Eight Days In

Sherry McGuinn

No booze and I'm feeling mean.

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This isn’t a log or a journal or anything like that. But, since I vomited up my story about my broken “relationship” with alcohol, I felt I owed you a follow-up. In the name of “accountability.”

It’s been eight days since I guzzled my last bottle of wine, and other than two tiny sips of my husband’s gin and tonic, I haven’t been drinking. But I want to, and here’s why:

My clarity has sharpened. My already-buzzing energy levels are through the roof and I’m feeling pretty darn good. But that said, I’m feeling edgy and anxious and quick to snap at my beleaguered husband. Like the string on a violin that’s thisclose to breaking.

I’ve had some weird physical glitches, too. Like an accelerated heart rate for one thing. I’m talking, I-thought-I-was-having-a-heart-attack-fast. That really scared me but I just tried to slowly breathe in and out and focus on the positive aspects of my not imbibing.

Last Sunday, I promised my sister, who I adore, that I would “change.” And I truly believe I have. I realize that a feeling of general malaise, or worse, is not something I want or need in my life. (Duh!) That if I am to come anywhere near to reaching the goals I have set for myself, it ain’t gonna happen with a booze jones.

However, and I know this will put some of you off so I apologize in advance: I’m not sure I want to quit outright. I’m hoping that I have the mental and emotional fortitude to moderate myself. To have the occasional glass of wine and call it a night. To be able to drink “socially,” if we ever get back to those times.

It remains to be seen if I can do this. That’s why I’m not patting myself on the back for the eight-day sobriety stint. Like all of us who are fighting addictions of any nature, “one day at a time,” is all we can hope for. As I stated in my original article, which I’ve linked to below, the notion of never being able to chill out with a cocktail is too daunting for me to accept. Now. At this point in time. When we have no idea what tomorrow may bring other than the prospect of more death and destruction.

So, yeah. As wussy as this may sound, I do partially blame the pandemic and the monster in the White House for my recent lack of self-control. I also blame his ignorant followers who simply will not rest until they kill us all. The recent images of people rubbing up against each other in pools and bars nearly sent me over the edge.

And sadly, I’m not alone as, according to thedrinksbusiness.com, alcohol sales in the U.S. are at their highest peak since the lockdown, with spirits leading the charge. It appears that many of us are determined to self-destruct before Covid-19 gets us. As if death by alcohol is an easier way to go.

I’ll tell you one thing, though, and this is a biggie: I don’t miss the hangovers. I’m not a kid anymore and the last couple of bouts hit me hard. I mean, down-for-the-count, hard. The kind of hangover that doesn’t abate as the day wears on. The kind where you want to hit the hay at 6 pm so you can “start fresh,” the next morning.

And for someone who’s not a big eater, an “overdose” of booze hits like a sledgehammer. Too, losing whole chunks of time is the worst: “Did I cook dinner last night? Did I even eat?”

Oddly, there are never dishes in the sink the morning after. That attests to my OCD and the weird manner in which my brain works: I still have to clean up, as if washing the dishes is going to somehow purify my body and soul.

It doesn’t work like that, folks.

So, in order to keep myself honest, I dwell on those sick days, when my head ached and my vision swam and the vertigo was so bad that I couldn’t stand for any length of time.

Pretty, huh?

Now, the only thing I can do is keep moving. Moving and working. That’s my particular method for managing the stress and the feeling that I’m going to blow a gasket.

Can anyone relate?

After I write this, I’m going to go out for a bit, drive around, maybe hit the market…whatever it takes, right?

Before I leave, here’s something I want to share: Aside from constant activity, I’ve created a “mocktail,” ( a moniker which I would otherwise hate), that amazingly, has been seeing me through the rougher patches, like listening as some of our jerkoff neighbors continue to detonate their Fourth of July bombs.

Sherry’s Margarita Mocktail:

Lemonade, or any facsimile thereof. I use low-cal lemonade-flavored water because I prefer “still” drinks, but you can use the sparkling variety, as well.

Ice.

A couple of squeezes of lime juice. (A lot, actually.)

A couple of shakes of sea salt. (A lot, actually.)

And here’s the secret sauce:

A couple of shakes of cayenne pepper, for that authentic burn in the back of the throat.

Mix it all up and voila! It’s delicious and guilt-and-hangover-free.

Cheers, everyone. Here’s to whatever gets us through.

Until next time.

© Sherry McGuinn, 2020. All Rights Reserved.

Sherry McGuinn is a slightly-twisted, longtime Chicago-area writer and award-winning screenwriter. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and numerous other publications. Sherry’s manager is currently pitching her newest screenplay, a drama with dark, comedic overtones and inspired by a true story.

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My goal is to educate, entertain, make you laugh, and above all, make you think. I will be running the gamut as far as my articles go because I have a restless mind and I allow it to ramble where and when it wants. I hope you enjoy what I'm looking forward to sharing with you. If so, I'd love for you to follow me. Thanks for reading.

Chicago, IL
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