I’ve Pretty Much Stopped Drinking. Asterisk. » VSB

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I’ve Pretty Much Stopped Drinking. Asterisk.



In 2009, I became a parent to a beautiful daughter. She is the light of my life. From 2010 to 2015, I lived two very separate lives: Daddy PJ and Partyin’ PJ. When I’m with my daughter, I’m on my Ps and Qs; I don’t even drink when she’s with me unless her mother is around OR my parents are present and even then it’s minimal – we’re talking a beer at most. But when I was Mr. Solo Dolo, well, we’ll get to that.

In 2015 (and 2016) I welcomed two beautiful baby boys into my life who have added to the light of my life and shine in their own ways. My family is and has light. Et facta est lux. Family life has become my ministry. I’m home with my family every day, b. And do you know what this means?

Drinking, and getting drunk in particular, is that bullshit. Let’s shenaniganalize a little bit, shall we?

There was a point in time where two of my sisters thought I might need an intervention. My Instagram feed was full of more drinks than a staged Love & Hip-Hop restaurant scene. Back then, I wasn’t a raging alcoholic or anything, quite to the contrary actually (put a pin in this), I just rolled with a crew – a crew that is still very much the homies – who pretty much bonded, almost daily, over a libation and all shenanigans were documented with intentionality. Sundays were a particularly libatious day. Sunday Funday is a thing after all and we romanced the shit out of it. It really didn’t matter what day of the week it was, either. If I was available and the Bat signal appeared, I was on somebody’s rooftop or outdoor patio with a glass of Bulleit and ginger-ale regaling the good life I was living.

It wasn’t unusual for me to leave work at 6pm, be out until 2am, and up again at 6am to be out the door to take my daughter to school the next morning. My tolerance was on a hundred, thousand, trillion. Taking upwards of seven or eight shots of Jameson per outing wasn’t really an issue so much as an expectation. And I wasn’t even the person who could drink the most. I’ve got friends who I’ve seen drink nearly twice as much as I’d ever drink who I can honestly say I’ve never seen drunk. Liver gang.

Full disclosure: This isn’t to say that I was never washed. There are epic stories of some nights where that last drink was a bridge too far. I have a hat that made its way around DC while I was once asleep at a bar. And behind a bar. Also, there’s the night I tried – unsuccessfully, of course – for several minutes to unlock my neighbors door and became frustrated that I couldn’t get into my home. Any given Sunday, fam.

Interestingly though (back to the pin), I almost never drink at home or by myself. My liquor shelf isn’t impressive. When I do “drink” at home, it’s usually in the form of beers others have left behind after an event and even then I find it difficult to finish them. I take a few sips and pour out the rest because I never really wanted that beer to begin with. I don’t drink wine and kind of hate champagne. I’m a professional social drinker. Or was.

I’ve learned over time that while I’ve always had fun drinking, the parenting and family ministry part doesn’t really mix well with it, for me anyway. And by parenting, I mean the part of parenting that involves being awake at ungodly hours like 2, 3, 4, or 5am after you’ve just downed two shots of Johnny Walker Black on top of the four or five other drinks you’ve had. Nothing says “FIX MY LIFE, IYANLA” like getting home at 4am wasted and your children are up at 6am as you prepare to take your son to a soccer class at 9am and pray that some super-strong 3-year-old accidentally kicks you in the head with a ball so you can pretend to be knocked out so you can get some sleep. They don’t, don’t show, and don’t care what time you come home, they just know your ass better be ready to play “roll around” when they’re ready.

I’m a very light sleeper. This means I’m up at all hours of the night with my children (for the most part unless one is sick which is where mommy does all the heavy lifting because mom). I get the late night bottles. I do most of the late night put them back to sleep duties. When my son tries to run into our bedroom for the fourth time, it’s me who picks him up and tries to rock him back to sleep and then place him back in his bed. And it doesn’t bother me. Again, I’m a light sleeper (thanks to my daughter’s baby and toddler days) so I’m going to be awake anyway. And I still function quite well on four hours of sleep. But the problem for me is that I’m still a light sleeper even when drunk. This sucks. Sleeping in is something I’m not very good at doing. My recovery time is ALREADY way worse than it was just two years ago as my tolerance has already diminished because I rarely drink. This means that if I get drunk and get in late, my ENTIRE next day is going to be a lethargic, exhausted fog.

The only plausible solution for me has to been to cut back on drinking, almost altogether. And by drinking, I mean liquor. I’ll drink a cider, like Angry Orchard or Bold Rock, though I’m not sure that constitutes “drinking”. It’s been easier for me than most since I’m pretty much only a social drinker and don’t go out as much as I used to and don’t drink wine or anything else that people typically drink at home to unwind. I just drink my water and juices and call it a day.

Even when I do go out now – I still throw parties – my rule is to drink before midnight (and again, by drink I mean drink a few beers at most) and then drink water for the rest of the time so that I feel almost nothing the next day. And it works. Even on my birthday I managed to take only one shot of Jameson (and another much weaker shot because my friends do, indeed, love me) but felt just awesome the next morning, and I’m a dude who has been literally carried out of the club on his birthday before. (To be fair, on that particular birthday, I was managing the nightclub and the goal was always to get the managers as trashed as possible – I promise I took about 10 shots of Patron ON TOP of the regular drinks people kept putting in my hand.)

The title of this piece has “Asterisk” in it. This is for a very good reason. When I’m out of town and don’t have my kids, I am willing to let myself turn up, even if it happens fairly irregularly. It ain’t like I refuse to drink on a principle. But if my kids are present, it’s just waters and juice boxes and smooth sailing the next morning as far as I’m concerned. And to tell the truth, I don’t even really miss drinking that much. There’s something about remembering everything that makes you feel alive. And frankly, the taste of liquor isn’t as sweet as it used to be.

I don’t know if this counts as maturity or functionality, but whatever the reason, I’ll take it.

Now somebody pass me some O’Douls.

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • “I just rolled with a crew – a crew that is still very much the homies – who pretty much bonded, almost daily, over a libation and all shenanigans were documented with intentionality.”

    So you poured out a little likka everyday? Must’ve racked up quite the bill. ;) I don’t really drink much any more myself, if at all. Except maybe some homemade coquito at my abuelo’s home, or during Navidad, but thassit.

    • panamajackson

      I know a lot of bartenders. A lot. It’s been a long time since I’ve been out heavy in DC and paid a full bar tab.

      • I was never much of a club/bar hopper. Most I’d do is go with a buddy to the “American Business College” and nab a few drinks. None of that overpriced expensive ish or those Smirnoffs that taste like soda pop doe. I liked Brandy.

  • 44isnojoke

    I am the designated driver. I am the one who carries friends out of the club…or use to. I have no interest in finding out why I woke up with my shirt on backwards. I want to kniw where I am and who I’m with at all times. So welcome to the stick in the med club. There are more of us than they think.

    • Hugh Akston

      Same here

      And seeing the crap that people do when they’re drunk you’d think would make people run away…but the idea of waking up and not knowing how I got to x place or y and seeing another bother next to me was scary enough for me to never ever have been drunk in my entire life

    • MrsT

      Me also. I haven’t had a drink in at least 10 years (maybe longer) and I was never a heavy drinker to begin with. I was the girl drinking Amaretto Sours and Zima (yes, I did) at the club in my college years, I just never “acquired the taste.” I still get an occasional shocked stare when I say “I don’t drink, I just don’t like it.” But I think as more folks make the same transition as Panama, it barely gets an eye brow raise.

      • Val

        Lol @ Zima

      • miss t-lee

        Amaretto Sours were like my first drink at the clubs when I turned 21.
        I don’t think I’ve had one since then.

        • theaythmonth

          Amaretto Sours for the best weak drinks ever.

          • miss t-lee

            HA!! Yup. I think I was on them for a full year before branching out.

    • BestGuestEva

      I have actually woke up with my shirt on backwards w/o a bra….but I was in Mexico in my early 20’s

  • Hugh Akston

    January 1st 2015 was the last time I had any alcohol

    I just decided that I didn’t want to any longer…I was never a big drinker in the first place…so my rule was to have a limit of two beers…and about two to three glass of water in between that…

    I never understood folks that go overboard with alcohol or any other drugs

    I always what would they tell their kids if they saw a video of their parents wilding out on YouTube

    • panamajackson

      There is a YouTube video of me somewhere – I can’t remember how to find it – of me drunk out of my gourd on my 28th birthday talking about the fact that Tupac is still alive.

      • You Know I’m Sawcy

        …Please remember how to find it, PJ.

      • Hugh Akston

        If you do find it…post the link ?

  • miss t-lee

    “I don’t know if this counts as maturity or functionality, but whatever the reason, I’ll take it.”

    It’s both.

  • My life changed a little when I had kids and a FREAKING CRAP-TON when they became pre-teens!!!

    • LMNOP

      Really? How did it change with the preteens?

      • THEY ARE WATCHING YOU!!! lol! Obviously you should always, but once they are older you MUST lead by example.

  • Jae Starz

    “They don’t, don’t show, and don’t care what time you come home, they just know your a s s better be ready to play “roll around” when they’re ready.”

    And this is why throwing them back has not been as entertaining as it used to be. It’s bittersweet for me. Sometimes I miss piecing together the night with my friends via “what the hayle happened last night…” texts.

  • cdj

    Sounds like the natural progression of things. I used to drink too (not as much as you did, but I was no stranger to a hangover) but when I had my son, my priorities changed. Also, I always thought God forbid I have to take my kid to the hospital in the early morning hours, I wouldn’t want to show up there drunk/tipsy.

    I’m a little older than you, and I do notice that the guys I know that keep up that pace eventually show it. They look older than their age and bloated. So it’s good that you’re cutting back now.

    • miss t-lee

      Your whole last paragraph is facts.

  • D-Nice

    I’m only a social drinker too, and I’ve cut way back. I stopped getting drunk many years ago (save for maybe once a year), but I still drank relatively often because I tended to go out a lot and go to various events. I still do go out a lot, but simply don’t drink as much (usually), sometimes not at all. If I drink, it’s something like 1 or 2 light beers or nursing a nice tequila all night, rather than 2 or 3 mixed drinks, or 3 or 4 heavier beers (which was sort of my average, non-drunk drinking level).

    Why cut back? I don’t have parental duties like Panama. But, I’ve just sort of partially outgrown it. I certainly don’t like being drunk, but now I don’t even like being too buzzed. Side benefits include saving money and easier weight management. And, when I do drink, I tend to enjoy it more.

  • Giantstepp

    “…if I get drunk and get in late, my ENTIRE next day is going to be a lethargic, exhausted fog.”

    I swear. Doesn’t happen often but if I had one to many, the entire next day is an “exhausted fog” indeed. Usually around 7 pm the next day my senses start to clear and normalcy kicks in. But the recovery time alone now is enough to make you watch it the night before. Now, I can still get up, out and about the next day, but everything is off until enough time passes. As a young buck, I could hang til 3, up at 7, and normal by 9 am. 46 aint 26 folks–The good ole days.

    • Sweet Potato Kai ?

      I had that fog one morning, drove to the store and went inside. On my way out I paused, mouth agape as I try to process what looked like my car, but in a completely different spot from where I left it. I forgot to put the parking brake on and that jawn rolled alllll the way across the lot. Luckily it didn’t hit anyone or anything. SMH.

      • S m h is right

        • Sweet Potato Kai ?

          I feel judged Popz. That was a long time ago (last year). I don’t do that anymore (lies).

          • *judgiest of looks

            • Sweet Potato Kai ?

              Tuh. I wasn’t drinking and driving. Just a tad foggy.

      • Val

        I lost my car in college. I had to get a cab to take me around (too embarrassed to ask a friend) to find it the next day. Turns out it was in my parking lot just in an area that I had never parked before.

        • Sweet Potato Kai ?

          I’m crine! ?

        • Sweet Potato Kai ?

          I went on a date with a guy that lost his car, no dranks. That was the last date.

          • Val

            Whet?! Lol

            • Sweet Potato Kai ?

              SMH, he just forgot. He also forgot that he didn’t have money for this date, so the “date” was spent the looking for the car…… I need a drink ?

              • Quirlygirly

                You are a good one. You helped him look. I dont know if I would have done that.

                • Sweet Potato Kai ?

                  I know. I used that time to walk my dog.

          • Well damn, did he at least show up in one?

        • Sweet Potato Kai ?

          I went on a date with a guy that lost his car, no dranks. That was the last date.

      • Were you in a Wawa parking lot perchance?

        • Sweet Potato Kai ?

          Tuscadero, don’t do this! ’twas NOT Wawa!

          • Quirlygirly

            So it was some other convenience store..noted

            • Sweet Potato Kai ?

              Et tu, Q?
              Who hasn’t forgot to put the parking break on?

              • Quirlygirly

                I always remember to put the parking break on but you were impaired so you can have a break

                • Sweet Potato Kai ?

                  Impaired is a stretch. Foggy.

              • Just

          • Lmfao just checking!

      • LMNOP

        Damn, that could have been bad.

        • Sweet Potato Kai ?

          *sigh* I know. I am thankful for sure.

    • Kas

      Daps from someone who cuts it off after two drinks at an all inclusive.

  • Cersei

    Before I read the article I had so many questions like: what are we gonna do for entertainment at the next ATL meetup? Can we have it in a bar? Can we have it anywhere that serves alcohol? Will you still be an interesting person? Will you still react like a sensitive crybaby if I make another suggestion like you did that night?

    Then I read the article. *Breathes a sigh of relief* Carry on, sir…

    • panamajackson

      First off…I did NOT react like a sensitive crybaby.

      How’s that commute going for you?

      • Cersei

        Mann, so I have a story for you…

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