Don’t worry, I didn’t drink. I have just always enjoyed that quote from Oscar Wilde. It’s funny how we all have different things that we’re drawn to — and that can become unhealthy. For some people, it’s alcohol or drugs. For others, it’s food. Or sex. Or gambling. Or exercise.
For me, it’s not an “accomplishment” to avoid overexercising. Just the idea of congratulating myself for that makes me crack up (“Good job, self, for vegging on the couch tonight!”). But I know for folks with eating disorders, this is no joke. And personally, I don’t see the appeal of gambling at all. Everyone knows the odds favor the house! How do you think they pay for those big casinos?
But denial is a wonderful thing. Looking back, the warning signs were screamingly obvious: drinking in the morning, hangovers most days, thinking of that bottle of wine or brandy in the cupboard as “my little friend” (yes, I really thought that). Blacking out. Just like “everyone knows” that the odds favor the house, everyone also knows if you do all these things you have a problem with alcohol! But I refused to see it. Because these things were only sometimes, not all the time, I could point to the “sometimes” when I was fine, and delude myself into thinking that was my “real” drinking behavior.
This past weekend I was at my daughter’s indoor soccer game. At this facility, which is also for adult soccer leagues, they serve beer and wine at the snack bar. One of the other moms was drinking a beer as we chatted. She made a joking reference to it, something like “the best thing about indoor soccer …” and the rest of us laughed. I thought I detected an undertone of defensiveness in her joke. This is something I have become hyperaware of lately, the way people talk about alcohol, the invitation to share the joke about “yay, alcohol!” or “boy, I sure need a drink.” Later this woman gave me a hug, and the beer smell washed over me. I’m not saying this woman was drunk or had a problem — in fact I like her very much — but it made me glad I don’t have to worry anymore about hugging people and subjecting them to my alcohol smell.
Lest I get too cocky congratulating myself, I have to admit that the next day (Sunday) I feeling particularly rushed and stressed, and I had to run out to the grocery store for the second time that day when I forgot an ingredient for dinner. At my local grocery store they sometimes host wine tastings on the weekends at happy hour. So guess what I saw as soon as I walked in the door? I can’t believe how instantly I felt it would be an extremely excellent idea to have a little wine.
I bought ice cream instead.
I counted the days today and I am on day 290 sober!