I’m at the Mews, it’s a Friday night, early show, actually, late show just got cancelled, so going to have the evening off. Might as well have a couple drinks. Friends are at the bar, we do some shots. Jameson. I’ve got a beer behind the bar, I’m sipping on that. Some more friends come in, let’s do some more shots. Think I’ll have some scotch now, sip on that. Oh it tastes so good.
There is a MAJOR difference between drinking behind the bar, and drinking at the bar. When you’re working, you’re moving around. You can do shots, you can have some cocktails, and it won’t affect you. Or so you think. Oh sure maybe I lose my patience with some drunk customers. Sure. But I’m cool. Just havin’ some fun.
About 8 o’clock rolls around, show’s almost over, a bartender from another bar I work at down the street comes in. Hey Clint. I hear you don’t have a late show. Why don’t you close down the bar, then come work for me at the Lift. Easy money.
The thing about me is I love making money. I love counting out all that cash at the end of the night. This slacker comes in, wants to party on a Friday night, give me their shift, I can make $150-$200 in 4 hours, not including wage. I mean, what am I gonna do? Just go home, and drink some more. Sure, why the hell not, I’ll work for you. See you down there at 10.
Problem is, I WASN’T planning on working past 10pm. Let me explain. I know how I drink, what I’m capable of, what I can handle. I quit drinking at 9pm, clean up the bar for an hour, I’m good to drive home. I’ve even got a breathalyzer. I check that, make sure I’m under the legal limit, get down to .07, I’m golden, baby. But wait. I wasn’t planning on working past 10, this might change things up a bit. What the hell. I’ve been doing this for YEARS, I’m a pro. I’ll rock this out, then go down to the Lift, make that money, no problemo. Piece of cake.
What the hell, I’ll keep on drinking now. I can handle it. I’ll stop at midnight, then have three hours to sober up, before I drive home. A perfect plan.
LET’S DO A SHOT!!!!!
I get done at 10, huh, I’m kinda feeling drunk. What the hell. This ain’t my first rodeo.
I get down to the Lift, all my friends are there, let’s PARTY, then
Cut to: I’m laying on a couch in the dark. Where am I? Seems a bit familiar. Oh. I’m back at the Mews. I check my watch. It’s 3:30 in the morning. What just happened? Whatever. Just another night at the bar.
The next day, it’s Saturday, I’m back at work, it’s around 5. There’s a band on stage, playing another song. The bartender I worked with the night before at the Lift walks in the door. Hey, Johnny! What’s up, my man?!? He says,
Man, you fucked up last night.
What? What do you mean?
He says, you don’t remember?
I say, actually, now that you say it, I don’t. I remember ‘till about 11, then nothing until 3 in the morning.
He goes on to tell me the gory details, fills in the blanks.
He says, you told my BROTHER that when blank comes back into town, that they’re going to FUCK.
Why did I say that?
He says, I don’t know, but it really pissed him off. He wanted to KILL you.
Oh that’s horrible.
You gotta know something about his brother. He’s like the nicest, sweetest guy you’ll ever meet in your entire life. To piss him off is like pissing off Mother Teresa. It’s just something you don’t do. And if you do do it, you’re a straight-up ASSHOLE.
I say, oh that’s terrible. I’ll apologize to him. Did I do anything else?
He says, yeah. You did. You told Bridgette, with Brandon (her husband) standing right next to her, to SHOW YOU HER TITS.
Oh God. No I did not say that.
He says, yes. You did.
I’m actually inclined to believe him.
Later that night, much later, later than it’s ever been before, I’m standing in my small half-bathroom, staring at myself in the mirror. I just shake my head in disgust. What the HELL am I doing? GETTING DRUNK AT WORK SAYING ALL THOSE TERRIBLE THINGS.
I vowed right then that I’d quit drinking at the end of the month.
I’m quitting RIGHT NOW.
July 15th, 2016 will mark four years sober for me. Not a small feat for a bartender. And honestly, I don’t miss it in the least bit. What seemed like a sacrifice at the time, became the biggest GIFT. So many AMAZING THINGS have happened since I got sober. So many new opportunities that would NEVER have happened if I had kept on drinking. Alcohol can be a great, beautiful thing, and it can tear your life apart. I have a lot of respect for alcohol, I know it’s stronger than me, so I just don’t have one sip.
Life can be tough, I know, trust me. I’ve experienced it. But know that if the time comes, and your life is out of control, quitting drinking has the potential to turn it all around on a dime.
So if you ever find yourself at my bar, and are ready to take the plunge, I’d love to talk about it with you. And I’ve got plenty of non-alcoholic drink ideas for you I’ve honed over the past four years.
Not advice you’d expect from a bar blog,
But there you go.