Recovering alcoholics talk about the evils of boozing all the time: the injurious falls; the broken relationships; the missed opportunities; the emotional toll.
We never seem to talk about the cost of drinking.
I’m talking about the actual amount of money it takes to be a lush. When I was a drinker, I put away three bottles of wine a day. Not put away – like in a cupboard, but put away, like down my gullet. That’s $15.00 x 3 x 7 x 4 x 12, right? Is my math correct? $15,120.00 cash per year for my baseline alcoholism nut.
The real financial hit for me, came not from the cost of wine per se, but from the lack of spending inhibition after the wine had been consumed. I had this devil-may-care attitude about disbursements and a black hole in my brain where the concept of old age penury is supposed to reside. For me, carpe diem is a dirty, dirty turn of phrase…
One time Kim and I bought hats: designer hats from Philip Treacy (or someone of his ilk) at Neiman Marcus after a three-wine lunch. We don’t wear hats.
I was drunk when I spent $3,200 on an English Bulldog puppy and I am not a dog person. Not to mention the fact that Fiona is a lemon (in a breed known for skin troubles) who requires pricey spa visits to keep the fur on her body, on her body.
I was in my cups the day I bought a Bahamian summer house, for God’s sake. When I wrote a check for the entire amount, from a Home Equity Loan cache, there were probably alarms going off in the bank like the whoop-whoop of a submerging submarine during war. MAYDAY! MAYDAY! DIVE! DIVE! MRS. SPILLER HAS GONE MAD!
I could go on.
Suffice to say that on top of all the other bad things alcoholism brings to the table, destitution might be one of them.