all the shots. And this shot of vodka is no exception.
After it is washed out and looking sparkly...I fill it up. I fill it up without realizing just how much straight vodka can fit into this tiny, delicate, intricately carved glass. One sip...well, there's more in the glass...I can't toss it out - it's perfectly good Grey Goose Vodka, dammit!
So, I purse my lips and take another couple swallows. Who would have known, that not unlike Doctor Who's TARDIS, it's much bigger INSIDE that glass than looking at it from the OUTSIDE. And, within a short period of time, one could say with great probability...that the Ambien was kicking in about the same time as the lady-sized vodka rocket...and that's why I got drunk. Drunk on an empty stomach to make the Ambien work (not supposed to eat before or after you take Ambien or it takes forever to kick in)...also makes the vodka work.
I'm not sure what was working better...but I was pretty much gone for a LONG time.
While it was nice to be gone for a long time when you have chronic insomnia and never sleep more than three hours WITH medication, but...please, please, don't shove back your medication with a goodly sum of alcohol. I was stupid to have done it...and I hope I'll never do it again. I think lesser things have sent people to early graves.
So that's another lesson learned. I hope it lasts as long as the first. And please learn from them, too. I know personally know people who has died from the first...and I know a couple people who mixed drugs with their alcohol and died as well. Just because it's prescription drugs instead of miscellaneous ones you got from your friends...doesn't mean they can't kill you just as dead.
Both those stories started out making me chuckle. I wasn't chuckling at the end, though. All good things in moderation I guess.ReplyDelete
Those are some valuable, if embarrassing, lessons you share. Glad you came out of them OK.ReplyDelete
I noticed I have a gazillion mistakes. I'm going to leave them in there. Screw it. I just got delivered a divorce summons right before I finished this...so I'm really not in the mood to change things up right this minute.ReplyDelete
I don't know what I'm going to do -- especially without health insurance. Seriously, this could not have come at a worse time...he had all these years and he chose right before my daughter was graduating and me with a butt issue.
I am very glad you've learned your lessons, Mariann. :) i've never gotten behind the wheel drunk, I don't even have a sip when I'm driving. I just can't see the point in drinking when you're going to drive, when you know how dangerous it is.ReplyDelete
Hey Mariann! These are wise words. Now, pass the vodka ;) Indigo xReplyDelete
I've never driven drunk, but I did roll a Volkswagen once. In hindsight, I think it was really fun. But I don't recommend it anymore more than you recommend heavy drinking or taking Ambien with your vodka. And you're wise not to.ReplyDelete
I'm actually quite glad that VW incident happened as I did drive tipsy a few times before it. Things really could have gone so wrong.ReplyDelete
I've never driven drunk, but I was once driven by a drunk. Once was enough. Important lessons.ReplyDelete
DAMN. Your story about drinking and driving. WOW. WOW. I don't even drive if I've had a few sips of wine. Far too scary... you are so right!ReplyDelete
Those life lessons that happen when you need them -- and nobody gets hurt -- are the best. Because hopefully it's a lesson learned and not repeated.ReplyDelete
Oy vey. drinking & driving and or drinking & medications = NO!ReplyDelete
With my history of drug usage (lots, of all varieties, but not for many years now) I won't get all holier-than-thou. I would like you to stick around, though, because I enjoy your writing. So remember this lesson, OK? Good.ReplyDelete
Yikes. You're a daredevil, you know that, Mariann? I'm glad you lived to tell those tales.ReplyDelete
Glad u sobered up I'm in Chicago reading this and I remember Obies and Mirror LakeReplyDelete