Sex with idiots, drinking, dark bars, and drugs: why I was wrong to think I could start partying again
Most folks who know me know I quit drinking cold turkey about three and a half years ago. Back then, my life was one big insane, rollicking, rock and roll party. And although I was no longer in my 20s and had even left my 30s behind, I was still out in downtown Raleigh most nights trying to carouse like I did back in the day. The thing was, I wasn’t enjoying the partying any more, not really. In fact, I was sick of it. But at that point in my life, I was trying to prove to myself that I still COULD party if I wanted to. That I had not become some stick-in-the-mud adult, aging out of fun, turning into some lame-ass, follow-the-rules working stiff. My life surely was still all about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Surely.
Jesus, when I look back to that time, my frame of mind about what constituted a good time seems ridiculous now. I was a hungover shell of myself: waking up sick and nauseous, hooking up with drunk guys I wouldn’t otherwise have given the time of day to if I was sober, overwhelming feelings of depression at the emptiness of the entire lifestyle, scouring through all of the bar tab receipts in my purse to find out how much I spent the night before and exactly what bars we blew through (or wondering which bar I’d left my credit card in or, all too often, walking out without remembering I hadn’t paid my tab). Looking over at the dude in my bed and thinking, “Oh, Jesus, why did I fuck this moron? I don’t even like him.” Too many times, the day after partying, I’d be texting and calling friends trying to piece together how the night ended (and often being so damn embarrassed by some of the more wild and ridiculous shenanigans). The list goes on and on as to why the bar scene and drinking did not work for me.
This summer, while on vacation in the Curacao, I thought I might try to incorporate drinking back into my life. In small doses. And, when I got back to Raleigh, to go back to those same bars I used to frequent. But what I found from that test run is that these places and that drinking made me feel just as empty and sick as before. More so. I was trying on a lifestyle that I knew didn’t fit and wasn’t my style, but I was going to try to make it work anyway. Because, hell, why not? Maybe I could do it differently this time and just do things in moderation and with some semblance of sense and sanity. But the alcohol made me more depressed than ever before. And I went right back to hooking up with idiots and acting like an idiot in the process. Having conversations I didn’t want to have, talking to people I didn’t even like, being nice to people I didn’t want to be around. But, dammit, I love the taste of gin. And I adore wine with good food. But the fact is, alcohol does not agree with me. Spirits destroy my spirit. Alcohol immediately alters my brain and taps into some of my worst impulses or even creates new impulses that serve no purpose but to create negative and dark energy. For me, alcohol and drugs distort my reason in ways that cause me to make skewed and wrong decisions. I want to go through life clear headed and with clarity. And, fuck, achieving either of those is hard enough with out liquor, dope, and negative-energy people mucking up the process. Sure, I can be around people drinking. But I learned one thing from dabbling with going back to bars: I do not like being in bars. I just don’t. These spaces are not spaces for me and I do not want to go back in them unless I am there specifically to see a show – because I do still love live music. But no drinking with the rock and roll. So, once again, bar scene, adios and vaya con dios.
Dating, sex, hooking up, whatever, and drinking
I have a lot of demons and a lot of emotional baggage from family experiences, childhood, and certain relationships. I’ve spent many years of introspection and writing to come out on the other side of all of that trauma to find success in my career and work and to live a life I can be proud of and feel good about. I absolutely don’t want any kind of drug or liquor altering my thought processes. And this summer, after hooking up with a few fellas and trying out dating again after a very long hiatus, I was struck by a revelation – I don’t want to date anyone who uses drugs of any kind and I don’t want to date anyone who drinks a lot or who wants to hang out in bars. I certainly don’t want to be with men my age who are still trying to roll at the club like they are 30. Hell, I don’t want to date anyone who smokes cigarettes. I quit and I cannot be around it or I want to light up. And I absolutely hate the smell of it – smelling it on a dude used to be kind of sexy to me. Now the smell just makes me nauseous. I feel terrible even saying that – it feels hypocritical to do so given my history. But, my journey, however convoluted, has been one towards positive energy and light. Also, I was reminded this summer to listen to my instincts – I hooked up with fellas full of darkness and rage who were masquerading as a good time. Ladies, don’t blow through the red flags – if a dude seems shady and damaged to you, he is and it ain’t your job to fix him. And if he hasn’t actively acknowledged how fucked up he is or that he is wallowing in darkness – steer clear. You cannot and will not save him. You’ll just go down into the darkness with him. And if you are drawn to that type of darkness, then you have your own demons to wrestle with. Don’t let his and your demons join forces – together you both produce a relationship that is the sulfur-spewing spawn of Satan. Not fun. Steer clear, baby. Steer clear.
I have worked hard to leave that old, dark lifestyle behind – and there are too many trigger points lurking in bars and clubs that take me right back to those destructive forces. This summer, I fell right back into some of that same stupid shit I was doing before that left me so empty and soul-sick. So, for me, no more bars, no more drunken stupid pointless hookups, no more people who are still rolling in that lifestyle. I just can’t. I had to learn the hard way – thinking I could temper my relationship with all that “stuff” – but I can’t. So, after a bit of dark dabbling these past few months, I am looking back to the light, back to wholeness and healthiness, back to love and positivity. Finding your happiness is different for everyone, and maybe you find all of this in a bar or club or in your weed and coke or in your pills. I don’t. So if you want to hang with me, it’ll be over coffee or roasted oysters or a hot bowl of ramen at a Japanese noodle house or on a back deck sipping lemonade.
The party ain’t over folks. Far from it. I’ve just changed the venue, refreshments menu, guest list, and theme.