The 13th of June was my 300th day without booze. This is probably the longest I’ve gone without ingesting any kind of mood-altering substance since I started smoking pot at 13. I progressed from pot to cigarettes at 15, dabbled with speed, and then finally, focused my interest on booze. Back then the legal drinking age was 18 and I only drank on weekends, usually a couple of beers on a Saturday night. Fast forward many years and many, many drinks later…..
This has become my new normal. I no longer feel uncomfortable in my own skin when we’re at a restaurant, where it seems like EVERYONE but me is drinking. Enjoying elegant cocktails or glasses of chilled white wine or frosted glasses of beer. And there I sit with my big dumb Coke glass and white straw, filled with club soda, cranberry, and a wedge of lime. I do occasionally get what I call “the grumblefucks” when I wallow, momentarily, in the “why me’s” and “it’s no fair that I can’t drink – everyone else is” kind of thoughts.
But they don’t last. Honestly, though – I would very much like to get to the point of being able to say that I don’t ever miss it. I do wish I could drink like normal people. But I know I can’t – not EVER.
And another thing: this weekend, we’ll have a house guest. Our adorable, active 1-year-old granddaughter who’s not all that fond of sleeping through the night. I’m steeling myself for the high likelihood of four nights of interrupted sleep. And can I tell you a secret? If I were still drinking, there’s absolutely NO fucking way I would have volunteered to take her. Can you imagine what a crimp she’d put in my ability to drink the way I was accustomed to, especially on the weekend? No cocktail hour in the afternoon? No wine with dinner and during the evening, as we watched TV? No big fat martini before bedtime? No, thanks.
It would have been easy enough to make excuses: Dad has to get up so early every morning, he needs his sleep…. I can’t get the time off work….. I’m really freaked out about being responsible for her, with her parents so far away…..
Instead, I’m proud to step up and take the baby so my daughter and son-in-law can get away for a few days. It’ll be so good for them, as a young married couple who never had a honeymoon. Not looking forward to potentially sleep-interrupted nights, but – I’ll be clear-headed and sober and capable of handling whatever their precious, pint-sized tyrant throws our way.