Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Day 28 - Booze Toob

Yayyy!! Last day!! Holy Christ, thank God ...

So I mentioned we watched a Charlie Chaplin flick the other day and, as it turns out, it was about an alcoholic millionaire who kept forgetting he knew Chaplin when he was sober. It wasn't the only entertainment that was alcohol-related over the last couple days. It's amazing how much of what we see on TV and in the movies revolves at least partly around drinking.

Over about the last 24 hours this is what I've seen on the booze toob:

"Rescue Me" - My husband's been watching this dark comedy since it started but I just got into this season. He mentioned that the whole series has basically been about dealing with alcoholism. First, the main character, Tommy - who's been on and off the wagon so many times, he needs a transit pass. His sister, also an alcoholic, now chairs the A.A. meetings - after a lifetime of making a drunk ass of herself, apparently. Even the priests get in on the fun, their cupboards packed with more booze than they would've needed at the Marriage of Cana. Most recently, the drama has revolved around Tommy's teenage daughter who's taken to the demon spirit in a massive way. Tommy (who's OTW by the way) is so concerned about his daughter's drinking that (after trying to drag her to an A.A. meeting under the guise that it was a party), he took her upstairs to the altar and proceeded to "baptize" her with about six bottles of booze poured into the font. He pushed her head under the liquor several times and held it there until she finally almost drowned. The show is so dark and unsentimental, I thought for sure he'd killed her. But all he managed to kill was her taste for drink. By the next episode, she puked whenever she so much as looked at a bottle of wine.

I think cleansing is a lot easier (and more fun in the long run) than near-drowning in a baptismal font, but that's just my opinion.

2) M.A.S.H.: Random repeat episode had Hawkeye and B.J. waking up in the first scene with Asian-sized hangovers. Empty bottles and silk stockings abounded. Hawkeye said his head hurt from his ankles up. Obviously, another fun night in the mess tent.

3) "Blind Date" - this forgettable 1980s romp featured Bruce Willis as a horrible workaholic and the lovely Kim Basinger as his blind date who ruins a corporate dinner (and a lot of things) because she can't handle her booze and goes berserk whenever presented with a swig of champagne. Bruce himself isn't much better, either.

4) "The Last Picture Show" - a 1971 American coming of age flick takes place in the heat of the Texas boonies. A beyond-pretty Cybil Shepherd is mesmerizingly aloof trying to both protect and lose her virginity. Booze figures heavily in the pool hall where everyone hangs out, but the scene that wins in the drunk department is when the two main characters come back from a bender in Mexico so sweaty and passed out from all the beer and tequila that they can barely focus on the fact a recent death has changed their small town forever.

5) "The Hour" - a new British series about a news program in the 1950s. Last night, a less-than-impressive debut of the program found the otherwise hard-nosed producer in tears. The only thing that could bring a smile to her face was when a colleague snuck into her office proffering a half-full bottle of scotch and two glasses. Ah, booze. It makes everything better.

6) "Blue Hawaii" - Elvis Presley is sexier than hell in this harmless 1960s classic. The King plays Chad Gates fresh home from the army. His mother - turned out Broadway-style by Angela Lansbury - throws him a big welcome home party. Mai Thai's and other umbrella drinks figure heavily. Very heavily.

That's all I can remember for now. But that's enough - considering I wasn't even looking for booze-related plots. And this was just in the space of a day. Suffice it to say that there's barely a piece of entertainment we watch that doesn't somehow feature liquor as either part of the story itself or as a celebration or crisis in the plot. No wonder 95% of all people drop out of A.A. before the first year is up. How on God's green earth could one handle all that exposure to booze without being able to enjoy it?

But that's a key word. "Enjoy." So many people suffering from dependence no longer feel joy at all - not even enjoyment of booze. Or at least, if they do, it's so fleeting it barely qualifies. Which is why we always need more and more and more and more ...

Which is why cleansing works. Because it forces us on a regular basis to live with less and less and less and less. So that when we do have alcohol in our lives again, our systems are functioning more normally, without the drawbacks of addiction. We can actually enjoy drinking again. Just like we can (finally) enjoy being sober.

I know I'm enjoying being sober right now. Day 28 is probably the best sober day of the year ... The happiness, sense of accomplishment, pride, astonishment and gratitude that 28 days have past. The cleanse is all but over. Five months of basically normal, fun drinking are ahead of me. Where I won't have to sigh longingly every time I pass a restaurant, a liquor store, or see a shot of someone celebrating on TV.

Now that brings me a lot of joy. :)

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