No, I am not writing about how, at 21, I would drink two $3.50 Heinekens for dinner because I was fed up with tunafish and hormel chili.
I’m writing about relationships. More specifically, the relationships we have with intoxicants.
I don’t have the healthiest relationship with alcohol, but it’s better than my relationship with my family. And I love my family.
-Me. Just now.
I work in the bar industry. I love bars. I love hanging out at bars, I love the things that happen there, I love that these spaces exist, that I can make a living while having fun being a huge know-it-all and giving people things that make them happy. Alcohol intoxicates pleasantly, until it becomes unpleasant. Whether the next day or later that evening, overindulgence has consequences.
I also love food. I love trying new foods, I love pairing unlikely flavors together and seeing what happens. Food satiates, comforts and titillates. I find it as intoxicating as it is nourishing. Until it’s too much. Gluttony, food coma, excess. Not fun.
I’m working on Moderation. I have addictive tendencies, but they are just that: tendencies. They do not define. Like many marginally addictive people, I can have 2 drinks and walk away, but once that third comes in, we are on dangerous ground. Throw in a fourth and I am headed over the falls. Lower those inhibitions enough and I’m willing to burn the house down for no reason, metaphorically speaking.* But a glass of wine and a nightcap? No problem. I’ll wake up the next day refreshed with little to no FOMO.
My doctor seems skeptical. She has strong allegiance to total abstinence.
Which is not an option for me, since I drink for a living.
If we can eat sensibly, why can’t we drink sensibly, without going whole-hog recovery?
Of course many people are addicts whose threshold for going over the drunk falls is one drink. That is who the recovery community is for. But I can’t say I feel at home there.
How about this: Beer with a snack. Wine with a meal. Liquor as dessert. You have a glass of rum and feel good, like you have one piece of cake. It’s tempting to eat the whole cake, yes, but I refrain. Same thing with the drink.
This works for me because I don’t get along with orthodoxy. I can avoid meat, but hate having to declare dietary allegiance to vegetarianism. I can feel that surge of gratitude looking at the beauty in nature but don’t want to put a creator’s name to it. The cold turkey-only method of defining oneself has never worked. I prefer the grays.
Or the browns, as it were.
*The “house” in this particular metaphor is my body, not a an actual house. Stop worrying.