I am a light sleeper. I chalk it up to being a Resident Advisor in college where all kinds of “Tom Foolery” went down on the wee hours of the morning. I didn’t drink that much then. Couldn’t afford it. Then after college, I moved to New York City and had to learn how to sleep in a city that didn’t. Poor sleeping habits came easy and got worse as my drinking progressed. I just thought it was my normal light sleeping syndrome.
A Few Hours at a Time
Now that I think about it, alcohol put me to sleep. It was my pacifier. Sometimes I would have a few drinks before dinner. Sometimes I would have one or two after. I am the one that does the cooking, so drinking as I prepared the meal was normal. I couldn’t tell you how many I would have while I was making dinner but it was constant.
Near the End
Getting to sleep was the easy part. In fact, I started falling asleep when I really didn’t want to, two days before I decided enough was enough I parked my car in one of my watering hole parking lots and felt the urge to snooze, well before I even went in. (It was hardly the first stop of the day.) I decided to get home where I would be safe, never mind the idea of driving in that shape!
Things Going Bump in the Night
I would wake up a few hours into the night and start thinking, then I might get up and go to the bathroom. As time went on, I would stay up a few hours and have a little “sleeping medicine” to go back to sleep. After a few years I wasn’t sleeping longer than a few hours and I felt I had to drink something to get to sleep-even if it was only for an hour. I would wake up still with a jag on. Then the day would start again and I started drinking earlier and earlier. Once I started, I just tried to keep a level a numbness so nobody would notice.
I needed to check out my camp. I hadn’t been there in quite some time. A close girlfriend and I went for an overnight. It’s a party camp and we took enough supplies to last a week. Mostly booze. Vodka and wine were what we liked. My bedroom is in a loft that looks out over the living room kitchen area and it is easy to hear people moving around at night. About an hour after bed I heard my friend get up. I could hear her pour herself a drink. Since I had done that myself many times, I laid in bed and didn’t say anything. She went back to bed. I dozed. Another hour later the same thing. And again. Finally at 2am I went down stairs with the excuse that I needed the bathroom. There she was sitting on the coach drinking wine out of a coffee cup. I am pretty sure she slept about an hour the whole night. Drinking in between.
As we packed up to head home I was putting together the trash and noticed that the liquor cabinet door was ajar. Inside the cabinet I found several bottles, whiskey, bourbon and gin had been drank, some of them tipped on their side. I knew it wasn’t like that when I went to bed the night before. Our vodka and wine was on the counter and that had taken a beating (though I knew I was responsible for some of that.) I took out the “dead soldiers” and put them in the returnable container. I couldn’t believe how full the bag got. My friend had gone back to bed so my horror was confined to me and me only.
A Different Level
Since my friend and I drank together for years, I certainly wasn’t going to say anything to her since I certainly held my own. But I hadn’t been with her for an overnight for quite a time and I hadn’t realized these new habits. She was “well on her way” when she got up finally and I was ready to go home. She made us Bloody Mary’s before we left. I wondered all the way back how she got to that point and how long it would take me to get there myself.