Airport Tequila

By Signs In The Night 11/21/18
Signs In The Night.jpg

Currently 100 days into sobriety. Sifting through writing archives. Glimpsing back at the wreckage of my past. So to speak. I find this random, raw, forgotten piece. Circa 2010. It seems to detail my addiction in a rather upfront, immediate fashion. It strikes me. I think I’ll pass it along. 


I sit at my boarding gate in the Las Vegas airport with one hour to go. A Tequileria beckons me from the corner of my eye. A man with snow-white hair and a Paramount Pictures jacket walks back & forth, like an extra in a Hollywood movie.

Is this a test? All my dreams seem to wrap around Paramount Pictures because I believe my life should be one. False illusions of grandeur come with my territory. 

I’ve got the desire to saunter right on over to that tequila bar and have myself a shot—most likely a double—in which case, no doubt, I’d opt to use my business select free drink coupon for a Bloody Mary on the flight home, as well.

After that?

Well, who knows.

That’s the point—once I start, I never know when I will stop.

In fact, I passed another Tequileria on the way to my gate. No shortage of Tequilerias at McCarran International. I thought about stopping, then thought better of it. Skip the tequila. Maybe just a Bloody Mary on the plane.

I arrived at my gate with time to kill and was hit with another Tequileria—the one now staring me in the face. Choices. I explore my options as the snowy mountain on the Paramount logo gleams at me from the man’s jacket through the crowd of travelers, representing the dreams I throw away when I cave into my craving. I think of the documentary I viewed last night with a friend, What the Bleep Do We Know!? It’s all about the spiritual connection between quantum physics and consciousness.

We create our own reality.

How so?

Well. This is how I create my reality. Right here. Right now. This is it. Choices. It boils right down to this moment. The answer is obvious. I don’t like it. I want a damn shot of Tequila and I want it fucking now. I consider calling my co-dependent and asking what I should do. This is ridiculous.

My head hurts. I’m exhausted from not enough sleep last night. I can’t wait to be home, showered and in my own bed.

One decision leads to the next leads to the next and there lies life.

It would be so easy. So breezy. To just shoot it down. But I know it always—always—leads me to the same place.

That’s the problem with this addiction. It’s not that I can’t have just one drink, because I can. Once. Twice. Three times. Maybe four. Hell, maybe even ten times, but then—then comes the day I just don’t stop. Can’t stop. I keep going, faster & faster, darker & darker and I wake up feeling the same every time. Depressed. Down. Aching. Poison pours from my pores and I hate myself for the decisions I’ve made. I hate myself.

It’s that initial release I’m looking for. Release from what? Release from the way I feel right now. And how is that? Well—sober—for one thing. Reality. This is reality. I hate reality. Nothing exciting is happening right now. No promise lies on the horizon. It’s just me, feeling sort of empty and unsure. Unsure of how or if it will ever unfold the way I want it to, how I think it should. A drink is a great old escape from the way I feel right now, which, ultimately, ensures it will never unfold the way I want it to. It’s a vicious cycle.

Drinking is a cut-off from possibility. Possibility dies when I drink. Stagnation thrives.

The loudspeaker informs me that flight 559 into Burbank boards in 15 minutes. I might make it safely. Sans Tequila. For anyone who may read this, I’d like to make clear—the me I know would never turn down the calling of a bright red neon Tequileria sign—a mere hop, skip & jump away. It’s a magnet pulling me toward it until the very moment I take my laptop out of its case and start to tap—tap— tap— on the keys. Writing assuages my ever-present anxiety. 

The me I know would skip on over to the double shot for certain and then, perhaps, in the glow of the high, slump over the typer and type away at my own nonsense. Hopefully, I make some semblance of sense in this sober state of mind. 

I’m not very familiar with this better, stronger version of myself, but the clock ticks and we are boarding in 12 minutes. I’m pretty damn certain I’m going to board without that burning burn of tequila coursing through my addict veins. This right here defines the reason I write. This right here is reason enough for me.

Don’t get me wrong; there is still plenty of time to do a double, but I don’t think I’m going to. 

I go back and read what I’ve just written. Maybe it’s not bad. It’s time to board.

I pack up my laptop. I’ll report from the plane after the flight attendant offers me my due drink.


Happily miserable, back in Los Angeles. The more I leave this place the more I love coming home. 

On The Road kept me occupied throughout my flight. Jack makes me feel less alone in my alcoholism. And—wait for it—I made it through the flight without my free cocktail. Opted for a straight tomato juice instead. Victory. Even though I did not manage to write any more on the flight as I had promised. I got to wondering about Kerouac’s usage of the term ‘beat.’ Did he coin it? Was it his very usage of the word ‘beat’ as an adjective that kicked off the whole beat generation? I’m going to research this tidbit tomorrow. Meanwhile, of course, I've made mental note to start describing things as beat—like this beat dirty martini I’m about to drink. 

Yea, I made it through the flight. Now I’m at a Studio City bar next to a pizza joint with my co-dependent drinking buddy, Paul. He fetched me from Bob Hope Airport. Appropriate. I directed him straight here. The pizza joint next door delivers to the bar. Pepperoni. 

I’m going to have one martini. 


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