A friend inspired me to write this post. This person is a fairly recent non-drinker who wrote about the positive changes in his life since he quit.
We attended another BBQ on the weekend. A family gathering. Everyone knows our quirks and preferences and somehow they still let us attend! But if you were to see my beer bottle on the table, I hope you’d think nothing of it. That’s my plan. My O’Doul’s or Becks 0% beer helps me fit in, keeps questions at bay and gives me the familiar, appealing taste of the real thing. But it’s been more than twenty years since I had an alcoholic drink. I fit the definition of an alcoholic but I don’t go to meetings, although AA and Al-Anon have helped a lot of my friends. All I know is that when I drank, I drank to excess. I have what’s called an addictive personality. When I smoked, I smoked heavily. I never related to those people who had to have breakfast and a coffee before a cigarette. When I drank, I did the same. Heck, when I eat licorice nibs I’ve been known to treat the family-sized bag as if it’s a single serving.
Why Booze Isn’t My Friend
I could probably go for a couple of months just having a glass of wine with dinner and a beer or two at a time. But then it would happen. I’d drink until my speech was heavily slurred and I embarrassed myself, or passed out. And then that level of drinking would become my new normal.
It’s entirely predictable. I come by it honestly through family history but I don’t blame anyone but myself. It was my job alone to stop it. I’ve never been a fan of bars or parties, and booze gave me the liquid courage I needed to be social and comfortable. Now parties are even worse! Once everyone gets a little lubricated and finds themselves and everyone else exceedingly funny, it’s time for us to go.
Still, I’m not a judgmental ex-drinker. I have nothing against booze in moderation. I wish I could drink that way. Not all non-drinkers are booze-haters. Like me, they’ve simply come to accept an unpleasant truth about themselves. There’s no shame in admitting it. I can’t help it. All I can help is my response to it.
My Last Drink
The last time I drank alcohol was one tall, canned Red Stripe beer in Jamaica. It hit me like a brick and I danced around the resort room like a lunatic, ending with a head-first swan dive onto the bed. A foul odor made me spring back up. I pulled the pillowcase off the pillow and found it was coated in black mold. So, I associate alcohol with filth and that works for me. (That disgusting pillow is just part of the story of that awful trip!)
Still, I occasionally crave a beer and love to order a near beer. Derek says, “that’s like paying a hooker for a kiss”! But once I’ve had the taste, the craving goes away, so I’ll kiss that hooker once in a while, thank you.
And one final request. Please look carefully at the label of the beer you pull out of the communal party cooler. You can drink mine, but I can’t drink yours! It’s spirit-crushing to dig through the ice water and find someone’s taken the last 0% beer, leaving only the real stuff behind.