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Beware those Boxes

Introductions are in order.

Your narrator is a 28 year-old recovering alcoholic, currently found in Brooklyn.  College brought me to New York in 1999, and has remained my base of operations ever since– excepting a recent 15-month stint in South East Asia working at a 5-star resort and drinking myself into blackout nightly– but we’ll get to that.

My poison was whiskey.  Almost exclusively whiskey.  Irish blended whiskies and single malted scotches, the occasional fine bourbon.  Jamesons, in particular.  The binge-drinking began in 1999, the summer before my senior year of high-school.  By almost anyone’s standards I was a late bloomer.   My life up till that point had that of a shy, dorky, literary overachiever trained in drama, madrigals, and classical violin.  I discovered quickly that when whiskey entered the picture, I became the flirtatious, tortured, unpredictable Jezebel I had always aspired to be, but never was.

So I drank whiskey . . . a lot.  For 10 years.  And everything fell apart.

Flash-forward to today.  Sober for nearly 9 months.  Some complete and utter life-changing shit went down, which shall be revealed as you and I get cozier.  I remain somewhat gainfully employed, and more importantly, substantially more employ-able than I have been in years.  Recently moved into a good living situation with a stable roommate, a dog, a cat, and a dishwasher.   Looking for work, but hey, who isn’t in this economy, am I right folks?  Am I right?

A delivery from Bed Bath and Beyond contained a small bookcase, a laundry sorter, and a movable fabric storage cart.  I decided to be uncharacteristically productive and not only put together the bookcase, but empty some of the moving boxes cluttering my room.

Now, before moving into this particular domicile, I emptied my storage space in Spanish Harlem, which had remained completely untouched for over two years.  The storage space came into place during the 15 months I lived in Asia, the several months before which found me drunk, unemployed, and sharing a single bed with my then-boyfriend, and the several months after I returned home, when I was too frightened to see what in holy hell could be in there.

An avalanche of the flotsam and jetsam from my drinking life was in those boxes.  Clothes I hadn’t been able to squeeze into in years.  Notices demanding money in increasingly bolder, larger, and more colorful fonts.  A violin that hadn’t been played in the better part of a decade.  Books, cascades of books.  Coils of wire that belonged to electronics long since lost . . . or destroyed.  A cell phone that hadn’t been used since college.  You get the picture.

So unpacking has taken . . some time.  Having found the energy to tackle this project after such a long wait, one might imagine with what vigor I tore into those boxes!  I was gonna show those bitch-ass boxes who was BOSS!

I got through all of two boxes, when I came upon some white plastic drawers that had ostensibly held “office materials”.  The top drawer actually held office materials, of all things.  Binder clips, No. 2 pencils, and some glue sticks what for sticking headshots to resumes, when I did that kind of thing.

The lower drawer held a diary started in the summer of 2002, nipple clamps, a pair of ancient vibrators that might as well have operated on a hand crank, and a silver flask.

Picking it up, I heard a familiar slosh.  Memory crept up within me.  For most of my drinking life, I was strictly a bar drinker, and never brought my own (thinking it gauche).   But I kept a flask in the apartment, “for emergencies.”  I rarely used it, but kept it full.

For emergencies.

I unscrewed the top, and instantly recognizes the sharp, woody scent of John Jamesons Blended Irish Whiskey.

It was like seeing an ex-lover before you’re prepared, my heart pounded in my chest, and my knees turned to water underneath me.  Eyes took on a rainslick sheen, and my arm was frozen in a crooked position.   I felt the weight in my hands.  It would have been nothing to raise that flask to my lips, nothing.  The work of nine months undone in a matter of seconds.

Though a voice in my head nagged, “If you’re gonna do this, do you want your first drink in the better part of a year to be from a flask that’s been laying next to some old vibes for two years?”

Running to the sink, I poured the whiskey down the sink, keeping the water running to mask the smell.  That smell.  I was salivating while I poured.  But the deed was done, and I had managed to keep my sobriety intact.

And so thankfully, the first post of “Superfluously Sober” comes to you from the laptop of a sober human!  The rest of the night finds me sipping some Silk “Nog” and moving more boxes.   And so, until next time, I wish you a safe and sane twenty-four hours.

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