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The number of 25 to 35-year-olds dying with alcohol-related liver disease tripled between 1999 and 2016. I hope this comes as a shock, but the three boxes of Franzia in my pantry beg to ask why you would be in the first place.
Here we are: exposed, flattened on the cold, metal table with our hands and ankles clasped to the sides, ready for the knife to dissect every one of our reasons. They keep asking why; why we stand in the middle of the road, begging for the world’s hardest regrets to hit us. They ask why we make deals with toilet water, find ourselves in places we’ve never been in daylight, and thank our lucky stars for the vodka tonic we call home.
For why it is, I do not always know. I don’t know if there’s a reason, I only know it becomes an addiction. I only know that dorm room pre-games made us talk about our dreams, only know that Thursday nights we felt like this feeling kept us afloat from heavy waves.
We were groups of people, flowing into every bar, hoping we won’t see that night’s decisions in future mirrors. My homework was focusing on delusions in loud houses, using community as a valid reason for our mistakes.
From college days to now, the drinks slowly became a part of ourselves, trailing behind every step we took to growing up. We are lost lovers on its leash, romanticized Stockholm Syndrome you see in ads. The music glorified the taste; we glorified the feeling of inwardly disappearing for the duration of several nights.
One glass becomes a way to tame the heart, to meet the lion that bursts through my kitchen window, tell him there’s no more room for your worried roars, your inescapable nervousness that chatters your sharpened teeth.
Two glasses becomes a way to help me think I can’t listen to the voicemails on my phone due to the loss of service in the Amazon; it allows me to forget the truth that my job hardly pays for the years of my life crouching over lost grades and goals in my dorm room.
Three glasses helps me tell my mom about my mistake at work, bond with my boyfriend over my quicksand in the rut of the week.
Four glasses hits with the delirium, carries the hallucinations when lying in the storm, helps me hear the croak of the toucan in between the down pouring; I am lost in the leaves, escaping concrete reality like it’s what I was destined to do.
Five glasses is a way to experience running through the mud and trees towards the sun with the jeweled box from the tomb, to feel the fear in my body as I watch the boulder roll towards my doom, then finally jump from the cliff and into the abyss.
Grasping for an excuse to be someone who I am not, I open the box. It tells me that loneliness can be solved with it, that adventures like this one can be found when you forget where you are, and we can all finally be honest with its power.
I don’t always know why we are addicted. Sometimes I do.