My Last Alcoholic Drink
I don't remember the night before I quit drinking.
What’s the last alcoholic drink that I ever had? The truth is that I don’t remember.
You might expect my final night of drinking to have been an all-night binge, a wild party, or a big last hurrah, but the reality is that my last night with alcohol was just another boring night.
Before getting sober, I had already spent years of my life thinking about getting sober. I had myself convinced that I was right on the verge of quitting drinking, even though I was a daily drinker and showed no signs of changing.
In retrospect, this sounds crazy, but most nights that I drank, I truly believed that I was going to get sober the very next day.
It didn’t matter to me that I had thought the same thing the night before, and the night before that, and the night before that. It didn’t matter that every time I had promised myself I’d quit drinking, I ended up breaking the promise the next day.
It didn’t matter because I ignored my obvious patterns, and kept on believing that sobriety was right around the corner.
Since I always thought that I was about to quit drinking, I was also always telling myself “This drink will be my last drink ever.”
Some nights, I made an entire ritual out of it. I’d slowly sip a beer, savoring every last drop, trying to embed the flavor and texture in my memory for eternity.
Other nights, I’d use my supposedly imminent sobriety as an excuse to drink even faster and harder than usual. I’d chug beers, going all out, telling myself that it was fine because I’d never drink again beginning the next day.
Another funny (or perhaps sad) quirk was that I almost always bought expensive alcohol because I never wanted my “last” night of drinking to be a cheap, disgusting beer.
It was easy to justify the high cost when I thought that I was about to quit, but over the years I’m sure it cost me thousands of additional dollars on top of what I would already have been spending on alcohol.
Over the years, I must have had hundreds of drinks that I thought would be my last, but nearly all of them were followed by another day of heavy drinking.
My Actual Last Drink
The good news is that eventually, I finally had my real last drink. It’s been nearly seven years since I quit drinking, and I certainly hope to never go back to it.
So, what was my final last drink like? Did I carefully savor every sip? Did I chug it down in a few seconds?
The truth is that seven years later, I simply don’t remember.
I know that my first day sober was December 31st, 2016, which means that my last day drinking was December 30th.
I can make a few assumptions about how that day went, because I remember what I normally drank back then. I was almost certainly drinking IPAs, most likely Sierra Nevada.
I was probably drinking into the night. I’m not sure when I would have stopped drinking, and wonder sometimes whether I might have had a beer after midnight, technically on the 31st—It’s a question I’ll never know the answer to for sure.
I remember that I was home that entire night, so my last drink was probably on my couch, alone, either watching television or Netflix on my computer.
I can’t actually remember drinking the beer or what I was watching, but I’m reasonably sure it was nothing exciting.
In summary: the night I quit drinking was an entirely unremarkable night. It was so unremarkable, in fact, that I don’t even remember it.
As I look back on that night—or try my best to—I’m actually grateful that it wasn’t anything spectacular.
The reality is that my drinking habit was largely unremarkable. I was an extremely boring alcoholic. I didn’t get into a lot of fights, go on misadventures, or have wild nights out. I just sat at home and drank. It’s fitting that my final night of drinking was just another boring night.
If I had made a big deal out of my last drink, it only would have increased my temptation to go back to drinking. If my last memory of alcohol was having a big party or an exciting adventure, I might have used that memory as fuel for a relapse.
Instead, when I look back at drinking, I just remember one dull day after another, all blending together.
My last drink wasn’t something to be treasured. It wasn’t a reward for getting sober or a last hurrah before I quit. It was just the last boring beer in a series of thousands of boring beers.
When I think back to my last night of drinking, I’m happy with my vague memories of sitting on a couch doing nothing. It makes it easy to say “good riddance,” and to look forward to sobriety instead.
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