a glass wall of alcohol

In this city where we are visiting, in this city where we used to live, we had dinner last night with a long-time drinking friend. The guy (and his wife) drink a lot. A shit lot. Even when we were drinking too, we never drank as much as these two. The four of us would hang out, yes, but i’d always watch the guy and marvel/feel sick at the quantities he’d put away. The ordering ‘another round’ even after we’d already said we were done. The telling me he loved me at a particularly sloppy party. The disclosing of sexual details during a meal.

Last night, they had beer before the meal, a bottle of wine during, and opened a second bottle after. [This is exactly what we would have done, too.]

Mr. Belle was a bit nervous to arrive there with 3 cans of tonic water. The couple joked with us, saying that by the end of the night they would have ‘pushed us off the wagon’. But really, once they got drinking, they weren’t the least bit interested in what we were doing, whether we were drinking or not.

By 10:30 pm I was tired of them and ready to go home, tapped Mr. B’s foot under the table.Β  The guy looks to his wife and says (re the second bottle of wine) – have some more, it’s open.

I looked at their glasses of wine. I looked at their stained teeth. I looked at them talking loudly over each other, each vying for our attention, “let me tell the story, no let me. Did you see the tv episode where …”

In the car on the way home, i told Mr. B that i was sorry that they talked ‘at’ him, instead of ‘to’ him.Β  They didn’t ask questions about his work or his life in Europe or about how things are going for us.Β  Instead it seemed like they struggled and competed to tell him about every single thing that had happened to them since we saw them last, including punchlines to badly remember jokes, did you see that thing on YouTube.

Honestly, the evening was like a comedy show except it wasn’t funny. Yeah, it was like the worst kind of stand-up comedy. People trying to make a connection, and failing gigantically, because they are behind a ‘glass wall of alcohol’ – they kept talking even if Mr. B needed clarification.Β  They ignored Mr. B when he spoke, and literally jostled each other if one tried to interrupt the other. And on. And on.

Nothing of any real substance or connection or interest was shared. No real questions were asked or answered. No one felt touched, or brought together, or connected.

Looking into that glass wall of alcohol, i saw a mirror. And it was grim.

Did it make me want to drink?


We used to be that couple, too. That used to be us.


I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • This is one of the best posts I have read. It reminds me of a recent event at which the goal seemed to be to get as drunk as possible as fast as possible. Then to keep drinking at various bars (they called them “pubs” to make it sound classy) all night. I am not going to participate in these evenings anymore. The glass wall of alcohol looks like a fun house mirror to me now….but sans the fun.

  • Been there…. on both sides of the glass wall. It’s a bittersweet feeling for sure. Sounds like you and Mr. B had a better connection for doing it together! hugs! ps – Ben, you ARE a great writer and glad you’re here!

  • Ooh yes, totally been there too. And this is exactly why some heavy drinkers fear us quitting drinking and can be so weird about it – because deep down they know on some level that with the booze removed we’ll see right through them and see how their behaviour is stupid and kind of embarrassing and judge them even if just a little. It’s unavoidable. I can’t help feeling the same way too in those situations. And I cringe remembering how many times that was me – all of it. So I shouldn’t judge but I can’t help it. It can be so, well, just kind of ugly to be around drunk people when you’re sober. As you say, grim. Not always, but nights like that for sure.

    Ah well, that’s where we get to share our smugness in our secret sober club so we can resist saying anything to drinkers in person πŸ™‚

    • A sober dinner party sounds great! I am there already… Drunk people are so boring sometimes. Most of all they make me cringe because I remember being that person too.

  • A perfect reminder of why we stopped. What’s to miss? That was me too! If only there were more of us! Sober supper parties, that’s what I fancy…do you think if I threw a dinner party with “sober” as the theme, would anyone come??

  • Ouch. I could so relate to both sides of your evening. Them (ugh…that WAS so me) and you (Me.. now ; wonderful that we can see things for what they are being sober. Yay!).

    The disclosing of sexual details during a meal. / I did that BS. UGH! Oh yea and I thought I was hot then and fun! I know now I wasn’t and it wasn’t. I am so grateful to be sober today and live a genuine and authentic life πŸ™‚ !!

    Sorry your hubby wasn’t able to connect w his best bud.

  • Hi Belle. I will try and keep this short. I’ve just found our blog. This situation has happened to me so many times only I used to be the one that didn’t stop talking about myself. I am overwhelmed with joy at finding your blog. Yesterday I skipped back to July 2012. Let me just mention I am on day 26 sober. I read with emotion all the things you have experienced and although it was spine chilling, I nodded along to all the talk about noise in your head. I know the feeling of 3 glasses not 1. who drinks one glass of wine?! I run to clear my head and i replace wine with cake. I’m mental about my journey and have documented privately so far. I have read Allen Carr and when i reach 30 days i also want presents and fireworks, maybe a small parade. You are a super star for writing this and silently cheered me on in to my next step. Already i have experienced a beautiful clarity that has re-prioritised my life. I feel like I’m on to a winner but also notice that no one else cares so I’m still a bit like f**k you guys but still a bit like I’m not out the woods yet.
    I’m not the best writer and I’m not the best at putting into words how I’m feeling but you’ve made me tingle head to toe with you words. I think you are doing a great job and wish you all the best with your journey. I’m up to October 2012 but intend to catch up through all your posts. Just thought you should know what a wonderful person you are.

    • Yay Ben! It’s not such a bad trip when there is an awesome tour guide. Glad you found Belles blog and look forward to seeing her give you a 30 shout out! :-). – Debra

    • Ben — welcome to our following! When you said, I’m not the best writer, I swear I was JUST thinking: Oh he’s a good writer too!!! Day 21 for me.

    • Thanks Ben, so great that you’re on day 26! and thanks for the very kind words. I’m glad the blog is helpful – you can join the 100 day challenge, too, if you want more support. Glad you’re here : ) Hugs from me.

      • What a lovely comment Ben and congrats on your big life change. Yes, do join us at Team 100. We’re unbalanced in the man stakes still I believe πŸ™‚ And congrats on 26 days.

      • Thanks for all the replies people very heart warming. Would love to join the 100 day challenge. It seems a long way off but I also feel quietly calm. It’s a little distracting actually. I think I need something to happen to create a fuss so I can focus my attention again. Thanks again for all your support and good luck with all your own personal goals πŸ™‚

  • Great blog!!!

    It does make you think. I went to a BBQ with my writer friends (I drove another woman so I didn’t drink) One woman (50’s) got so drunk (everyone was laughing behind her back) I still think of that day sometimes when I see her.

    I wonder how many people have a memory of me with a buzz going from sometime in the past???