Thursday, April 26, 2012

Event Planning



I'm doing a lot of event planning in my current role.  We have a number of very large events coming up this summer and I'm spending my days interviewing catering managers and looking at venues.  Of course this means I'm also planning menus - food AND drink.

It's not really a big deal.  In fact, the fact that I was a discriminating drunk means that I am able to choose wine for these events and be somewhat sure that no one will walk away complaining about the fact that we served bad wine.  My years and years of choosing wine at dinners and functions has provided me with the tools to select very good, moderately priced wines.

Hey - everyone needs an edge in this market right?

Thinking of wine doesn't even make my mouth water anymore.  This lack of mouth watering makes me very happy.  It also makes me happy that I will attend these events this summer and not embarrass myself. 

Hey, ever notice that the word embarrass ends in a form of "bare ass".  Yeah...I don't think that's a mistake.   

I digress.

What it does have me thinking is of all the times I have been at business functions and showed the aforementioned ass.  Oh Lord...just thinking about it brings back all those "OMG what did I do last night" feelings.  It's a wonder I was able to keep my job.

Well - not really.  I worked very hard understanding with whom I was drinking and exactly how much I could drink.  Here's a primer:

  • Work function  = 1 glass of wine at the function.  Many more later with a group of close friends.  Ended in being drunk and never wanting to leave the bar.
  • Work dinner = 1-3 glasses of wine depending upon who was at the dinner.  The higher up the person was in management, the fewer glasses of wine.  If I was entertaining subordinates, only one glass of wine.  Many more later with a smaller group of close friends.  Usually did not reach the point of "drunk"...merely intoxicated.  However I would spend the entire evening wondering if I would get "enough" and trying to convince people to "just have one more" at which time I would match their one more with about three of my own.  Hey...just keeping it real.
  • Work dinner with very close friends = no limits.  Major hangover the next day.  I'm sure mine was always worse than everyone else's but I would have never admitted it in a million years.  I was FINE.
I maintained this for my entire drinking while working career and, with the exception of a couple of times where I crossed a line, it worked very well.

Where I went wrong was when I began to drink alone.  Before I began drinking at home, I would go on business trips and after everyone else was back in their hotel room I would go down to the bar and drink them out of Chardonnay.  This is not an exaggeration.  Of course I would take work with me and pretend to actually be working while drinking but make no mistake - I was there to drink.  I don't think I was consciously trying to get drunk...but I did.  Even sitting here now I'm not sure what my motivation was...except for the ever present fear and loathing of being alone.

There were a couple of scary times at the end when I drank so much I wasn't sure how I got back to my hotel room.  I stayed out way too late and really could have been in trouble.  But I never did it in an unfamiliar city nor when I had anything important going on the next day.  Still...sometimes I think back and shudder.

Once I passed out as soon as I walked into the room and woke up the next morning...fully clothed, in full makeup (which is a cardinal sin in my book), and without setting an alarm.  I barely made it into the office and was REALLY sick that day but I was there.  My colleagues HAD to know but blessedly, no one ever said a word.

God really does look out for fools and drunks.

After I started drinking at home it became easier to stay sober at work events.  Why drink and make an ass out of myself in front of work associates and strangers when I could go home and drink and make an ass out of myself in front of people who love me?  I didn't say it made any sense...it just was.

So now, with those event still fresh in my mind...as well as the presence of mind to bring them to mind so I don't forget (if you can follow that then you either are an alcoholic or you love one), I am very much looking forward to these events.  I will sit with my diet soda and appetizers and survey the carnage.  I will sign the final checks, leave an appropriate tip, and drive home safely to my family who love me.  I will then WASH MY FACE, crawl into my comfy bed, and sleep the sleep of the sober with no waking early or sweating or wild dreams.

But before all that, I will thank God, again, for one more day sober.

Namaste my friends.




5 comments:

  1. Amazing how we convince ourselves that we have it all figured out and are OK. It was not until I came to AA and heard someone say, "normal" drinkers do not think like this, only real alcoholics do. That really made sense to me and put my drinking and thinking into a new perspective.

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  2. You write for so many of us. There are too many events that if I think back on I would be in a constant "cringe". Huge pieces of the night would be missing, and the older I got the harder the hangover was. I now feel so good about not drinking. Like it's my little secret that I won't have to take two Excedrins and drink a small lake of water before bed to ward off evil hangover spirits. That I can drive home and not have to be looking all paranoid for cop cars. That I didn't make an ass out of myself. These are awesome things to not have to worry about. We can convince ourselves of anything but there's no one that can convince me that my life was better with drinking, than it is without out! You rock girlfriend!

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    1. OMG!!! I ALWAYS took two Excedrin and about a gallon of water before I went to bed. See - still not as special as I thought I was then.

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  3. Haha, love the WASH MY FACE part. Love your honesty and writing style.

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