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My favorite actor, Peter O’Toole, passed over the weekend. He was one of the last great classic drunks. It didn’t dawn on me until the announcement of his death how much I romanticized drinking in my early years. It was cool, fashionable and classy. Even the falling down was stylish. Scotch began a staple, even though it’s the worst-tasting swill ever. Wine was studied. Craft beers were enjoyed. As long as I pretended to be a connoisseur, the spectre of alcoholism remained at bay.

Step One: we admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.

I’d heard he’d quit later in life – when the doctors told him to drink again was to die. Thank goodness I was forty years younger, and still had plenty of time to curb my craving.

But my love affair with alcohol stopped being anything close to glamorous almost immediately. Isolated drinking, sneaking shots, and hidden compartments became mainstays within a very short time. I was no longer the life of the party; I was the guy everyone at the party worried about. There’s nothing colorful about pulling off the bed sheets for washing in the morning while leaning the mattress up against an open window. I wasn’t Peter O’Toole. Hell, I wasn’t even Otis from Mayberry.

It’s just another lie I told myself to ignore the facts that were staring me in the face (see: Step One). The frequency ratcheted up to constant while I continued to manage my life by removing all things non-drink related. Namely, people, places and things that stalled or questioned my drinking. I became a tyrant and a bully: a loud-mouthed braggart and bitcher that beat down anyone expressing concern.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: My alcoholism wants to move into a cheap studio apartment with me and get serious about my drinking career. A chair, a television, booze and cigarettes and I’m good to go. Who needs people? What have they ever done for me? Nothing, considering what I’ve forever done to them.

Today, with a clear head and somewhat calm mind, I at least stand a chance of making it through without tearing it down. Mr. O’Toole, I’m done as well, sir. Take care and Godspeed.

2 thoughts on “the romance is gone.

  1. Good step one thought for the day. I too went through a gourmet phase with alcohol somehow justifying why I could finish a bottle of wine in an hour or so. Eventually it was cheap bottom-shelf vodka in plastic bottles. I know that if I were to start drinking again, it might take a few weeks, maybe a few months, but I would be right back there, scanning the shelves for a $3 dollar half pint to stuff in my jacket. Thank you for doing this everyday.

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