I’m Not Drinking Tonight

I snapped these pictures in a condo on the 33rd floor of the W Hotel in downtown Manhattan. The man I was dating owned the one-bedroom suite conveniently situated inside of the hotel that was attached to my restaurant, BLT. The mysterious man was twenty years my senior and had an eye for younger women. He was overweight and financially underwater. His business was sinking, but I believed he was successful. I was a full-fledged alcoholic, but he thought I was a social drinker. He landed a 25-year-old bartender and I landed a convenient crash-pad.

I required alcohol to tolerate him.  He was cocky, annoying, and possessive. After my first few drinks, he became charming, sensitive, and cute. Alcohol filtered and cropped him into an Instagrammable beauty. He supposedly “owned a business” yet, shared his one-bedroom condo with a man that was twenty years his senior. This living situation baffled my immature mind. Why didn’t these two grown-ass men just rent a two-bedroom? Were they a gay couple? Were they father and son? Maybe they were just two mis-matched bros who shared a flat. Regardless, I didn’t ask many questions. Two weeks after we started dating, they left for a ”business trip” and I seized the opportunity to watch the place while they were gone.

The first night, I polished off the only bottle of alcohol in the place. I loathed the taste of gin, but I preferred hard liquor to “fluff” and I preferred any alcohol to no alcohol. The following night, I walked in to the empty bottle of Bombay Sapphire facing me from behind the black granite bar. I beelined to the liquor store, bought a bottle of cheap gin and emptied it into the Bombay bottle. I drank this bottle the next night and repeated the “sneak-refill” three times before the week was over. Each time I promised myself I would not drink after work, but the damn bottle kept luring me in. I can’t just sit and watch Vanderpump Rules without a little buzz, a nice bed-time rush. In reality, I refused to marinate in my own thoughts.

My anxiety was debilitating, and alcohol was the antidote. Immediately after the sun set, restlessness and mild panic set in, progressively building until I couldn’t be alone with myself. I needed interference between the noise in my head and my consciousness. Without learning to process my thoughts and feelings in a healthy way, alcohol was my solution.

Behind the smile is a lonely girl with no authentic relationships. She grasps for gin and fantasy to fill the void. The breathtaking views and luxe surroundings distract her from internal misery.

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