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Alcohol Abyss

Alcohol Abyss

    This is a story that I’ve told over that past 25 years that gets unexpected reactions. Since I do not consume alcohol, I’m in position as an observer. That helps me keep a straight face. Presentation of the story is as a joke. The surprise is that there is no punch line.

It’s a normal weekend evening and the usual crowd of regulars are in attendance. Eventually, the topic of conversation turns to the “dos” and “don’ts” of alcohol consumption. Let’s follow this conversation as it moves down the bar.

     One man, breaching the subject, says to the next man, “Well, I have a glass of wine with dinner, once in a while. I come in here on the weekend to watch the ballgame and have a couple of beers, but I’ve never been drunk.”

     The barstool neighbor replies, ” Well, I come in here a few times a week, maybe have a couple too many and have to worry about getting another DUI,  but I’ve never gotten so drunk that I passed out.”

     A third patron joins the conversation. Hearing their experiences, he confesses, “Well, I come in here most nights and pretty much drink until I close the place. I’ve sat over in a booth when I got a little too loaded. Passed out, right there. But I’m proud to say I can hold my liquor. I’ve never puked.”

     The next guy, hearing this says,  ” Well, I’ve had a taste for the whiskey for a long time. I can stay on my feet and keep going. But, I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve lost my cookies more than a few times. At least I’ve never woken up laying in it.”

      Another man, hearing this, admits that he has a real problem. ” I have to say that my problems go way past yours. I get drunk, I stay drunk most of the time. I’ve passed out, blacked out, puked and woke up face down in it. I’m ashamed to say that I have rolled over in it. At least I can say that my wife hasn’t left me like she threatened to.”

     The next man interjects, ” You’re lucky! I haven’t seen my wife and kids or driven a car in years. I don’t even know where they are. I’ve done it all, been lower than dirt. I drink, I get drunk, I fall down. I’ve passed out and puked. The only good thing I can say is that I never had a blackout and did crazy things that got me arrested.”

The next man obviously is in rough shape. He comes out of his drunken fog to be the unruly drunk. ” Alla you guys is wussies. What wouldja do if you was me? Anywhere I go, the cops stop to check me out. Most of the time, they just let me go. One night, a guy said something about derelicts running around loose. Before he could get in his car, I punched him in the mouth. How was I supposed to know he was an off-duty cop? Anyways, I came to in the Alcohol Recovery Center, not remembering any of it. They said I needed counseling. After I got out, I decided not to go to the counseling classes. I don’t have time for that. I’m usually too drunk, that hour of the day, to go to class, anyway.”

     The next man, having some experience in this area, puts in his 2 cents. He says, “WHOA, chief!  You should re-think that idea. I was just like you. I get in fights when I get drunk. I didn’t want to go to classes, either. Then I found out the hard way that a warrant was issued when I didn’t show up for class. I hope you can be on time for that class. I wish I still had the money I had before they got through with me in court. They don’t mess around.”

     The point of this story is that all of these guys believe that they are normal and functional. The truth is that none of them are. The first man is just lying to himself. He obviously hasn’t learned about how drunk he actually gets. With time, one mistake will inevitably end with a bad breathalyzer test. The rest are years beyond his state. Some of them may be past the point of no return. When I’ve told this story in the past, everyone has, at some point before the end, become uncomfortable and had to leave to be somewhere else. They recognized themselves in the story. 


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