As I plan years of sobriety, I’m going to look back at the biggest example of excess in my life I can think of. I’ve heard ex alcoholics or junkies really like to share what they went through. Maybe that is therapeutic to say you did that but are over it now. For me, I think a trip to Atlantic City took the cake for being one of the more ridiculous things I’ve done.
I think the year was 2006 during the winter time. My roommate and I formulated an idea to go to Atlantic City to gamble and drink some. Most people plan out a trip like this, save up money, book a hotel and so forth. I think my roommate came up with the idea on a Friday. And that Friday after work at around 9 at night we boarded a bus from Penn Station to Atlantic City. The bus company ran on the hour, so we could simply come back when we were done. No need for a hotel room because you could just sleep on the bus ride back. The bus ride how ever was well over two hours. We talked to this guy on the bus that was kind of a scum bag. At one point the driver announced over the intercom ‘Do not talk about alcohol or drugs, conversations are being recorded, and people can be inspected.’ As far as we could tell we were the only ones on the bus talking, everyone else slept. This guy we talked to said how he leaves his kids at home with the wife to spend days in Atlantic City to try to win big. He also told us he knew of a good brothel, and then thought it funny that we didn’t want to go there. When the bus got to Atlantic City we were sure to get off at a different casino than that guy.
Atlantic City is not exactly hopping during the winter. There were plenty of slot machines, and space available. Back then I was a pack a day smoker anyway, but I probably smoked three packs that night. I played a slot, was given free beer, and lost about a hundred dollars in less than a half an hour. The slots seemed ridiculous, and we found a formula if a machine wins a little go cash out, and then take it to another machine. So I’d be on a machine, then jump up like a maniac, go to the teller, cash it out, and then go to another machine. In very little time I lost more than I wanted to lose, so I found my roommate and told him we should go to a bar. He actually won some on the slots, and we sat down at a casino bar. There was hardly anyone there and I suggested we go somewhere else.
We went to the boardwalk that was nearly empty too. But an old woman sold us cigarettes for half price, and that felt like a deal to us. On the bus down to Atlantic City, people said not to venture away from the casino areas, that Atlantic City is a tough place. But we were a little bored with the casino. So we walked a few blocks. The first strip club was too pricey. I think they were asking for a 50 dollar cover charge. Down the street there was another one that asked for a 5 dollar cover charge. This place was so shifty. It wasn’t really even like a strip club, but a hang out were women happened to dance. We had a few drinks in there, and then continued the night elsewhere.
At one point in a regular bar we were playing pool with casino workers. It was fun and cool but I looked at my watch at some point. The time on my watch said about 7 in the morning, and we continued to play pool. After that place we went to a restaurant in the casino and had breakfast. I remember paying 20 dollars for a lox, cream cheese, and a bagel. That’s a ridiculous price for breakfast to almost end the ridiculous trip to Atlantic City. After that breakfast I wanted to walk on the beach. So in the early morning sunlight we walked on the beach in a type of delirium. It was not too cold, but the beach there is filthy. We took the 10 am bus back to New York City.
When I got back to our apartment I set my alarm for 6 o’clock that night. When the alarm went off I asked why I had to get up so early in the morning. Then I remembered, showered, got dressed, and set off for a party I planned to go to that evening.
Two weeks ago I booked a trip to Vegas. Since the time of that booking I quit drinking yet again. I think this is a very good thing because Vegas could be ten times worse than Atlantic City if you let go completely.