I no longer drink socially. Drink exclusively at home, typically in the presence or company of my partner, who rarely drinks, and who won’t let me greet the dawn in the overend of some supposedly big moment zone, fired by alcohol. So much film or music to see or hear, so creative, so creative, can’t stop now. End up missing much of the next day, but my, my, such a creative time.
Stopped drinking socially about twenty years ago. During the completion of the doctoral thesis, though don’t remember the specific incident; maybe just had no time to socialize or no time to drink at all. Still, took me roughly ten years to appreciate lessons from the early 80s. Quite difficult starting over, with ginger ale.
An evening social event at one of my employers, to which spouses or “significant others” were not invited. Didn’t appreciate that such an event was the danger zone. The social control, the balancing of spouses and “significant others” was not there. Open bar. These are not my friends, but everyone becomes overly friendly in the alcohol-fuelled conversation and, in particular, the dance. Also the rivalries and resentments erupt. One executive assistant tries to pull down another’s dress; the most beautiful woman in the organization, resented for style or size, or both.
The 3:00 a.m. taxi. Been there before; back there, again. Next day look of shock and awe; the horror of all that led to 3:00 a.m.. Post party that is no party. Office blasted apart.
Should have remembered the actions of a young student studying to become a Chartered Accountant, in the late 1970s. Not me. He was the one who refused to enter an upscale downtown strip bar (seriously; no contradiction in terms) with his work colleagues, including me, who regularly frequented this place after work, since it was so close to the Toronto downtown towers. One of my colleagues from law school, then and now a major force in commercial law, used to stay until the end of the evening, to drive the dancers home. The student in Chartered Accountancy simply said “No, I’m not comfortable with this”, and walked away at 5:30 on a Friday afternoon. Can’t even remember his name, but appreciate more how he just knew what it took me so long to learn: we create the circumstances of our own disgrace.
The door that isn’t left open. The room that shouldn’t be entered. The party that shouldn’t be attended. The time to leave, which is ignored.
The life that we can choose, with help, as Father Fitz knew; simple and difficult path.
Postscript, October 12, 2012: To my surprise, I used the “walk away” stripper bar example in a later piece, “Canada Day Hijab“, forgetting that it had been referenced here. The idea of turning away from temptation seems to transcend circumstance. Also stays, as a caution.