I am a firm believer that it’s not about what you drink or how much but about how often you THINK about drinking that could unveil signs of alcoholism or problem drinking. Even before I was drinking every night I was thinking obsessively about how and when I’d be able to drink again. I had my “rules” which meant I couldn’t drink at home or at family functions but that didn’t stop me from getting my drink on. Let’s just say that the hubs and I ate out A LOT before the kids were born. All at fine restaurants that served really good wine.
I’m reminded of this because I’ve been thinking about two people from a former life that I’ve heard from/about in the last couple of weeks. Neither of these individuals had been to rehab. One went to AA on a regular basis, the other did not. One was a beer drinker, one a wine drinker. Neither had any DUI’s, jail time or lost jobs. Neither had lost family or been on the street. Both called themselves alcoholics.
In other words, they were just like me.
Both are moderately drinking now.
Both say they are able to moderate with success by keeping a close eye on how much and how often they drink. They have friends and family who keep an eye on how much they are drinking and alert them if they’re going over their limit of frequency or amount. They stay hyper vigilant and are always aware.
In no universe is this how I want to live.
I will fully admit to missing my Chardonnay. I will also admit to occasionally throwing the random hissy fit, pity party and pouting marathon because I can’t have a class of that cool yellow nectar. But there are no days on the planet that I would trade my sweet and beautiful peace of mind for all the wine in California and France put together.
The quiet that goes on in my head is worth everything to me. Not to have my every waking moment tangled all up in when, how much, and with whom I will drink is a fucking miracle. To not have to worry about the money I’m spending or will spend or what it’s doing to my body or my kids is a blessing. To not have to panic when it snows or over a three-day weekend is liberating. It’s a gift I’ve given myself and it’s worth everything.
Then if that’s not enough, to have lifted that burden from my family is the satin bow that completes the wrapping of this gift. To relieve them of having to police me, worry about me, keep an eye on me and the wine bottles, make sure I’m moderating or making it to bed when I slip is a beautiful thing.
That’s the gift I’ve given to them. Anything less robs them of their own piece of mind and I couldn’t live with myself if I did that to them again. Alcoholism isn’t a singular disease (condition…whatever) that only impacts the alcoholic (no matter how much we tell ourselves that it is); it’s a cancer that spreads and infects everyone around the alcoholic in some way. To somehow make my family responsible for MY alcoholism by asking them to help me moderate is, in my opinion, a goddamn sin.
One I am not willing to commit.
Everyone walks their own path. Everyone’s journey through this darkness is different. I can’t speak for anyone else but myself and I won’t speak for anyone else. I did not share any of this with them nor will I but because, quite frankly, what they do is none of my damn business.
But since this is my blog, I get to share it here and that…is therapy.