The End of Alcohol
SHE WAS DRESSED in a cartoon-spangled onesie, while he wore a tiny denim jacket and wide-legged pants. It was a bluebird day in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and I was eavesdropping on the couple at a crosswalk.
“Sobriety is a big thing these days,” she said.
“Yeah,” he said. “For babies.”
Babies are sober, and adults drunk. Browsing in a cavernous thrift store, I rolled the idea around. It’s true I sometimes feel remedial and juice-boxy holding a Sprite at a cocktail party, as I often have over the past 10 years. But I also remember someone sharing in a 12-step meeting that she used to think she was a cold, calloused femme fatale when she was blackout drunk—the soul of sophistication. I used to think the same thing. Later, she realized that she drank because she couldn’t bear one electron of pain. Some alcoholics call this Queen Baby Syndrome. She self-soothed, she said, by sucking on a bottle of Georgi. (I’ve changed some details here to protect privacy.)
This person hit bottom, she said, when she woke up on a deflated air mattress spooning with a drag queen who looked like Ted Cruz. I’ve never forgotten that.
Though I still describe myself as an alcoholic, the word has fallen out of favor with marquee nondrinkers, and for good reasons.
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