It is certainly not a subject line that you read every day. Most if not all of the articles, books, blogs, and research I have read regarding alcohol revolves around addiction. I read about the people that have allowed alcohol to ruin their lives, the people that have been incredibly affected by an alcoholic, the people who continue to blame someone else for their alcoholism, the people that are trying to find a way to apologize to others for what they have done. And of course the different ideas and research wondering if alcohol is truly a disease or simply a state of mind based on someone’s choices. For the past 5 years I have dove in to reading and learning everything and anything regarding alcohol, addictions, alcoholics, and of course the behavior, mindset, and lifestyle surrounding it all.
For me, alcohol was never a big deal. I didn’t grow up with it in my home. I didn’t need it in high school or college to have fun, let alone to dance. Even while being a young professional I never thought spending money on alcohol was a wise choice. I drank occasionally with my friends and even enjoyed it at times. It was never something I did alone. Ever since I was 15 I have always said, I don’t need any drugs because I’m high on life. That’s the best drug I’ve ever had…. Well, that’s really the only drug I’ve ever had. That’s the only drug I ever wanted.
After being married to an alcoholic for 10 years, my relationship with alcohol became even more distant. “I don’t mind ever drinking again if it will help you” I said to him a few times. But now, I enjoy a different life, a different freedom I didn’t have during that time. Now, I am able to enjoy alcohol while still being able to be high on life.
My relationship with alcohol has evolved, the way a great long lasting friendship has. My friendships have grown from simply having fun and hanging out to discussing career opportunities and investment options and have graduated into talking about children, management struggles at work, and retirement. Alcohol has had a similar yet unconventional journey in my life. It started with no interest, just simply seeing others pretending to know what they were doing with it, to a tragic awakening and life I never knew existed and it has morphed into a way of connecting while enjoying the simple things life has to offer. I have even had a glass of red wine alone while I sit on my back porch, which is something I was never able to do before.
As the world over indulges in excess drinking and even as the other extreme emerges with dry or sober bars for recovered addicts as the newest trend, I stay right where I belong. Enjoying a new opportunity at life, at being able to find delight in a half a glass of Cabernet with my steak dinner, a night out writing on my back porch, and even connecting with a dear friend. I’ve never understood the idea of drinking something that didn’t taste all that great nor something that had to be an acquired taste so I certainly only drink what I like.
It’s still not something I do often, maybe once or twice a month and like life it all depends on the season because sometimes a few months can go by and others if an out of town friend is around I’ll have more than just my usual half glass. Although I still don’t go out and waste money on alcohol in restaurants and bars, I’ve welcomed being able to select a new bottle of red every month at the grocery store to try to fill my wine rack, 6 down and 39 more to go. Still at a slower pace than most. But a woman can always have goals.
I now drink because I feel free and that’s the best reason I’ve got. As I always tell my friends, don’t drink to drown your sorrows, don’t drink to mask away the pain, certainly don’t drink to unwind and relax as that is done in different ways, don’t drink at bars and spend a fortune while getting behind the wheel of a car, but rather, drink after you have decompressed from a stressful day, when all your worries are set aside. Drink simply to enjoy the moment and give thanks to what you got.