Yesterday was no joke. By 4 o’clock, the scene I described (warm cheesy dishes, soft lighting, red wine and growlers full of beer) was developing three doors down. I had received a handful to texts from various neighbors asking when I was coming.
I then made a fully-informed decision to drink. Here’s the narrative I created to support that decision:
I was going to be in an entirely safe place, with people who love me, people who all drink in moderate amounts, and people who do not think I have a drinking problem. (A testament to just how good I am at hiding hangovers and empty bottles.) My children were going to be in the next room, watching movies with their friends. No one was driving. My dishes were done. The dog was walked and fed.
In other words, all of my To Do boxes were checked. My drinking cocoon was complete and fully operational. All I had to do was climb in, pull up a frothy pint and pour it down my throat.
All of this certainty, however, was creating a higher and higher sense of anxiety. If it was such a great, no-brainer decision, why did I want to crawl out of my skin? Why did I keep hearing that tiny voice saying, “Things are so good. Don’t fuck it up. Don’t. Fuck. It. Up.”
I walked over to my neighbor’s house with a pint of O’Douls (a NA beer) and mixed emotions. By the time I’d emptied the pint and poured another one, the party was really warming up and I realized I was having a LEGITIMATE GOOD TIME. Really. Not faking it, not trying to talk myself into it. I was still funny and snarky and lively. But not too loud or too opinionated or sloppy.
In other words, I was completely enjoying my “drinking cocoon” without the “drinking” part. And this morning, I can remember the entire evening with perfect clarity and without shame or guilt or paranoia.
What a fanfuckingtastic thing to find on Day 46: a fun, dry cocoon. And a little bit more love and respect for ME. Maybe I have more to offer than an uncanny ability to hide hangovers and empty bottles.