Kristi Coulter

Ha! One summer, while in a pretty terrible and immature relationship I found myself around a lot of people who drank. My partner at the time had a nightly drink, often a daily one, too. The social events were drowning in booze as well. I was never a heavy drinker but tequila was my preferred intoxicant. Scratch margaritas with salt and fresh lime, always in a shaker. And I made them strong.

First thing I noticed during our time together was how much my partner needed that drink every night. To loosen up. Lose inhibition. Drop boundaries. Get nasty, sexual, aggressive. To become someone else. Escape. My inner voice asked me if I was doing the same. If so I didn’t like what I was becoming.

The social events we attended were full of drinkers, mostly wealthy types with lots of leisure on their hands. The women who were confident and “self-made”, I observed, rarely drank to get wasted and seemed to be gone from the parties at the appropriate time. Everyone else — blotto. Making passes, being inappropriate, trying to forge allegiances or breaking them fresh again. Looking to see who else wants to come along. Over the course of that relationship — a little over a year — I decided though I enjoy a variety of beers, my beloved margaritas, a good wine with steak or fish, a great port, that I simply didn’t want to drink anymore. Everyone else could do as they like. That was 3 years ago and I haven’t had a drink since after some 20 years of mostly occasional and social drinking.

I enjoyed your article, Kristi. I don’t recall if you said you’ve stopped for good but either way I hope you’re finding your way and, like Ralph Ellison said, ‘slipping into the cracks and looking around.’ I might add that the victimhood and gender pablum — ‘mansplaining’ and ogling janitors? — seemed unnecessarily petty and tribal, but I enjoyed your perspective nonetheless. ;)

My own journey to leaving booze culture made me think about something James Baldwin, a writer and thinker who I admire, once said — “Your maturity is signaled by the extent to which you can accept the dangers and the power and the beauty of love.”

Living wide awake is pretty cool. In fact I like it a lot. ;)

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