Category Archives: alcoholism

Expressing Not Imbibing

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Realizing I can simply relax and have fun
without needing to impress anyone,
I observe many faces at a party.
Loud music, drinks sloshing here and there;
am I the only one not drinking?
There is a blank book
and an invitation to write
birthday well-wishes,
Aha! Writing! My drug of choice.
Is my sense of relief
at having something to do
some form of avoidance behavior?
I cover a few pages with drawings
and words, glad to be expressing
rather than imbibing.

A Different Source

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As my inner turmoil has intensified
I have found myself remembering
a glass of wine
or a mojito
or a margarita…
It has been years since I’ve had a drink.
I chose to stop
because I wanted to go deeper
and to be clearer…
but I remember
the soothing wave of inebriation,
the giddiness,
and I ask myself if I’m being too extreme,
too ascetic, too prudish, too goody-goody.
I know many people who would say
I should have a drink
when I’m feeling this way.
It’s just a glass of wine,
it’s good for you
they would say.
Just have a drink,
it won’t kill you,
it will help you relax.
But I’ve chosen clarity,
and this means to stand and face
whatever arises with my whole self,
my real self.
How can I see what needs to be seen
if I have filled my head with clouds?
It was a personal choice,
a commitment I made,
and I feel honor bound to uphold it.
A quieter voice says,
Don’t look back.
This is your chance.
Summon your courage,
breathe.
You are where you need to be,
and these feelings are real.
They have something to tell you;
listen.
Trust.
Being able to hear this voice
is a taste sweeter than the finest wine,
more refreshing than
than the most perfectly mixed mojito.
Sure, these drinks might taste good for a moment,
but the inner longing would remain;
and after their sweetness receded from my tongue,
I would be still more parched,
the way drinking from the ocean makes you even more
desperate to find pure, clear, sweet salvation.
And so I dip not my hand into these waters.
Now I quench my thirst from a different source.

Yay Sobriety

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This happened.

My mother, father,
sister and her boyfriend,
my husband and children
were sitting in a nice restaurant
to celebrate my birthday.

Some of you know
I have chosen
to not imbibe the fermented fruit of the vine,
and you also must know
that this puts me in the minority
of the adult population.

So I, my daughter, and son
sipped on our water,
while the five other adults drank,
two of them to excess.

I attended to my children,
enjoyed giving them bites
of delicious food,
sharing my salad and entree with them,
engaging them in conversation.

My husband,
bless his heart,
and to his credit,
did make an effort to engage with me
between sips of beer,
and we exchanged some pleasant words
in the course of the dinner.
He only had two beers and a glass of champagne.
Surely, this is moderation, is it not?

But inside, I felt lonely.
This was supposed to be my birthday celebration,
and the adults were focusing on their booze,
becoming loud, intoxicated…

I found myself looking around
at the others in the restaurant,
wondering about their conversations,
guessing that they were surely
more interesting
than what was unfolding at my table.

My family,
with its history of alcoholism,
couldn’t help itself.
The alcoholism had to follow us into this dinner,
even though the guest of honor
doesn’t drink.

What would you do,
if you felt lonely at your birthday dinner?
Would you have put your foot down?
Would you have said something?
Would you have withdrawn?

I tried to be kind and present,
but I couldn’t help feeling wistful.

Afterwards my sister was belligerent,
verbally aggressive…
because this is what happens when she drinks too much.
She yelled, gestured,
said she didn’t need anything from anyone,
and passed out in my bathroom.
She has done this many times before.
I wish I could help her,
but I know that I can’t.
She needs to help herself first.

And now, more than ever,
I see that my sobriety,
my clarity,
my lucidity,
my health
is one of the greatest birthday gifts
I can offer to myself…
and to the world.

Yay, sobriety.