February 9, 2009

Church Experiment #6: St. Peter in Chains

To begin, I need to establish a little background context. I am being completely honest when I say that I rarely drink alcohol. I am over 21 and don’t consider drinking a “sin,” so like many adults, I enjoy a social drink here and there. Every once in a while, I start to feel buzzed, so I call it a night. I almost never drink alone, don’t drink and drive, and avoid drunkenness. I served as the designated driver at a good friend’s wedding reception in December and on New Year’s Eve.

I would like to say this is primarily a spiritual thing. I mean, that’s part of it, but it has more to do with how my body reacts to alcohol. When I used to get drunk, I would get really hung over. Even now, there are days when I have two or three beers (without even feeling buzzed) and then wake up the next morning with a hangover. On Christmas of 2007, I met some friends at a neighborhood bar, had a few drinks, felt fine on my walk home, and woke up the next morning violently ill. While hugging my toilet that day, I decided to never put myself in that position again. And I hadn’t.

Until Sunday.

I had three drinks Saturday night. I hadn’t eaten much that day, so I could tell the alcohol was starting to affect me. I purchased a fourth drink, took a sip, and realized I was done drinking for the night. I walked home, went upstairs, and puked my guts out. Then, I fell asleep.

I woke up Sunday morning and felt terrible. I did get the taste of Scientology out of my mouth, and I replaced it with stomach acid and bile. I don’t remember how many times I threw up, but I do remember getting dressed for church (dress pants, dress shirt, suit jacket, dress shoes) and then yakking at 10:45 AM. Fifteen minutes before church started.

I stood up, wiped the tears from my eyes, quickly brushed my teeth, threw a piece of gum into my mouth, and was out the door. I don’t know much about the Catholic faith, but based on all those festivals I attended as a kid, I knew I was going to fit right in. Just kidding. Sort of.

Okay, moving on …

To finish reading about this experience or any of the reflections from my 52 visits, please purchase the full book here.