New York City might as well be called Booze Town. Never have I ever consumed so much alcohol, on such a regular basis as I do living here. It makes sense, I promote, I host, I’m friends with bartenders. My everyday life is easily side saddle with alcohol.
Webster’s Dictionary defines alcoholism as: “continued excessive or compulsive use of alcoholic drinks.”
By that definition. I am an alcoholic. And so are about 75% of my friends. We all know alcoholism is more than that, but those are some words for thought.
Daily on Facebook we see status updates making jest of nights forgotten and morning hangover pains. I am guilty as charged. What I have tried to step away from is making a joke out of my drinking behavior; alluding it to that of being an alcoholic. The thing is my consumption of alcohol is controlled. For as “fucked up” as I may get the amount of alcohol that I consume is completely in my control. In simple terms: I know when to stop. And so do a lot of people that I know. The thing is, this isn’t the case for everyone. Some of us with more addictive personalities or with a family history, drink until they literally can not anymore. They sleep it off. Rinse and repeat. Being part of the scene in New York means open bars and drink specials. It means going out on a Tuesday night and getting drunk. For some of us it’s as simple as walking into a party, throwing back a few drinks and leaving at our own free will. But for more people then you realize that isn’t the case.
A lot of your friends are actuallyalcoholics. Not in the: Lol I drank way too much last night way. No, more like in the: Once I have a drink I can’t stop, kind of way. Some of them are aware and in recovery. Others are spiraling out of control. And in this day and age drinking excessively isn’t seen the way it was when our parents were kids.
Binge drinking today is quite simply out of control. Many of us live our lives in ways that show we have absolutely no thoughts on the future. We are a generation living 100% in the right now. Most of us aren’t worried about our 401K’s hell MOST of us don’t even have health insurance. How can we build a base for our future when for so many of us our futures are entirely abstract? For so many of us life has not turned out to be what we expected. We have adopted a “I don’t give a fuck attitude.” If life is going to give me lemons I’m going to make lemonade…and add vodka.
I have no perception of being an adult in the way that my parents are. The thought of owning a home makes me nauseous. Do I want to get married and have kids? Yes. Do I want it anytime soon? No. Why? Because I need to grow the fuck up first.
Being a lesbian allows for you to stay out in the single world for a bit longer then most straight people would deem ok or socially acceptable. New York is a city of people “doing shit”. People are here to fulfill their dreams, to get ahead, and to make money. Love isn’t a top priority for most, simply because they don’t have the time. We work and we work to get to where we have always dreamed of being. After working a few back to back 12 hour shifts there only seems to be one thing to do, lay off steam by partying our asses off, drink excessively and casually fuck. On one hand it’s like well, can you blame us? We work our asses of to live in apartments that anywhere else would be closets or in some cases highly illegal. We are surrounded by restaurants that we can’t afford to eat in and people living lifestyles so glamourous that it’s disgusting. If New York doesn’t kill you, it will fulfill you. But chances are you’re going to have to (metaphorically and realistically) come close to dying a few times before shit gets good.
The LGBT community parties longer, while remaining single longer. So of course there would be some problems with alcohol. Its pretty common knowledge in the medical community that gay people have extremely high chances of forming a dependency on alcohol. There are a million reasons for this:
– Many of us have been ostracized by our families. Alcohol provides us with an escape.
– The quickest and easiest way to meet other gays is out in our spaces, which most of the time are parties or bars. People are more likely to approach a stranger after a few drinks are in their system.
– A lot of us are going through transitions and other confusing thought processes that society doesn’t yet accept. Alcohol becomes a welcome mind relaxer.
Being gay while wonderful, isn’t always easy.
So what’s my point? My point is this: We all need to take responsibility for our actions. We all need to recognize that while alcohol does provide for some fun times, that it is a highly addictive substance. Stop having fun? Never. But we do need to realize when some of our friends have taken things too far. We need to take the time to be introspective. To ask ourselves whether or not we are in control of our habits. We also need to realize that there are people in our community struggling with addiction who may not need it thrown in their faces constantly, in a joking matter that you are an alcoholic. If you actually do think you have a problem GET HELP.
Life is way too short to end things now with something as life changing and traumatizing as addiction. Be conscious. There will never be a shortage of parties, sitting a few out won’t kill you, alcohol on the other hand, can. I know you don’t want to hear it, or think about it, but it’s true. So please, wise up.
Here are some resources for anyone looking for help or more information:
AA here in NYC:
The phone number to get a real human:
For some private research or those who want some reading material:
Centers for treatment: