It is probably not surprising but I realised today that I miss drinking alcohol. I miss alcohol and alcohol is missing. It is as if it is supposed to be there and then it isn’t.
I was at a really nice restaurant today with a group of friends and colleagues. We had completed a long and intense workshop and went for dinner together. I was quite exhausted and really needed to relax and to allow my head to fade into blurriness. We had to wait for the last participants to show up so we started by ordering drinks. Lots of wine and beer for the others. And a Coke Zero for me. I knew immediately that it wasn’t sufficient for slowing down my thoughts so I tried to focus on eating an exorbitant amount of bread with garlic butter. It didn’t really do the job. My neck hurt (which it does when I am stressed) and I could feel that I was still trying to keep the group energy up. It felt like work. I realised that I so missed alcohol. A cold beer or a glas of wine. Or both if possible. Usually at this early stage of the evening, I am trying to get my body to relax by consuming alcohol. Sometimes it is because I feel socially awkward and tense and need to create a kind of distance to the situation. Or simply because I am so worked up in my head with thoughts flying by at lightening speed that I need something to calm me down. And alcohol usually does that. The more alcohol I consume, the more at ease at social gatherings I get and my thoughts usually fly by at a slower pace. But not tonight because I didn’t drink any alcohol. So I just ate lots of bread with garlic butter, drank 3 Coke Zeros and tried to engage in an actual conversation with people sitting at the table. It wasn’t easy. I was focusing more on the fact that I was the odd one out. I didn’t drink alcohol. Somehow, I felt that I had disappointed everybody sitting at the table.
I also realised that alcohol was missing in another way. I drink beer and wine really fast. Much faster than almost everybody I know. When I have emptied a huge glas of beer, most people will have finished less than half of theirs. So I usually spend a lot of time observing people drinking their beers and wondering when it will be ok to order another one. Or I might simply be thinking about other people’s drinking patterns and whether they will get drunk. I am always calmed by the realisation that someone else is getting drunk because then I won’t be the only one. I won’t be the only one and I will have someone else to accompany me on my journey towards drunkenness.
And still, I always hope that I will be the sober one standing in the kitchen of someone’s house as the sun comes up having an intimate and important conversation with a person I just met at the wonderful party we were both at. Talking about things that we will both remember in the morning. I don’t think I was ever that person. I was the one still standing on the dance floor long after my drunkenness had tied my feet to the floor and I had stopped wondering whether there was still music coming from the loudspeakers. And even that I wouldn’t remember the next day.