Life should really come with a safety instruction card. Why the hell not? Shampoo comes with instructions, why not life? I’m sitting on a plane going back to face reality in Tennessee so I figure I would tell you a story from my flying drunk days. Sit back, relax, and enjoy! I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll mention it again, I was a flight attendant for 8 years. The reason why I bring it up is because it’s where I really perfected my drinking. I guess that’s where I got my graduated degree in Alcoholism. In my opinion Drinking is totally out of control in the airline industry.
I can joke about it now, but when I was in my darkest days of drinking and flying, it was awful. In reflection I don’t have any idea how I’m alive today. Drink all night and get a call around 1 pm from the airline, “I have a Tokyo trip for you tonight”. Oh snap, there goes the rest of my day. Can’t drink, after all I do have responsibilities to the flying public. At that point I would just lock myself in until it was time to drive to the airport. Check in for work and I would be in a bad mood because I needed a little something to mellow me out. At this point in my day I woke up before my buzz had wore off and now I was going to be up all night making sure you all got your snack, your little rectangular month old meal, beverage, and final snack. Dear lord, let’s not forget your outdated movie too. “When’s the movie going to start?” “What’s the movie on today’s flight?” “What time is it in Manila?” Let’s see, “don’t know, no clue and I think you might have got on the wrong flight Sir. My fellow in-flight safety crew (Stewardesses) would scramble to get everything ready.
Oh my God I better not mess up because Betty, who’s been flying longer than my mother’s been on this earth, will lose her mind. Get the coffee ready, turn on the ovens, prepare the carts, get the OJ ready, “I really could use a drink right now”. By the way, Japanese people love OJ more than they love Hello Kitty. It’s kind of crazy. So our service is done and now the most junior attendants get first break. This is because it’s still too early local time but I’m not tired Betty. I’m hung over and really needing one of them little bottles of Jack! So I go up to the flight deck, plug my DVD player in and attempt to watch a movie. The Captain gets a call to let me know my brake is over and it’s time to go back down stairs to sit on a plastic bucket of ice and babysit the passengers. What we have at this point
It’s a steady line of requests:
- Juice please
- Beer please
- How much longer?
- Hot water for my baby?
So at this point nobody in that plane wants to be there. You all hate us because we ran out of your favorite drink and we hate you because you chose to get on the plane in the first place. We give you all your snack, OJ and green tea. We’re finally over land and get ready for landing. At this point I grab two huge empty water bottles and fill one up completely with vodka and the other with cranberry juice. I take cranberry because you drank ALL the OJ. I only need to put a splash of juice in my vodka, more for color than flavor. We land and the 747 cannot empty out fast enough. I’m ready to pull the slide and go out Jet Blue style. Now I have to take the long walk to immigration pulling a heavy bag filled with a 12 pack of beer, a gallon of vodka and some cranberry juice. Barely enough for my 27 hour layover. Get outside and jump in the chartered bus. Go to the last row and take a drink of the vodka.
It tastes like what I’ve been missing my whole life.
All the attendants make plans to meet at the bar down stairs as soon as we put our stuff in our rooms and change. It turns out that I’m not the only binge drinker in a crew of 15. I’m in the majority, but unlike myself the others don’t let their hair down until they are officially on foreign soil. We arrived at 5pm and at this point I have been up for about thirty hours. I can’t take a nap because I would be useless on the way back to base.
The trick is to stay up until it’s time to go to sleep local time. In the meantime what else am I suppose to do but be social and get loaded? By the time we close down at the bar, we have decided to meet up at somebody’s room and we all bring the booze we took off the plane. The party continues until who the hell knows. I wake up in my bed, somebody else’s bed, the floor in the bathroom, heck it was all a bad dream at this point. Now I sit drink water and pray this massive headache will go away in time to get back on the bus and head for the airport. After which this entire cycle will start all over again on the way back to the states.
By the time we land, I’ve been up for over 24 hours again. Now I have two days off and nothing to do but call my drinking friends to hit the happy hour.
This day in the life was repeated over and over for almost eight years. There’s a reason I’m not dead. I now believe I have to write about my entire life, one story at a time for the world to read. I know I’m not the only one that has been in the deepest darkest parts of life. I ‘ve chosen to live and start a new life. It took everything for me to give my old life (with it’s Alcoholic comforts) up. I had to get rid of all the bad influences I had surrounded myself with. I had to learn how to just go about my day and deal with life. I’m here to tell you, life is the most beautiful thing and you can’t appreciate it if you’re drunk or high.
Oscar is a thirty something recovering alcoholic. He’s been sober since 2005. You can follow his sobriety journal at Life Without Beer Goggles. Oscar also stays in touch with his readers on his Facebook page and Twitter.