We moved onto a bottle of chardonnay once lunch was almost finished, then we paid and went up the street to a pub we often go to. There, we had some more beers and another bottle of wine but after a while I was starting to decline drinks even though my friend kept on drinking at his normal rate.
I felt bad about this reticence to keep on going but I didn't want to enter the helpless zone when you are so sozzled that you can barely navigate your way out the door. It had happened before with this friend. Indeed, it had happened with other friends as well. I also had to take care of my stomach. I have a tendency to get a bit acid in the guts after about five or six drinks, so that seems to be about my limit. Even though my friend was clearly a bit put off that I had stopped drinking - while he kept on getting merrier and merrier - I kept on declining. But I didn't scarper. Not that I didn't think about it from time to time.
Eventually my friend met someone he knew who had just started on his first beer, and brought him over to our table. We made the introductions but it wasn't long before my instinct for self-preservation - I could feel the likelihood of getting back into the beers ramp up once this other person joined us - kicked in and I made my excuses, and left the pub. I dashed into the traffic and got in a cab, which took me back home. As soon as I got into the apartment I went to bed, and fell asleep. I woke up just before the nightly news was about to start.
When I then got into the living area I thought about having some more wine. Normally I will stop when the acid sensation comes on, and switch to water. This night I just went for water straight off. I estimated that I had had enough to drink already, and so I settled down for an evening of TV and social media.