“Oh no! What have I done? I smashed open my little boy’s piggy bank, and for what? A few measly cents, not even enough to buy one beer. Wait a minute, lemme count and make sure… not even close.”
– Homer Simpson
Many of my friends drink when we go out. Or, if they are having a party in their house, buy alcohol for the shindig. But they don’t drink like me. None of my friends drink like me. Because when I was in the midst of my serious drinking days, I would not leave an empty bottle behind. Sure, I would not drink at work. I did not drink at lunch. I would wait, for after work get-togethers or the quiet of my home, to drink seriously and steadily into the night. If I went out, I was a social monster – drinking everything in sight until there was no more, and obviously intoxicated for most of the evening.
It was… a problem.
Did I solve my problem? Eventually I did come to terms with it, and stopped drinking everything around me for a “social” evening. My drinking tapered down, from a riot to a dull roar, and then… a purring kitten. I managed to get it under control. This was not a casual project- it took months of effort to prepare me for the concept of becoming a moderate drinker, and then years of rehearsal to develop new healthy habits with alcohol.
But I am only a moderate drinker on the OUTSIDE. On the inside, I am still the ravening alcohol fiend that I always have been. I just love booze; I love the effect, the rush, the buzz – the power that it brings to the most prosaic evening. Simply put, I have learned to tame the beast. I step it down, way down, and to all appearances I am like the rest of my friends. I have a drink, maybe two, and then I… Stop. I drink something else. I am not a social drunk anymore. I am… Presentable.
In order to maintain the right to lift a glass, I have had to make accommodations with myself that were not “natural.” These were guidelines that I was unable to articulate for myself; it was only with the careful and loving supervision of some very caring people at a local Moderation Management meeting that I was able to realize that drinking moderately was in my future – Either that, or no longer drinking at all. Of course, at the time I did not see it that way. But I recognized that I had a significant problem, and that I was not going to get a better chance to resolve it than NOW. And I took that opportunity and made it work for me.
I order to continue drinking I had to recognize that there were obligations to myself and the people around me that I had to honor going forward. These were difficult to accept, and even more difficult to put into practice – but the alternative was so much worse. Making decisions that were appropriate for everyone who ever encountered alcohol did not come easy, but I have made a commitment to live by them. And in return, on occasion, I have some alcohol. Not too much, but just enough… And then I stop. And the rest of the evening comes and goes and I remain.
In order to continue enjoying alcohol, I had to make responsible choices that altered my normal inclination. Alcohol is not a casual fun substance to me; it is a challenge and a potentially hazardous drug. Every event where I will experience alcohol must come with a plan. And this planning is not amorphous and fluid- I make a plan to account for every hour, every encounter, and every drink, both alcoholic and NA. I am very careful to use this plan to have a pleasant evening and no problems afterwards. And a failure to plan is… A plan to fail. I am no longer interested in failing. Being careful around booze is very important to me, and only by respecting and staying mindful of the power that it holds can I ever appreciate its flavors again.
This may seem like giving up, giving in, selling out – Yet it is the opposite. It is freedom, a simple escape from the repetitive effects of too much alcohol on myself and the people around me. By being careful with my drink, I preserve both the privilege and the respect of others. The alternative is unacceptable. Yes, I am a drinker. I drink – but I accept that this choice comes with some conditions, which I willingly accept. This is not a condition imposed upon me from the outside but a selection which I myself have made. To decide to be a reasonable person in a world awash with alcohol has offered me the only release from my fate – A destiny otherwise bound tightly to the dry glass at the bottom of an empty bottle.
Post Submitted By: Kurt S., Dryuary Administrator