It’s Saturday night and a lot of people are out having a nice (or not so nice) meal and a few drinks. Or perhaps they’re home enjoying a cocktail. I love cocktails, and wine, and beer, and Bourbon in a glass, or gin in a glass……..You get the picture.
On Friday October 6th I had what most people would call a lot of Bourbon and as a result decided not to drink for a bit. I tend to drink every day and it’s not just that I might drink a bottle of wine with dinner, but I may also have a beer or two while I’m cooking, or sip Bourbon at the end of the night while watching TV, writing, or developing menus. I can be an aggressive sipper.
On Saturday October 7th I had a hangover, and on Sunday I continued to feel like Hell. On Monday I felt worse, and on Tuesday I felt just as bad. I read on the interwebs that headache, nausea, and breaking out in a sweat intermittently are all symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and I asked myself a question I’ve asked frequently enough over the years. “Do I have a drinking problem?” Both my Grandfather and late brother were alcoholics so with my family history I’ve always thought I might also enter the family business. On Wednesday I spent about an hour with my shrink talking about alcohol and it’s role in my life.
So, for now I’ve suspended my drinking privileges. My therapist and I decided that I should quit for at least a year then see if perhaps I may be able to change my drinking habits. I like that approach because I’m not convinced I’m an alcoholic even though I do have a pretty assertive drinking style. I do love wine or beer with meals, and I enjoy social drinking when out with friends which I typically handle well without over imbibing and I’d hate to lose that aspect of my life. My long-term goal is to be able to drink a bit on weekends and other special occasions without getting into the routine I’m now trying to leave behind.
The restaurant business can be a great catalyst for regular drinking as it’s pretty normal to have a shift drink followed by a stop out after work. While it’s common to go to a few watering holes here in Saratoga and meet up with pockets of off-duty cooks and servers I always made it a point to avoid work-related folk after a shift. My unwinding routine was always to find a quiet spot and keep clear of business talk. Those after-hour medicinal glasses of fermented and distilled beverages have always been the salve that soothed the mental (and sometimes physical) wounds of a long day of prep and long night of line cooking. When I was chef at The Wine Bar I lived in town and could easily stop out and walk home. Once I started driving to and from work as I did from Chez Nous the practice continued at home since the medication was an important temporary remedy from the persistent and unnecessary drama.
So, aside from depression running wild in the industry and in my life, alcohol misuse is another difficulty it appears I’ve also taken with me from that profession. While I have a family history of both issues, a life in restaurants very likely exacerbated the problems greatly. It’s possible I would be a sad and drunk regardless, but the kitchen life certainly made it more pronounced.
It really bugs me when people call ground beef hamburger. A hamburger is something you make with ground beef.
My therapy dictates that I handle much of my recovery from depression on my own. While I get guidance from my therapist, it’s my responsibility to do most of the work myself. One of the things I’ve taken it upon myself to do is write letters to people I was may have been an asshole to, or that I let down in some way. I’ve done a few so far and I have more to do. If we crossed paths over the years and you don’t get a letter then you may very well have been the asshole in our relationship.
I received one letter in return from a former employer I will always consider a friend and the response couldn’t have been better. It really made my day. I look forward to sitting down with him over a
cold beer hot coffee.
What’s better than cruzin’ through downtown Schuylerville with the windows down and the sunroof open blasting Gloria by Laura Branigan? Yup, that was me.
I got a c-pap unit on Thursday, my wife sleeps next to Darth Vader now. Better sleep will help me in so many ways. Having up to 93 apnea episodes per hour has caused me to go through most days sleepy for as long as I can remember.
“Every now and then I fall apart.”
I’ll be back once I’m all fixed up, and better than ever.