Day 1,085: Twenty Questions

I saw spiked seltzer at Whole Foods last week: yes, water with booze in it. It reminded me for some reason of those online alcoholism self-assessments. Imagine if one of the questions were “Do you buy alcoholic water?” If you answered yes, you’d skip all the remaining questions and go straight to a page that said “YOU IN DANGER, GIRL.”

I don’t know about you, but I always found those quizzes pretty easy to game because they were so focused on big external consequences: jail, divorce, job loss. My drinking never led to those things–just, you know, a blunted heart and shrinking life, which in certain circles just look like adulthood. My own Cosmo Quiz for Progressive, Life-Ruining Addiction would have looked something more like this:

  1. Do you drink every day?  Y/N
  2. Do you frequently have more than 1 drink in a day? Y/N
  3. “One drink” is a) 5 liquid ounces; b) 5 liquid ounces plus unlimited top-ups made when no one else is looking; c) it depends on how victimized I feel that day; d) I drink to escape bourgeois concepts like ‘ounces’ and ‘measurement.’ God.
  4. Has your drinking led to anyone seeing you naked who maybe kind of shouldn’t have?
  5. When I say ‘the five a.m. fear’ do you know what I mean?
  6. Did you have the five a.m. fear today? Will you have it tomorrow?
  7. Are you overly proud of times you don’t drink? Before five, at business dinners, when you have the flu? Do you feel pretty special about having this one limit?
  8. How tired are you? Not in numbers. In words.
  9. Do you lie to your doctor about how much you drink? Your trainer? Your hairdresser?
  10. Select one: The sexual choices I make while drinking are more/less dubious than the already arguably dubious sexual choices I make while sober.
  11. Has anyone ever suggested you cut down on drinking? a) Yes; b) Yes but only assholes; c) No, because I’m lying to everyone; d) Why? What have you heard? Who is talking about me?
  12. T/F: I seek out cinemas with bar service to relieve the terrible stress of watching a movie in a comfortable seat in an air-conditioned room.
  13. T/F: I feel angry when people leave wine in their glasses.
  14. How scared are you? Not in words. In numbers.
  15. T/F: Drinking as much as I want whenever I want is the primary way I express my feminism.
  16. T/F: I tried to quit drinking once and failed.
  17. Did you fall down the first time you ever tried to walk? Y/N If yes, are you still lying on the floor in your little overalls and saddle shoes, or did you eventually haul your ass up and try again?
  18. Fill in the blank: One year from today _____________.
  19. Fill in the blank: Five years from today ____________.
  20. Cat got your tongue? It’s okay. This quiz is not timed. Those blanks aren’t going anywhere.

20 thoughts on “Day 1,085: Twenty Questions

  1. Dear lord, this is hilarious and sad at the same time (my kind of humor). For the record, there are some days I feel like I’m in little overalls and whatever the boy version of saddle shoes is, if there is such a thing, rolling from place to place.

  2. The face down in little overalls and saddle shoes made me howl. It’s such a good visual to remind me how nonsensical not getting back up again is. I’ve been in my little overalls long enough.

    For Number 11, I would need a 5th choice, e) a,b,c,d,
    “Has anyone ever suggested you cut down on drinking? a) Yes; b) Yes but only assholes; c) No, because I’m lying to everyone; d) Why? What have you heard? Who is talking about me?”

    And I just learned what off dry means. For someone who’s been drinking wine as long as I have, you’d think this term would be in my lexicon.

  3. This is brilliant! Love it. So happy to share it with my group and I-m sure it will bring lots of nods and smiles. I-m around day 500. Yesterday I saw a sign at the Universtity for a BBQ. Sots were 1 euro, beer was 50 cents…buy one beer get one free up to 30 beers….oh ha ha…really pissed me off…can’t imagine spiked water….

  4. Love it. Yes, alcoholic water is essentially drinking beer or wine or whatever. The base is usually water. So..NO to alcoholic water! Continue to be brave and bold. I love your posts!

  5. I cried when I read this. Because I hate the five am fear so much. And I read question 18 and question 19 and didn’t want to fill in the blanks because I am VERY scared, and then I read question 20 and just felt like I wanted to hug you and weep. Through all the tears, though, I really did appreciate your humour.

    1. Oh, Carly. I am virtually hugging you back. I still remember what the five a.m. fear was like and anytime I feel a momentary urge to drink (which is almost never these days) I think about it and the idea of ever feeling that way again is enough to keep me on the right path. You will get there too. XO–Kristi

  6. thank you for existing. i hope you don’t mind that i shared this post. i plan to read your entire blog instead of working today.

  7. Such a spot-on, yet compassionate post. I also love question 20 – I feel the hope and encouragement coming through. I’m 1 week off alcohol and can’t believe how much happier I feel. Never a super heavy drinker, but my evening bourbon or two was starting to take it’s toll in all the ways you describe. The last two nights I’ve had to invent tasks for myself in the evening as I’m not used to having energy and not having alcohol in my body at 8pm! I love your blog and read most posts leading up to my decision to become sober.

  8. I love this post. I’m in the first few weeks of sobriety and have spent at least the past couple of years contemplating most of these questions in one form or another. Love #20 – “these blanks aren’t going anywhere”….true dat

  9. Kristi,
    This post (and your blog at large) above everything else gave me the clarity and strength to stop drinking 112 days ago. This post resonated on many levels but in particular it was the intense fear and exhaustion that led to getting sober. On days when I am struggling with my sobriety, I return to your blog to read old posts and comments to remind myself where I was and to give me hope as to where I am heading. I feel like I have so much to say, but simply I would like to say thank you. You’ve given me a gift for which I am grateful.


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