It’s becoming apparent to those around me that I am not drinking wine.
The first time I chose a non-alcoholic beverage it went unnoticed – and the people who I most often share a glass of wine with, well they may have been a little surprised, but didn’t comment. By the third time I didn’t choose wine — that’s when they began wearing their ‘WTF?’ face.
From Day 1 I’ve been struggling with what I’ll tell people. Who am I going to tell about my choice of sobriety? How am I going to tell them?
The marketer in me thinks about how I am going to position this when I tell someone. The publicist in me is all over the managing of expectations — and how I frame my not drinking. If I’m honest with myself, I am aware that it is to put myself in the best light.
I wrote to my father before visiting recently to tell him that he didn’t need to stock up on my favorite Rosé. I said I realized it was just empty calories. I just didn’t want to get into it with him from the addiction angle. It does run in our family history. Perhaps at a later date I’ll address this side of it with him.
One friend knows exactly what I went through to reach this point where I said enough … and was there for me when I chose sobriety.
I told another friend that I wanted to get healthier in both my diet and lifestyle. And that’s true. It’s just not the whole story.
I told one sibling that I was going to give this sobriety malarky a year and see how it felt. That’s true too. I confessed to another sibling that I felt I was beginning to self-medicate, and needed to stop. And that is true as well. Probably the truest.
Am I being dishonest in not just laying it out there in the same way – the same story- every time? That I simply can no longer manage just one drink? That I am a problem drinker? Do I need to do that? I don’t really believe so. And I don’t want to do it.
Yes, I am on a journey of not drinking. And there really are a number of reasons I stopped. But there is a part of me that feels it’s no one’s business except mine. I am lucky in that the main person I need to make amends to is me.
At the same time I now notice all the people who proudly don’t drink. Loud and proud. Many of my colleagues and peers from my past career are now a long time clean and sober. Some are celebrating 25 years. A good number I knew had problems back then – but others surprise me. I realize I am not alone in this journey. I may have taken longer to reach the point I am at now – but I have jumped on the Sober Train and are riding with them. They seem pretty darn cheerful and glowing with their sobriety – and that gives me hope that I’ll have the same experience.
It is always painful to watch someone choose to let their life drain away right there in the public eye. Amy Winehouse had a big hit with “Rehab”. It’s a defiant addict’s declaration, wrapped in an irresistible beat. She sang No, No, No to rehab. Incredibly sad when you listen beyond the beat. Tragically this talented artist could not resist the seductive siren of substance abuse. It didn’t help at all that those around her had their own agenda (“And my Daddy thinks I’m fine”) to keep her dulled and addicted – and ultimately dead. The documentary “Amy” was desperate to watch.
I am so incredibly thankful that I didn’t end up hitting bottom – or needing to go to rehab.