So, im not sure why, but people tell me things, like their deepest darkest secrets. I walked into my favorite coffee shop this morning and the cashier whom ive known for literally years now just told me that she likes to drink when she’s bored and it is always to excess and i told her that im trying sobriety out and that she is welcome to talk to me and or go with me to meetings any time. Why was the conversation superficial until this particular morning? What was different about the interactions dn why id she feel comfortable enough to tell me in great detail how much she drinks and why and she’s more fun to her kids when she’s drinking and how people give you shit when you try to stop and how once she has one she drinks til it is all gone. We’ve never gotten much past the obligatory “hey, how are ya?” and now i feel really connected on a human level to this person.
I havent told many folks im not drinking. Ive just told a couple of folks. some folks i just tell that im drinking less. When i told one friend, I thought maybe i shouldnt have because it turned inward and she seemed a little defensive. When i said, “im not drinking right now. I gained a lot of clarity from my trip. My therapist recommends not drinking during therapy, so im not going to drink this glass of wine but thanks,” she was like, “I’m not an alcoholic,” about three different times during the conversation. “Im not saying you are and im not sure that i am either but I have nothing to lose by chilling out for a minute,” is what i said. I dont want this reaction from folks–to think im pointing a finger at them. I just want to maintain clarity and achieve my gigantic goals which i can only achieve by maintaining clarity. I did tell my mother an she is supportive. I know she wishes she could get my dad in there but that 75-year-old is hell bent on being miserable. The one time my mother got him to a family therapy session he told her afterwards, “if you ever make me do that again, i will leave you.” Twenty-four years later, he is still in that mindset even though he has witnessed the benefits of therapy in me and in my sister. You can lead a horse to water, ya know? In this case, he doesnt even want to know where the water is, just where the extra cold coors light is. He never drinks prior to 4pm which maybe is why he thinks he has control over his problem, but once he starts, he is a different person. I can see a physical difference at even half a beer.
Anyway, last night i went to a kickoff party for a non profit in my town and they were serving up free wine. I chose water. And had conversations with folks all night about preferred gender pronouns and jesus. A friend showed up late and then wanted to go out afterwards. I decided that would be a good thing, to go out for a second and try out not drinking in a bar. By the time i bicycled there, she had already ordered a bottle of wine. She was offering me a glass before i could sit down and i declined getting in my server’s ear to request an odoul’s in a pint glass. I just started working at this particular bar (in addition to my full-time gig) and love all my new coworkers. This girl didnt even flinch with judgment or question it but got me a coupe of beers in an inconspicuous pint glass and the only person who asked me what beer i was drinking was the town deaf guy. And i was like in my best ASL, “oh, Justine of the bottled ones, not a draft, im not so sure of the name.” And he left it alone. AND double bonus, i got the beers for FREE because we get 8 beers a month as part of the benefits. Winner winner non alcoholic beer dinner.