In the beginning

Actual journal entry – 1989

During this process I’ve rediscovered some journals that I’ve kept over the years. It’s been cringe-inducing to read the rants and musings of my 20-something self, but also insightful and at times, hysterical. I hope to use some of these ancient missives in this blog and this was one of the first entries I stumbled upon. It stuns and saddens me that I knew 28 years ago that my drinking wasn’t normal.

I’ve left the spelling and syntax untouched as I feel transparency is tantamount to honesty. 


Days as cold, grey and cloudy as my mind. The cool morning air and stacks of smoke billowing from the dirty inner city, as I find my way home. The cafeteria is a blurred, scattered conversation that I’m not part of. These people have had showers, and more than likely, sleep.

Sometimes it’s a lot easier to keep fucking up your life than to deal with the hassle of keeping it straight. Sometimes in the afternoons you find it’s difficult to remember who you saw or spoke to that morning, or in fact, exactly what you did. After all, you know better than to attempt to remember last night. You always feel more alive at nite, anyway. It’s dark and smoky and there’s something cold and alcoholic in your hand and you know that you can pretend all that you want tonite, and then pretend you didn’t tomorrow.

The nites in between are the best. The slow nights with the regulars are cool, but almost everyone feels they should be somewhere else. It’s a shared feeling, and we drink to it. There are nites when you can’t breathe and everyone is there, and you couldn’t care less. The nites in between are the unexpected ones, the ones that keep you going back. All the “right” people show up, the nite is young and the drinks flow almost freely. You feel that life is fair and good and lucky to be a part of it – and you feel like you fit, if only for a little while.

Then there are the days sometimes you find you can’t stand, and it’s 6:30pm. You laugh, and order another round. You toast to irresponsibility, watch the sun set through dirty windows, feel the lights as they flicker on, and wonder where tonite is headed, and you.

Every now and then you’re alone. Not often, but sometimes 15 minutes to 3 hours can catch you and you look around and inside. You see bills unpaid, and no $ to pay them with, if you’d even thought about it. Six classes missed and it’s only Wednesday. Unreturned phone calls, and a stack of laundry piled up the the closet shelf. So what do you do? It’s Wednesday $ night, and you grab something off of the top of the laundry heap, hope it doesn’t smell too bad, and run to Gus’s* to bounce a check and start the ball rolling.



* Gus’s was a joint on the strip in my college town that would cash checks for students. You know, back in the day when there weren’t atm cards and the like OMG I SURVIVED THE DARK AGES YOU GUYS.

4 thoughts on “In the beginning

  1. Clueless says:

    You are a great writer and I love what you are doing. I’ve had to stop drinking due to health issues and it sucks because it has been a big part of my life and sometimes my best coping mechanism. Now that it’s gone, I sometimes wonder how I’ll relax and have “fun” again. Reading your blog makes me think that it’s possible. Thank you.

    • Jen says:

      Thanks, friend! Thanks so much for reading! Some days are easier than others of course and the holidays are trying for everyone it seems. I hope I can be of some help!

  2. Kay_Kay says:

    I think when it comes down to it, our lives have to hit an extreme bottom for us to realize it needs to change. not just binge drinking or eating, but even an emotional all time low can wake us up to the reality that we have to fix our lives. This seems to be one of the stories on how this happens. i look forward to reading more

    • Jen says:

      Kay Kay, you’re exactly right. For myself, it took a metaphorical 2×4 to the skull for me to change. Or liver failure, to be exact.People a lot smarter than me were able to pull the plane out of the nosedive before that was necessary. I envy them, but we all walk our own path, like you said. Thanks for reading and commenting! I’m just getting started so I hope you’ll stick around!

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