As I walked down the wine aisle in my local grocery store last week, I was mesmerized by the fancy bottles, the elaborate graphic art and the witty names. I thought to myself, “As if people need a reason to be drawn in!”
Hours earlier, after a text exchange with a couple my husband and I are looking forward to getting to know better, I found myself slowly taking in the huge selection in front of me. The question had arisen, “What can I bring to dinner?” And the typical, “Let’s really get to know each other,” answer, “Wine!”
“Perfect!” I texted, then inquired with a few friends as to which wines were acceptable, naturally assuming that Franzia in a box was not. I’m no wine pairing expert because, well, the three dollar bottle of wine that gave me enough courage to head over to the East Side for crack, paired best with McDonald’s and regret!
I received suitable answers and decided it best not to go alone. I wasn’t sure why, but I needed the buffer. I’d love to tell you that it was some spiritual high road, that I was being cautious of my recovery or that I was following the direction of my sponsor, but honestly, I wanted someone to hand the alcohol off to in case I ran into one fo my friends from the 12-step program I attend. Believe me when I say this, you ALWAYS run into someone else in recovery in the most inopportune times!
I pried my son out of bed (it was 2pm, by the way) and told him I needed to by wine for a dinner party and didn’t want to go alone. My son, who regularly tells the joke that I am allergic to alcohol; breaking out in handcuffs, jumped right up, no questions asked and joined me in the car. I cannot help but imagine that if I had told him we were going for cheese or almond milk he would’ve begrudgingly gone, but for this errand, he felt the weight and protected something dear to him; my sobriety.
When we got into the car I explained that we were going to a new friends house and they must not realize that we don’t imbibe. We made a few jokes and stared at the wine for what seemed like an hour. I thought it best to purchase based on humor rather than suggestion. We went with a red that had the same name as my business and a white that also gave nod to it.
This isn’t the first time that I’ve bought alcohol since I’ve been in recovery, I give it as a gift regularly to friends and family, but this ended up being the most comical. A few hours before we were to arrive for dinner my new friend texted, “I just remembered that you don’t drink!” She insisted that I just bring myself and my husband, but the wine was already purchased and the laughter already begun.
I have always felt like it would be a fun to write a manual for “normies” (that’s what us 12-steppers call people who can drink with impunity) that have friends who are in recovery. It would go something like this:
- My recovery is not so fragile that you can’t drink in front of me. It’s actually worse if you don’t because then I feel like your changing your routine for my recovery and people had to change their routines for my addiction so much that I don’t want that to be a thing anymore.
- It doesn’t bother me that you drink, I just can’t. No. Not even one. One for me is a death wish, for reasons that someone who drinks normally may never understand.
- Yes, I have plenty of fun. As a matter of fact, I have more fun now than I ever did drinking. I am full of life and spirit now and was only drowning myself with alcohol.
- I’ll be happy to bring wine to the dinner party but I refuse to bring crack. That’s where I draw the line! 😉
There would be plenty more. Maybe someday I’ll put it all in one place, but for today, this story will have to suffice.
And yes, I did feel a bit empowered. Not one time that night did I think a drink looked good and I forged, what I foresee as being, a long, fruitful friendship.