Saturday, September 04, 2010

Through the looking glass, without a glass

I don’t know if it’s real or not, this change that’s happened. I sit here sipping a non-alcoholic beer, not having had any regular beer or wine in eight days. In fact, I haven’t wanted any that badly. I wonder if I’m just kidding myself, or if this “sobriety” thing will stick. I’m preferring myself and my life this way. I like being in a state each evening where I can fully perceive what I’m feeling and how I’m interacting with others (and with material objects). I’m enjoying or at least tolerating my own thoughts. I’m getting more done after the regular work day is over. It’s as if I have finally realized that the person I am with a buzz on is a less sensitive, less feeling, less intelligent person. So I would like to choose the me without the buzz.
But does this mean I have to use words like “alcoholism,” and go to AA meetings? I’ve been to AA meetings in the past; I discovered that “the program” helped me lose weight, mostly because it gave me something to do and people to hang out with—people with whom I didn’t have to feign perfection or even competence. This kept me from eating between meals, somehow and, coincidentally, from drinking alcoholic beverages for about three months. I never admitted that I was “powerless,” or that I even had a “higher power.” That was 30 years ago. I’ve been drunk quite a few times since then, of course, and in recent years had settled into drinking a little every night. By a little, I mean one or two beers; two or three glasses of wine. Sometimes more. Sometimes less. But it was steady, except for the time my doctor asked me to cut back because something showed up in a test. So I stopped for a month, and it seemed easy. This time I’m stopping for no reason.
OK, there was a reason. I watched a TV show, and later, talking about the show with my husband, I realized I hadn’t understood, or perhaps hadn’t remembered the plot. This bothered me so a lot, because as a teacher of short stories, I need to keep plots in mind. Maybe it also bothered me that my husband calmly said, “I think you were buzzed, and that’s why you didn’t get it.” I don’t want to be thought of as someone who can’t “get” a TV show because she’s had too much to drink! So, I will become that other person, the smarter, more perceptive, more agile one who can remember everything. That’s the person I want to be. Can that person have a drink now and then? I don’t know yet.


Angela said...

Marilyn, I can relate to this so much. Lately I realize that it's okay to enjoy wine, but may be a problem if I'm actually thinking about it or craving it when I'm not drinking it. I love the feeling of a weight being dropped off my back after a glass of wine, but perhaps I can learn to have that feeling in other ways. This is also timely because I have to go off alcohol today in prep for surgery next week (shoulder).

Good luck to you, and thanks for your insights and perceptions. I feel the same about liking my non-buzzed self better, and thinking she's a better, kinder person.

Felicia said...

Oh, boy. Here we go again! Isn't this all a kind of self-hate? Why do you feel that the person who has ingested a glass or two of wine is not the same damned person as before? It's all you, woman. And it's okay. It's just a couple of glasses of wine. They do indeed take that weight off your back, so why shouldn't you look forward to the moment you can have one? It's one of life's pleasures, and guess what? Pleasure is okay. You're allowed to have pleasure without pathologizing it. Get over yourselves and stop making so much of a simple glass of wine. Only in America, you bunch of schizos!