Amateur Night

Back in the old, un-longed for days, my wife and I used to refer to New Year’s Eve as “Amateur Night.”  It was our contention that sensible people stayed home because all the inexperienced drunks were out and didn’t know how to hold their liquor and drive.

Looking back from the vantage of years in recovery and several working in the field of alcohol and addiction treatment, it is clear to me that we were in that — as in so many things — deeply in denial. 

Apart from the fact that we didn’t know then (and would certainly have pooh-poohed) the fact that about 10% of the drivers — the experienced drinkers, not the beginners who know when to stop and are still able to do so — do almost 100% of the drunk driving, we were also carefully ignoring the fact that we couldn’t go out and do very much partying because we never knew what would happen.

Ours was a volatile relationship, to say the least, born in the bottom of a bottle (with the help of a few roaches and 714’s) and nurtured over the years by more of the same.  There was no telling what she would do in any given situation.  I wasn’t much better, and I carried a gun.  The only reason I was better at all was that I got quiet, while she got loud, and I never shot up a restaurant or bar, whereas she was prone to break things.  Going out was too dangerous.  Staying home was dangerous, too, but in different ways. 

Put simply, we didn’t go out because it was no…fun…at…all and, staying home, we could simply drink ourselves into a stupor with little enough interaction that the fireworks were minimized, if not eliminated.

Ah yes…those were the days.  Not the good old days, just the days.  I wouldn’t have missed them, because they were necessary to get me where I am now, but I sure wouldn’t want to repeat them!

I need to remember them, though.  I don’t make New Year’s resolutions; that just amounts to a half-assed 4th Step without any 5th to follow (and no sponsor to keep me honest).  Instead, I look back at the way things were, groove on the way things are now, and resolve I’ll try to keep on doing the next right thing.  It’s been working pretty well for quite a while.

And as far as Amateur Night is concerned — well, we may go out for a bite to eat, but we’ll be sacking out about ten.  We have to work tomorrow and, these days, we don’t look for excuses to stay home.  We still call it Amateur Night, but now we’re referring to different folks.  We understand.  And now, sometimes, thanks to a lot of help from our friends, we’re able to help them, too.

Happy New Year, Friends!

1 thought on “Amateur Night

  1. C

    A newbie to this sobriety business (2 months and counting), this will be my first sober New Year’s in a looooonnnng time. I, too, once condescendingly called it “Amateur Night,” feeling far too superior in my alcoholic attitude.

    And, no matter how hard I swore I wouldn’t overindulge, I always did. I am looking forward to greeting 2009 bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

    I enjoyed your post. Thanks, and here’s to a good and sober 2009.

    Two months! How wonderful…and congratulations! And thanks so much for commenting. And…two months, wow! You know, it’s not hard being an old timer — you just don’t drink, and you don’t die. You’re doing the WORK, and it sounds like you have a great attitude. Please check back from time to time and let us know how it’s going.

    Remember: the number one mistake newcomers make is to play it cool and not let anyone know they’re having a hard time. Well…and then there’s relationships… Anyway, Happy New Year and many more — sober.


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