My good friend wrote a post about his experiences with drinking and it has inspired me to also write about mine.
Alcohol was never a big factor in my childhood. I was never shied away from it, but it was never around in abundance either. I do remember getting to sneak a sip of my uncle’s beer from time to time and I always found it pretty good.
Into my teen years, I still never really got around any alcohol until my late teens ( like 17 or so). Then I met some of the “cool kids” and found that beer WAS pretty good, but we never had enough (for me anyway) to get get hammered. My first experience with being drunk wouldn’t happen until my 20’s.
I worked at Best Buy and, again, hung out with “the cool kids” and I went to my first real bar. Shot after shot, beer after beer, I was drunk for the first time…
And it was glorious!
Now, one of the reasons that I am also writing this post is that Brian and I shared a lot of these experienced together. We drank a lot together. Why? Because we are kindred spirits and we both had the battle cry: “I am never growing up!”
So, I drank to get drunk. If it was a party, I was drinking incredibly massive amounts of alcohol to get drunk and have fun. Because that is what I like to do. I had been doing it since I was in my 20’s and I wasn’t slowing down anytime soon.
So I thought.
Now similarly to Brian, I also had a medical issue that caused me to go sober. Some of the psych meds I was put on did not really mix well with booze and I had also just got out from being in-patient at a mental health facility. So, having a reaction to my new meds and/or going back into an In-Patient was not something I wanted to do. So, I quit drinking. I stayed away from alcohol for over a year. Until one day…
I just wanted a fucking beer.
Not because I NEEDED a beer, or was having a craving, or whatever. I just simply wanted a god damn beer. An ice cold Shinerbock to go with my steak that I ordered at the hotel that my wife and stayed at to celebrate our anniversary. Simple as that.
I remember that beer. It was the most delicious beer that I had ever had. I remember the fear that I had with it, too. I thought my head was going to explode because taking mood stabilizers and having 2 pints is like mixing soda and pop-rocks, right? Or would I just stay asleep forever like some Hollywood type in their 20’s, but I was in my 30’s and not famous. Then it happened: I woke up after a nights sleep and I was ALIVE!
So, the next party we had, I was drinking and drunk Jeff had returned.
However, it wasn’t the same. It wasn’t like it was when I was in my 20’s and early 30’s. I am pushing 40 now and like Brian, I was never growing up. Right? That was the plan still right? I mean I have a room full of fucking action figures, I wear nothing but geek t-shirts and Chuck Taylors and I still wear a back-pack for fucks sake. You’re goddamn right I am not growing up!
But, the days of “Drunk Jeff” may have seen their golden age pass. That aspect has “grown-up” or at least evolved into a new creature.
Because I have changed my drinking habits (Mainly frequency and type of alcohol) I have found that drinking isn’t about getting drunk. It’s about enjoying the journey to getting to that point where you have had a bit too much.
Like any good geek, I started looking into what I was drinking. I do prefer a good stout (Legion by Community Beer Company is amazing) when it comes to beer and I tend to gravitate to the finer Irish Whiskeys and Bourbons which is what I tend to drink more of than beer. However, there is one drink that I hold higher that all others and it is one that I have put my passion in, my poison of choice is Scotch.
When I sit down with a good Scotch, I don’t drink it as fast as the other above drinks. Scotch is different. Scotch is a drink that you prepare almost as ritualistically as Absinthe, and you also prepare yourself and your environment for. Scotch is savored and enjoyed like a good conversation, because each one is different.
So, my new drinking habit is this: Find something of good quality that fits you (beer, bourbon, or whisky; it doesn’t matter) and enjoy it. Don’t worry about getting to the drunk part, if it’s quality, it will get you there. It’s the conversation and the journey that matters.
So, I have grown-up, a little; however I am not getting rid of my action figures and I still will be wearing my Converse. Some shit is never going to change.*
*Shit will always change.