How I Got Sober and Stopped Being Funny
I come by being an alcoholic, honestly, thanks to my father. According to the experts, less than half of alcoholics’ children become alcoholics themselves. My sister is one who didn’t; I’m one who did. You’d think seeing my father drunk would have been enough to turn me off on the stuff altogether, but it didn’t, because unlike him, a WW2 veteran, I could handle it.
Booze and I started our affair in Boston in the Seventies, and for me anyway, it was love at first sip. Marijuana was illegal; I was broke most of the time and couldn’t afford it anyway. Coke was hardly a blip on my radar, too expensive, and the few times I tried it, I didn’t like it. Booze was my baby. It was cheap, legal, and available everywhere. My German boyfriend introduced me to an excellent, crisp Chablis, which we drank instead of water. My roommate and I always had a bottle of wine chilling in the fridge. Men were more than willing to buy me drinks. I loved mixed drinks like White Russians, daiquiris, and Tom Collins. Alcohol disguised as “cocktails” made drinking more acceptable. Because I didn’t drink the “hard stuff” like whiskey shots, I convinced myself I wasn’t a drunk. So what if I blacked out or didn’t remember what I did? Didn’t everyone?
The thing is, when I had a few drinks, I was funny, hilarious even. I could make anyone laugh and did. I had an entire repertoire of characters and voices. The downside was that they only made an appearance when I’d had a few (or more) drinks. I’d do my stand-up comedy act (I was NOT a stand-up comic) without being asked, entertaining (or not) my fellow barflies. I’m told I was a riot.
I wrote a book of women’s humor entitled “Wear enough Eye-Makeup, and No One Will Notice Your Hips.” No, don’t look for it on Amazon; it was self-published back when self-publishing meant going to a vanity publisher and getting it printed. No distribution, no bookstores. But it was funny. I was touted in a local paper as “The working woman’s Erma Bombeck,” a dubious compliment. I was invited backstage at SNL by one of the writers and appeared on a local talk show. But my career went nowhere because of my drinking.
I blacked out often, took risks, missed work, got fired, slept with the wrong men, and made a disastrous first…