Intimations of mortality

Caroline Knapp on drinking
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The parallels between anorexia and alcoholism astonish me today ... As happens with most addictions, life took on a blank sameness, each day ritualised and invariable, barely distinguishable from the day before. In the morning I'd get to work before anyone else and eat a plain sesame bagel (150 calories) at my desk, tearing the bagel into tiny bits and eating each bit in a specific order: one bite while I read the front page; one bite while I read the editorials; one bite for Ann Landers. At lunch I'd have a Danone coffee-flavoured yogurt (200 calories), often eating it, spoonful by slow spoonful, while reading restaurant reviews from a stack of alternative weeklies that came in the mail each week. And at night I'd shut myself in my bedroom and eat my most elaborately planned and executed meal, an apple and a cube of cheese (300 calories total), each sliced with surgical precision into 32 identical slivers. I'd line the slivers of apple around the rim of a china saucer, then place one sliver of cheese on top of each piece of apple, and then I'd settle down in front of the TV and eat them in tiny, methodical bites, so slowly that the ritual would take me two hours to complete.

Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp will be published in November by Quartet.

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