It must have been nice to be a crazy alcoholic back in the good old days. In that golden era before phones, email, text messages and Facebook, you could just tell people face-to-face all kinds of awful things drunk people say while intoxicated. Slurred assaults like “You never loved me” or “I liked you better ten pounds ago” could just do their immediate damage and that would be the end of it. Sure, perhaps the folks on the receiving end of these booze-soaked barbs would recoil and run the opposite direction whenever you entered the room but you wouldn’t have to worry about the words themselves coming back. Today, the Ghost of Tequila Tantrums Past likes to haunt my inbox with moronic messages from YesterBeer.
This week, I stumbled on a doozie when I was searching my inbox for a pre-maturely deleted client email. See, I know it’s hard to believe but when I drank a lot, (which was the only way I drank, by the way) I had an annoying habit of saying brutal and horrible things to people I loved. And it was always under the guise of “being honest” or some crap. Like those drunk reality stars always say, “I’m just keeping it real” or “I’m using my voice” or my favorite– “Just sayin'”. No what you’re just doing is being a hateful, crazy douchebag. And that’s how I rolled. I didn’t know that I could be honest or state my opinion without being horrible or abusive. When you’re drunk seven nights a week, normal communication is a puzzling prospect. It was far easier to pound out a shitty, nonsensical text message or email while wasted and deal with the fallout later. The recently resurfaced email misdemeanor was written to my ex in 2007, two years before I got sober. I’ll save you the boring and tragic details but the email essentially apologized for the bad behavior from the night before. What made the email remarkable was how pedestrian and insincere it was. The tone of the whole thing is of the “Sorry I forgot to pickup more cat litter” variety and not of the more appropriate “Oh my god I’m horrified that I screamed at you” flavor. I read the entire email thread, shaking my head in disbelief that I ever lived that way. Alas, this was not the only email trainwreck in ye old inbox. An apology over a barbecue blackout and the continuation of an epic drunken text battle were also readily available for my reading enjoyment.
Out of curiosity’s sake, I entered more search terms into Hotmail to see what old chestnuts they would produce. I mean this stuff no longer has the power to humiliate me anymore and I’m not living in shame about my past so why not? The words “drunk” and “sober” came up with another form of email that also shocked me. Like messages in a bottle, my email communication from 2009 were calls for help. “I don’t know what to do”, “I can’t stop crying”, and “I’m scared” are some of the sentences that stood out. I got a little teary eyed reading these but I couldn’t stop. It was like reading a book where the crazy character who said he was “keeping it real” actually got real and asked for help. Other searches turned up job rejections, bold faced lies, SOS emails asking for money and even some embarrassing Craigslist dating ads. Abruptly, I stopped the email archelogical dig. I got the message I was suppose to hear. Just because Hotmail was going to hold on to this stuff no matter how many times I pressed the delete button or how old it was, didn’t mean I had to. I could read, remember and be grateful for the life I have now and truly “delete” the shame attached to old words and behaviors.