Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rockstar Meet Teetotaler

I am the newest contributor to The New York Times' Proof blog. Here's an excerpt from my first entry, which was also reprinted in the Times' Sunday Week-in-Review (March 1, 2009):
Throughout that entire first year of sobriety, I longed for some shorthand for everything I wanted to say: the confusing pride I felt about my past destructive life, the odd embarrassment I felt over my current redeemed one. Maybe a skull-and-crossbones-like symbol just for us addicts, something with the right mix of menace and solidarity, something I could tattoo on my wrist like a gang member to establish my alcoholic street cred. That way, instead of reassuring new acquaintances that I was fun, I could just silently shake my head when offered a drink, flash my tat and look at my new friend with a kind of weathered mystery. What I had yet to learn was how little people cared about whether I drank or not — and how little I needed to concern myself with what people did think.

In the meantime, I was alarmed by the dissonance between the rock star within screaming to be let out and the insecure woman pledging to be fun. I mean, I hadn’t the faintest idea of how to have fun without drinking. I was still discovering all sorts of terrible new truths, like how parties without drinking were really just a lot of people standing in the same room and like how movies I once found funny were often riddled with stilted language and bad dirty jokes. And how, without my booze-fueled sense of rock-star self, I had no clue as to who I was — or whether or not I was any fun. I had lost my swagger.
Read the entire essay here.

1 comment:

  1. Great piece, style and content. Perfect articulation of irrational, adolescent feelings I didn't think other 'grown ups' had. It is especially interesting for me to hear it from a woman.

    You touch on another topic in the article I would love to see you write about some time. Taking pride in self destruction. Where does this come from? Why do only some people have these feelings? When the thing you are best at is destroying yourself how do you replace that with something that isn't totally fucking boring?