There's a space between ordering the pale ale and sitting on the ground next to the car while that angry lady across the street yelled at me that isn't even a memory. I can't justify it any way at all, though my brain can't wrap around this quandary, and I keep telling myself that I didn't have that much to drink.
I don't remember paying my tab. I don't remember leaving the bar. I don't remember walking two blocks to the parking garage, and I don't remember any of the drive.
I remember that woman yelling at me about her kids going to school this way and that she'd already called the cops. I remember looking at my car and thinking that it was facing the wrong direction. I remember the telephone pole, though at the time I couldn't see that I'd hit it hard enough to break it. As my arresting officer said, "You cut it right off!"
I remember as the realization of what I'd done tried to crash down on me. I remember crying.
I remember the cop trying to get me to do the field sobriety test and that I honestly couldn't. Between being drunk and crying I couldn't do any of the things he was going to ask of me. I've done those things at least two other times and passed. I couldn't this time.
And regardless of how absolutely not even a little bit that it matters I didn't have that much to drink. And that's not a problem because I didn't have that much to drink. The problem is what does "that much" mean?
One of my "not resolutions" was to drink less. Wanna know how much I drank Sunday night? According to the slip I got when I clocked out from work Sunday I left there at about 3:15. I was at the bar with a bloody mary by 3:30. I drank that somewhat slowly and then had a beer. I finished that and ordered another beer and paid my tab at the same time. According to the receipt I paid out at about 5:00. I was probably done with that beer and two blocks away at another bar by 6:00. According to that receipt I paid out and left by 8:00. I was being processed at the Sheriff's department and sent to a cell sometime between 11:00 and midnight.
I can't tell you how much I had to drink at the second bar. I drank a beer that I ordered and at least two parts of a beer that the bartender gave me. He's a friend, and the beers he gave me were overpours, some of it run off from filling a growler. I remember ordering a second beer, and that's the last thing I remember before that lady yelling at me. My receipt doesn't reflect what I drank, and once you black out from drinking you don't know what you did unless someone tells you.
I do get that "a lot" of alcohol varies from one person to the next. I have a fairly high tolerance because I drink a lot. It's slowly starting to seem less like a badge of honor.
How much is a lot to drink? For me it's somewhere past a six pack. I can really put away cheap beer if I start early enough. Add to that the fact that my recent history sees me drinking cheap beer (and by cheap I mean PBR. I still have some kinda standard-ish) and at least a six pack a night. And that's just an average of what I'm likely to drink in an average day.
I feel like there's so much more to say. I feel like I should moralize and preach, condemn the beastly drink. I feel like I should loathe it so that I swear off the evil beverage, but I know I won't be doing that. The fact is that it's not beer's fault. It's not the fault of anyone person or thing other than me.
This feels like it's all part of some bigger conversation about drugs and the nature of addiction, but it's not a conversation for here and now. I stand by all I've ever said about these subjects, but I feel like I'm going to have to start being more honest with myself about my own drinking. I can say all day that I'm going to drink less, but until I really look at what I'm doing and where I am I'm not going to make any progress.
That's not going to happen tonight. I am drinking beer as I write this. The couple I have will hopefully ease the pain in my ribs that I have to assume is courtesy of the seat belt, and they will also help calm my nerves after the hell that is jail even if only for a couple of days.
The only other thing I can say is I'm sorry.