Friday, July 08, 2005

Relative Sobriety

Four weeks ago, I attended the Cubs vs Red Sox opener at Wrigley with some of my in-laws. The atmosphere was great...lots of fans in from Boston and everyone was getting along.

We got to Wrigleyville early so we could catch some of the live bands at The Cubby Bear, a popular bar/venue across the street from the ballpark. My brother-in-law and nephew went in and we proceeded to enjoy a few beers. As I said, the atmosphere was great, and 4 beers later, we strolled out of the bar and bought lunch at Taco Bell. Then we went into the stadium and got to our seats in time for the anthem and first pitch.

Our seats were in the first row of the upper deck all the way down the left field line. At some parks, these might be bad seats, but at Wrigley they were great (all seats are good at Wrigley unless you are behind a pillar--then they suck).

It was a great game, the Cubs were hitting like crazy, and even milktoast pithcer Greg Maddux had a home run. During the 7 innings that you could drink, I enjoy 4 more beers, and I was having the time of my life.

After the game, I went with my brother-in-law to Murphy's Bleachers, the venerable bar located (of course) across the street on the north/east side of the stadium. There, we enjoyed 2 more beers in rapid succession, then met up with the rest of our party to catch the bus down Addison Street to the L station. We jumped off the bus at a White Castle, ate dinner, and walked the 5 blocks to the L station.

I don't recall the walk to the station, the train ride, or the hour car ride after that. My only impression of the entire time was that I wanted to die. When I got home, I was so ashamed of myself that I just went upstairs and hid from my wife and kids.

I don't drink very much. Well, what I should say is that I don't drink very often, but in the past year, when I do drink, I binge like a college freshman on my first semester away from home. This is not a good thing. It seems that the old warning light that used to come on telling me that I've hit my limit no longer comes on.

I have no doubt that alcoholism runs in my family. While I don't think I'm "addicted" to alcohol, I have "consumption issues". And so, on June 11, I made the decision that I won't drink anymore. It seemed like a smart decision to make. I gave myself two "outs": I'll allow myself a beverage in a controlled situation (like a holiday party or a similar function with my wife around), or if I'm in Texas and have a Shiner Bock. Of course I know that giving myself "outs" may lead to disaster, and I'm not sure that I would take advantage of my "outs", but it was part of the deal I made with myself.

Last Friday, I returned to Wrigley Field with almost the same group, and I had a wonderful time. Sure, a beer would have been nice; but even with my wife there, I didn't "want" a beer. Two days later, I played golf with my brother-in-law, father-in-law, and uncle-in-law, and was able to enjoy myself without drinking. Yes, a Mike's Hard Lemonade would have been terrific, but a Sweetened Tea was pretty good, too.

One day at a time is right.

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