Drunken Stories and Lucid Truths

by Rebecca A. Watson on November 6, 2014

in Recovery, writing

My great-grandfather drove a taxi in Detroit during Prohibition. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the geography of Michigan, Detroit is a drive across the bridge to Windsor, Canada. In addition to my GG’s legitimate earnings, he would run booze for the mafia. Oh, and did I mention my great grandmother was a flapper?

Not her, but glamorous, no?

Not her, but glamorous, no?

This was the story I heard at the beginning of my life and it was one I’d tell with a certain amount of pride for much of my misspent youth. The Roaring ’20s had a great deal of appeal to me (I know I’m not alone here) and something about sticking it to the man, working with the mob and anything to do with Speakeasies just felt like romance to the writer in me.

It wasn’t until I started watching The Soprano’s that I started to get a bad taste in my mouth about organized crime. I know! But I was a late bloomer. I didn’t watch The Godfather until around this time as well.

While I was visiting my grandparents in Florida before we moved to Germany, I asked my grandfather to tell me more about his life. Turns out that great grandfather I’d kind of bragged about was an abusive, alcoholic man who died in his taxicab with a bullet in the back of his head.

And that great grandmother of mine? She wasn’t married to this guy. She was my grandmother’s mom. I always knew that. But the way I told it sure made it sound like they were together, didn’t it? Makes for a better story, right?

And for the record, I’m not 100 percent sure she was a flapper. I just knew she had progressive ideals for her family, which wouldn’t be tough when your parents are Dutch folks who immigrated to avoid those Catholic folk.

gma and gmpa

No Catholics here. Just Sante, me, my dear grandparents and my sweet aunt Carol 🙂

I got to thinking about this last night and it reminded me a lot of how I viewed things when I was drinking. Telling stories, welcoming drama, bending the truth without even knowing— all of it was fine because it looked good, sounded romantic, felt right for the occasion, for the life I thought I was leading.

But once I stopped drinking, it became clear to me that these were just drunk stories. The lucid truth was sitting in the driver’s seat of my GG’s cab. Booze, drama, telling stories — all of this does nothing but harm me and those around me.

Turns out there are a lot of these drunk stories out there, and I am not the only one who tells them. Let’s see if any of these sound familiar:

Drunk Story: Sitting on the patio with a glass of wine in the sun is a great way to spend an afternoon with friends.

Lucid Truth: One glass of wine turns into a bottle, I get tired so do one of two things: Sleep my afternoon away and wake up in darkness hungover — OR — Drink more, say something mean to my friends and wake up the next morning not quite remembering what happened.

Drunk Story: I just drink a bit to help me fall asleep more easily. Waking up at 3 a.m. to pee and down water is completely normal.

Lucid Truth: Waking up to pee may be common but not falling back asleep isn’t. Neither is the regret and shame that accompanies your insomnia.

Drunk Story: A vacation just isn’t a vacation without a margarita or wine from whatever region I’m visiting.

Lucid Truth: I blew through my budget halfway through the trip and am now drinking boxed wine from the grocery before we go out for dinner. Better break out the credit card.

I think these drunk stories are what keep us drinking or keep us coming back to the booze. We tell ourselves these stories about our careers, our families, our dates and we believe them. It’s not until later, when we’re not drinking that the lucid truth comes screaming at us.

Truth: Bottle service in a fancy NYC club isn't glamorous when you forget the name and come out with a black eye.

Lucid Truth: Bottle service in a fancy NYC club isn’t glamorous when you don’t remember it.

Because everyone is seduced by that margarita on the beach, the nice glass of wine while you cook. And many people live that life. That normal, I’ll-just-leave-the-last-half-glass-in-the-bottle life. I know. I just watched someone do it tonight.

But for some of us — the special ones, the sensitive ones — we’re just not equipped for that. The seduction works but when we’re honest, it’s more like an abusive boyfriend showing up at your door than that sweet neighbor guy with flowers.

What are some of your drunk stories and their lucid truths? Tell me in the comments.

Also! I have a free gift for all my blog peeps out there 🙂 I’ve created a mini-audio class for people who hate to journal. It’s called Four Ways to Journal for Those Who Hate Journaling and you can get it here. If you’re a subscriber I’ve already sent it to you, so no need to sign up 🙂

Photo Credit: joanneteh_32

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

CH November 9, 2014 at 5:48 am

Drunk Story: Its normal to blow off steam a the local pub on Friday.
Lucid Truth: Its 4 a.m. And I am slurring non-sense with strangers on a random houseboat. Thats ok, I wanted to cancel my morning surf and catch up on cooking shows.

Reply

Rebecca A. Watson November 22, 2014 at 9:26 am

Oh man, yep. Totally. Been there. Blowing off steam is good on a Friday night, but maybe not the way you and I did it 😉 Those 4 a.m. nights (mornings?) made the rest of the weekend miserable! Saturday mornings lucid are a much better way to start your weekend.

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T. November 13, 2014 at 4:12 am

Just found your blog. I really like it. I am an Expat in Serbia. Also from the US. I look forward to reading more of your stuff! As an ex bartender, I am sure I could come up with lots of the drunk truths! 🙂 I don’t drink much.. and with a toddler, the Lucid Truths with hangovers aren’t appealing! There is no turning off the “Mommy Mommy Mommy!”

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Rebecca A. Watson November 15, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Hey there! Super glad you found my blog and am happy to “meet” you 🙂 Thanks for the link back from your blog as well…must go check that out now. And I can’t imagine a hangover and a screaming child. Wowza!

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Hezzabeth November 19, 2014 at 3:50 pm

I came to your blog through another german expat. My drunk story is that I rarely if ever drink, mainly because my family has had alchohol problems that span generations. My great grandmother once swung a cat above her head and my father has been hospitalized and is now five years sober. It’s difficult to explain to people why I don’t drink because I’ve never had a drinking problem, but I can sense through my love of sugar that I could be an alchoholic if I drank too much.
Also my great grandfather was also a taxi driver during the twenties but in Australia, he famously drove the wife of a mobster all over town.

Reply

Rebecca A. Watson November 22, 2014 at 9:19 am

Hey Hezzabeth! Thanks so much for your comment. Isn’t it wild our GGF taxi driver coincidence? Wow. And thanks for sharing your drunk story. I think it’s great that you don’t drink because of your family history. Honestly, it’s smart. If I’d known all of the stories about my family history, I’d like to think I would’ve given it a second thought. But knowing who I am, I’d probably like to learn the hard way. I too also love sugar 🙂 Hope you’re doing well my dear. *hugs*

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