Belltown Life & Alcohol

I am writing this right now, with one of the biggest headaches I have had in quite some time. Let me tell you why...

First, you need the back story.

On March 18, I stopped drinking for a month. There was no particular reason, I did not have a black out on St. Patrick's Day or anything like that. No, my body just needed a break. My liver needed to be reset. I had done this once before in September, which proved difficult but manageable. I even went on a few pub crawls while sober, drinking only mocktails or the go to, soda and bitters. I noticed my body was responding well to the lack of alcohol and the lack of eating a whole pizza from the Back Bar to sober myself up.

See, I live in Belltown, as do my friends. Belltown has something like 127 bars, and an easy bus ride or tiny cab fare suddenly links us to more bars than one could imagine. In fact, Seattle has one of the highest number of bars per capita (I'll link to it when my head doesn't feel like exploding from a search.) Most client meetings, networking events, friends events, socializing happens at the bar. I'm almost 30 years old and live downtown in a major metro city, so this is probably not that surprising but many do not know what this entails.

In addition, the majority of my friends live in my neighborhood of Belltown. We rarely leave Belltown, unless we can walk, and even then - it's just to downtown. Most report it's a feeling of being on a college campus, with all of your friends. In our group, we often joke we go to Belltown University and our way of life is simply just - #BelltownLife.

Oh one more thing you should know... At this point, we know most bartenders in most establishments we patronize.

Let me break it down. Here is the most recent example I have:

Tuesday, March 15.
Random spontaneous pub crawl.
Thanks @foursquare for remembering my whereabouts.
Pics get drunkier as the night goes on.

7:31PM: Wann Japanese Izakaya
Elise, Marissa, Jordan, Aly
-All night happy hour
-Shochu drinks

8:52PM: Alibi Room
Elise, Marissa, Jordan, Aly
Chris joins us
-Vodka Cocktails

10:09PM: Jelly Bar (Long's)
Elise, Marissa, Jordan, Aly, Chris
Feleke joins us
-Cocktails (spicy!)

11:03PM: Nite Lite
Elise, Marissa, Jordan, Aly, Chris, Feleke
-No drinks (kind of dive bar, the bartender was MIA & bouncer type guy would not pour.)

11:05PM: Whisky Bar
Elise, Marissa, Jordan, Aly, Chris, Feleke
Will joins us

12:24: List
Elise, Marissa, Jordan, Aly, Chris, Feleke, Will
-Food (Spicy Meatballs - yum!)
-Played Operator, yeah, the game you play as a kid)

12:42AM: Kushi Bar
Elise, Marissa, Jordan, Aly, Chris, Feleke, Will

Finally, home around 1:30. I must remind you, this was an unplanned Tuesday night pub crawl. The next day we were all feeling it. It's just Belltown Life. And, I'm not going to sugar coat it, this night wasn't really atypical.

I should add, you may have noticed our group grew with every bar. We're bad influences on one another. Technology like Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook (we have a private group where we post updates) and even simple text messages enable our friends to know where we are, what we are doing - and how much fun we are having.

So, now you see why I needed a little break. I stopped drinking March 18, had my first glass of wine at Pintxo on April 17, 31 days later. Then last night, I saw my beloved Detroit Tigers play the Mariners at Safeco field. The plan was to drink, and even get buzzed. I was a good kid, I paced myself, I was never drunk (acting anyway, I'm sure my BAC was drunk.)

Yet this morning, I felt like death. In fact, I feel worse than I have in quite some time. My body woke me up at 7:30AM, with a pounding headache, dry mouth, stomach ache, sore body. I remembered eating a lot of pizza last night, getting home late and well, today was essentially not very productive.

We all know binge drinking is bad for you, and moderation is key. But I have felt so awesome (even lost 11 pounds) in the past month and in one night feel like I just gave my body to worst beating ever. My body - and pounding headache not even a 4.5 hour nap could fix - is telling me that alcohol might not be my friend.

I am not going to stop drinking, and I'm sure I'll have a few more spontaneous pub crawls headed my way (like the Ninja Pub Crawl) but I think it might be time to redefine what Belltown Life means to me.

So, when you see me out at your favorite Belltown establishment, don't give me shit about my soda & bitters... I especially mean you, my favorite bartenders.


Anonymous said…
Maybe you need to switch to something a little more green. Tomorrow would be a good day to start ;P
JennyPurr said…
I feel you! Since I cut down on my drinking, I feel so much better. I also noticed I can't handle alcohol as well as I used to. It's just not worth it to me enough to nurse a hangover the next day.
The hardest hurdle was getting friends to not (innocently) push me to drink when I didn't want to. I used to do that before I want on a detox. Now that I've been through it, I think I'm more considerate to folks who are in the middle of an alcohol detox.
Elise said…
Jenny, Yes! So glad you know my pain. Also, why is it that everyone tries to force you to drink ;)
Unknown said…
It gets worse and worse the older you get unless you are a practiced drinker and that just comes with too many other bad side affects. Although, I forget every once in a while, especially while hanging by the pool or when a good bottle of champagne is involved or a really great Cosmo - I have decided alcohol really is poison. The bad side affects so outweigh that few moments of good feeling. Congrats on changing your outlook on Belltown life! Oh and my non-alcoholic drink of choice is soda and lime!
Chris said…
Balance. Todo con medido. And we had people in town. I keep exercising, so does Will. You're being hard on yerself.
Come drinking (soda) with us right now!
Check the "secret group"
Maia Dobson said…
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