“My mother was a drunk” is one of the harshest, saddest sentences in any language. -Anna Quindlen, “Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake”
I spent the larger part of yesterday reading Ann Dowsett Johnston’s new book “Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol.” Johnston is a recovering alcoholic and intertwines her own story with research on today’s women and their scary drinking habits.
She had a pretty spectacular alcoholic for a mother and then, despite her best intentions, followed suit.
My mother is not an alcoholic. My mother is wonderful and supportive and loving and warm. And when I told her last week that I had quit drinking because I was hungover five out of seven days (and that was being generous) and could not take it any longer, my mother said nothing. I have done such a good job of hiding my drinking secret that my mother, always quick with words of encouragement, just stared at me as if I had just told her that the Earth has three moons.
Her silence freaked me out. And so I quoted Anna Quindlen and, getting teary now, quickly explained that I was determined to not be a drunk mother.
And yet …
I’ve spent the majority of my evening planning out ways to drink. Not drink today, but tomorrow, which is New Years Eve. It is also my 16th wedding anniversary.
My husband, who knows I am trying not to drink and whose comment on my drinking habit was a major reason I chose to quit 16 days ago, WANTS me to drink. He thinks I can have “one or two drinks” to celebrate.
I wish that I could have “one or two drinks” to celebrate. But I am pretty sure I spent the last 10 years proving to myself that I am not a “one or two drinks” kind of girl.
While plotting to drink, I am reading the sober blogs. And Mrs D keeps talking about how she is so so so happy being sober and so so so doesn’t want to drink. (To be fair, these are her later posts. She is much further along in her sobriety. Like, years further along.)
But I DO want to drink. And I am NOT happy being sober. In fact, I am very crabby about it. And all this sober clarity is making me HATE all my people.
I guess the question becomes who will I hate more: Me if I drink or all my people if I don’t?