Y’know, a “real” alcoholic?
(I’m writing about this because I’ve been spending WAY much time thinking about drinking, and am wondering, Is it worth all this sobering thought?)
At tonight’s speaker meeting — the big-deal talk at the Promises in Paradise conference today — I suddenly wondered, Wait…maybe I’m not really a drunk? I mean, maybe, for real, I’m not an alcoholic? Maybe my problem is/was binge drinking, and is 100 percent situational? For instance, when I spent two months volunteering in [beautiful island] in 2010, I had practically zero desire to drink. I could have two beers at the end of the day and be done with it (not all the time, and I did crave wine toward the end). I was extremely content with my life and lifestyle there, and felt that I had a significant sense of purpose. Could it be as simple as, I drink when I feel like I’m doing jack with my life and I don’t drink when I fill my need to have a sense of purpose, be creative, and grow/move forward? Quite possibly, yes.
As I listened to Janine from Astoria talk for an hour about what a mess she had made of her life before “finding God” and getting sober (yeah, unfortunately, there was a lot of God talk tonight, including saying the “Our Father,” which I simply refused to do — didn’t sign up for Mass, folks), I had to say to myself, DDG, maybe you need to scoot home, learn to drink responsibly, and stop trying to play with the big boys.
I often wonder, do we catastrophize our problem drinking because we’re a neurotic society as a whole? I was talking to a could-be sponsor tonight, and told her that I didn’t drink until I was a junior in college (I studied abroad that year in Paris; wine definitely helped me speak better/at all in French). She was shocked. I then got the feeling I’ve been getting and have had before elsewhere, but typically not in [cold west coast city] or [cold east coast city]: Oh, you’re one of them. Meaning, I’m smart, I’m stable, I haven’t had many non-first world problems in my life. Sure, whatever, a drunk. Come and see how the other half lives, girlie, and then we’ll talk alcoholism.
And, maybe they’re right. Where does “proper” binge drinking end (even if it only takes a few glasses of wine for you to blackout) and alcoholism begin? And, if we’ve become a society that pathologizes even the most basic of human experience and emotion (since when are mood swings considered bipolar disease, and depression and anxiety things to eradicate as early as possible as young as possible?), who gets to finally claim that label? I mean, who among us wouldn’t want more than one chip?