I had a near miss. A very, very near miss.
This was two days ago. Looking back, I can see that over the holidays, my frustration and resentment at not being able to drink was building up. I both was and wasn’t aware of this at the time — or maybe aware of it, but not wanting to admit it. Holidays are always busy, and we had guests,
two three holidays to celebrate (Christmas, Hannukah, and a family birthday). Work is busy for me around Christmas.
And I was mad I couldn’t drink. But I did it, I made it through. The holidays were celebrated, the guests departed, and life went on. But, my resentment lingered. If during the holidays I wanted a drink to cope with the stress, afterwards I wanted one to wind down from the stress.
I was chatting with my sister-in-law, and she mentioned in passing that her husband (my brother) “needs lots of downtime.” I said I thought a lot of people in my family are like that, including me, and (laughing) I never get it. Ha ha.
This little exchange stuck with me, as a partial explanation for why I drank. My husband and I occasionally joke that after a long day of working and parenting we “need a sensory deprivation chamber.” Well, alcohol was my sensory deprivation chamber.
Somehow, my mind twisted this into a reason that I should drink again. See, you’re not an alcoholic or anything, you just need alcohol to get through these stressful years!
My co worker (who doesn’t know I quit drinking) had given me a bottle of brandy as a Christmas present. I didn’t know what to do with it but I thought I better not bring it home. I stuck it in a drawer at work. I forgot about it.
Monday I was the last one left at the office and suddenly a voice in my head said, you can have a drink from that bottle. You deserve it, and no one will know. I took out the bottle. I took hold of the little tab to peel off the foil.
Only one thing saved me. I had to leave in ten minutes to catch the bus. I told myself, if I’m going to drink this, I don’t want it to be in a styrofoam cup with only ten minutes to drink it. I want to have a real glass and I want to savor it.
That night I was making dinner and, I thought, not acting any differently. But my husband suddenly asked, “Are you all right?” I admitted I wasn’t. Later we talked. I didn’t talk about drinking but admitted I was still stressed from the holidays and having a hard time switching gears. He said, “I think you’re very brave. It must have been hard not to drink, not to have that outlet.”
We haven’t talked about drinking, or not drinking, for months. How did he know just the right words to tell me?
I need to get rid of that bottle of brandy. I don’t want to take it home, or keep it until I see someone who might want it. I don’t want to open it even to pour it down the sink. I guess I’ll just have to throw it in a garbage can.
Where it belongs. Gah.