Recovery happens daily

After drink number eight, none of us are our brothers' keepers. West Hollywood could spend more to mitigate the damage done by its primary revenue stream, booze.
February 26, 2014

It took waking up in an alley behind West Hollywood’s Eleven at 4:15 am to make me go into the rooms.

It had been a tougher and tougher year; things got worse and worse with work and my boyfriend and finances. It seemed there was too little money to do anything but drink.

Napping on the street was actually comfortable for a time, as I recall.

That meant I couldn’t afford to pay for my boyfriend’s drinks, not that he would match my seven to nine drink a night pace.

He’d have one, maybe two, drinks and stand looking at me in wonder as I insatiably sucked them down.

Boy, I used to stare back wondering how he could drink so slowly.

Anyway, waking up in an alleyway near evidence that someone had puked their guts sometime earlier sent me to the 12 steppers and I got cleaned up.

That was a little more than a year ago. My BF left me. I had to move into a closet and get a mindless job.

Most of my friends still hung out at the clubs and used them as the gathering point for a night’s entertainments – they’d wander from club to club chatting with acquaintances and listening to the music.

I didn’t go with them at all the first year; couldn’t face all the drinks in my face, the smell of it on people’s breath and clothes, couldn’t walk past the smoke barricade entry to the clubs without the “have a drink, too” trigger going off inside my pea-sized animal brain.

But finally I came to terms with the fact that I am a recovering alcoholic.

I realized that everything I learned in treatment is lodged in my memory bank.

I felt proud, accomplished, and joined the crew for a few nights out.

The first few nights out were cool, since everyone knew about my recovery and the need to stay off the booze and respected that need.

I gloried in those nights. Seeing the whole affair with clear eyes (and mind) proved a delight; I spotted gloriously decked out partyers, go-go boys and their thong-fillers in action and noticed what a mess some people were (nah, that could NEVER have been…) as they stumbled around.

The street’s excitement crystalized my gaze, and my senses caught scents – human scents overlaid with those of the adult world, perfume, deodorant, alcohol and tobacco and pot – the ken of which had roots in my childhood and now revealed themselves after laying off the booze and cigarettes.

There were three such evenings of moderated debauchery. I watched my friends drink one, maybe two drinks and get warm and effusive, a little over chatty and too familiar while some outright drunks approached me to buy them a drink.

They urged me to join them. “Just one won’t hurt,” the handsome one without the shirt said.

The other, who seemed about to promise to doff his clothing if only I would buy a round, said, “When has one drink ever killed anyone?”

Suddenly I was in the exact same space as I recalled myself being in a couple years earlier, unsure of myself and my attractiveness, afraid that, if I did not grab and control events I would end up disappointed at the night, and worst of all, unless I acted with force and aplomb I’d get naked with no one this night, where instead it could be a rare twofer).

They were (if you’re in recovery, you’ll laugh at this), my downfall. I got caught up in the moment. I decided that drinking was far enough behind me (I’d just picked up my one year coin) that I could drink like the rest of you all do.

My buddies were no help, actually. I asked one what I should do, and he asked, “Which one do you want?”

Since the breakup I had not had any sex, so I told him I was shooting for both, to which he said smiling, “How much harm can one drink do – we must sometimes take our medicine to fully heal.”

I called my sponsor, whose return call came in but I never heard it ring because of the loud music on the dance floor that we moved across.

Carlos and Pedro, it turned out, were boyfriends looking to embarking on an adventure that would involve nakedness, the outdoors, quite a few different substances and…

As I couldn’t sleep, I walked down the hill to my apartment around dawn. I out some coffee on, turned on the TV and opened my tablet to read the news.

Tomorrow I suppose I’ll get to a meeting.