409 Days Dry

Several years ago I had developed a pretty serious drink problem. I was drinking every day and significant amounts. I think I could probably drink a whole bottle of wine by myself and when I came up on a friends big birthday, I went and bought four bottles 750 hard liquor because I was going to buy one and if you bought four you got $12 off. No brainer, right? Well, a week later when I was heading to see him with his bottle? The other three were gone. I have a Bacardi beanie hat to remind me of that. So whenever I look in the closet for gloves or a cold-weather hat for my bald head, I think of that series of choices.

So I spent 400 days dry from Thanksgiving 2011 until New Year’s Eve 2012, I think. I started out intending to write a book about it as I went along and share the cool alt-tails I created. I think I wrote something about as long as this post, added a few drink recipes and then quit. It wasn’t as important as quitting the alcohol. But the idea did not come to fruition. So for 400 hundred days I had only two or three sips of wine.

During that 400 days, I finished my third novel, the first and second times! Then I started again. A bit at a time 1-2 glasses, 1-2 times a week. I stopped buying boxes of wine. Red wine is my drink of choice, so there are some health benefits to limited use. That was fairly easy, though it quickly slipped to 2-3 times a week. Over the last two years, there have been times when my consumption became a topic of conversation with my counselor.

I also learned that there is a seriously larger incidence of alcoholism in people who drank early and binged. I had my first full beer at my cousin’s wedding in Scotland the same weekend Prince Charles and Lady Diana got married. I was 14 and probably weighed about 90 pounds. They tell me I woke up with a smile and that I turned down a second pint the night before. Which leads me to believe I had had enough and was probably still intoxicated the following morning.

My freshman year in high school I started developing my good little bad boy persona. I had been a good kid all my life. I drank beer, played party games to force myself and my friends to drink the stuff that pretty much tasted like crap. My senior year I had moved onto 151 as my drink of choice! I only needed a shot. The bottle would last quite a few parties.

My drinking slowed down once I was out of the house and raising kids. Too expensive. So I got into brewing. Slow process, but made some really good beer and mead. My first marriage ended and I finished college. I continued to brew and when I had an income I started buying alcohol again, this time legally. I hung out with actors. Drinking, or other forms of intoxication, unfortunately were common. I was almost the only actor who didn’t smoke, one substance or another. Somewhere in here my first marriage ended.

My second marriage included a fair amount of alcohol, an increase for me and a decrease for her. I took to drinking like a fish to water. Finding the most drinkable inexpensive red wines and supplementing them with homebrew and the new microbrews.

Last night, January 2nd, I noticed as I was drinking the last glass of wine I will drink for more than a year, that I wasn’t paying attention to how it tasted. Then why the heck am I drinking it? One guess. Not one I wanted to face. But I need to. I am…