Monday, July 6, 2015

First test, sort of.

So we went away for Fourth of July weekend. one noticed. Or if they did, no one said anything as I drank wineglasses full of soda, iced tea or seltzer. The only time alcohol was mentioned (in regard to me, anyway) was when my mother in law said, "there's wine in the fridge, help yourself!" and that was it.

And I didn't say anything. I was a bit worried about having to have "the talk" and tell people I'm not drinking and why...I don't have that answer by the way. And many times over the weekend I came close to mentioning why I was drinking soda or iced tea, but just didn't. I felt like that was going to make it bigger than it was. No one really cared. Not in an uncaring way, but in a way that led me to believe they didn't care if I was drinking alcohol or not.

I'm not sure what's a good thing to tell people. I come from a family that is fairly stoic. We do not stand for complaining or whining about one's problems, and we inwardly (and sometimes, outwardly) judge people who do do that. I mean, my sister has survived two(!) different types of cancer and my father had circulation issues which led to multiple amputations of his toes/foot/leg. I mean, come on...can I really tell them, "oh, yes, I am an alcoholic", that sounds a bit too self-serving and dramatic to me.

For responses which do not sound too weak or overly dramatic, I have so far:
Alcohol didn't agree with me.
I feel better without alcohol.
I was worried about my innards (we have sugar issues in the family, I don't want to drink myself into diabetes.)
Stopping has helped remove that constant pain in my chest and reduced anxiety.

These are all true, they aren't too pathetic sounding, and they're also non-judgemental. I don't want to make my family feel like I have quit alcohol because of how bad it was, how I drank too much (when I'm fairly sure other family members drink more), anything that implies I believe I've done something good or am somehow better than my family because of this thing I'm doing.

That reminds me of a part of Pete Hamill's book, "A Drinking Life", which really spoke to me:
"And there was some residue in me of the old codes of the Neighborhood, some deep adherence to the rules about never, ever rising above your station. Getting drunk was a way of saying I would never act uppity, never forget where I came from. No drunk, after all, could look down on others. Being drunk was a great leveler, a kind of Christian act of communion. Who could ever point the finger of harsh judgement at a drunk if we all were drunk?"

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