Sunday, February 20, 2011


I don't have a drinking problem, not really.  I actually am not an alcoholic, don't drink to anything near excess, and don't spend a lot of time with those who do.  But when I do drink, things happen, and mostly at home.

We are a sensitive people:  To environments, to people and their states and their intelligence.  My wife and I both have also had a lifetime of difficult relationships, starting with childhood.  They say you find your parents in later life as mate choices.  You can work that into a pretty good case, and you can dismiss it with some good citations as well.  But you can't deny where you've been, and it does seem to hold true in large part, that one seeks that which is like what one already knows in life.  I mean, what- don't many of us keep having to re-take the same "test" many times over in the course of a lifetime?  Don't the same scenarios, in different settings/contexts, appear in our lives?  Often they are the ones that run deepest, that are the most woven into our psyche and therefore the most difficult, most complex to dig up.  We avoid those, but they don't go away.  They keep coming back.

I have some issues in regards to,... I'll start with volatility.  I was called "volatile" once by an ex band-mate after my summary dismissal from a band.  I in fact took part in the dismissal and the set-up for it in the first place by putting myself in a vulnerable position with them.  A friend not in this particular group had cancer, and I wanted to do a benefit for him.  I knew that, they finding him disagreeable for their own reasons, I would be in the ruts with them afterward.  But the gig was a party for their friends and a bunch of good PR for their band, so it went down.  It was successful, but my own sentence, so to speak, had been written.  In a letter I received after my firing (quitting?), I was told I had, among a short list of alleged issues, a "volatile personality".  Well, my wife agreed with that one... I flinched.

But it's true and I know it.  And I'm sometimes able to 'go off', in a low-level way, on something that might seem trivial or missing the more obvious point.  But I have a perspective, and sometimes don't state the obvious, but speak according to where I am in my own track of thought.  Whatever, I can generally explain myself when pressed, if I'm willing to.  I can pretty well make myself understood.  But when I have a beer or so in me, well, it can 'move up a notch' in intensity.  Worse, it can even 'open a door' for something potentially hurtful to someone else, that I'm not even really taking part in.  It's usually in the form of a stray spoken word that escapes from my lips and goes like a shot to the most vulnerable person in the room...  My wife calls it "The Devil".  I hate that.

At any rate, analyze it and turn it around all you want, it doesn't matter.  It's trouble however you call it, and if I want to keep the good thing I've got I'm going to have to deal.  When I met my wife, I knew I was going to have to hold her up in ways.  It's part of any partnership/commitment like this, and that person has agreed to trust you.  And then if you bring in new people (make babies), they have no say in the matter at all- and you really have to hold them up, protect them, be trustworthy. Children mostly singularly define the word "vulnerable".

So I'm quitting.  Drinking I mean.  Right now.  I'm aware, as I write this, that I'm making quite a bold proclamation for a guy who plays gigs in a couple bands with other like miscreant-types, and spends time around large crowds at Portuguese Holy-Ghost Festivals... yep, it's going to be a commitment that will test my resolve (read:  "character") and not step aside from before my eyes.  And everyone who knows will be watching.  But hey, nothing can come of not drinking alcohol that could possibly be meaningfully detrimental!  In fact I'll be healthier, my prostate will have a better chance of a long and useful term, my skin might not get quite so dry in winter, and I won't spend any bread on beer. 

"Your wife told you can't drink??"  Well no, actually that's not it.  The (at least immediate) future of our household- of my kids, of my marriage, health and perceivable security of our home depends on whatever stability and good ground I can provide for.  This is my chance to save the day, to break open a way to redeem years of screwing up.  And it's for someone else's happiness too, really, which is very meaningful indeed.  Especially for me... 

Besides, I play better when I'm not drunk.

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