Years ago, while my alcoholism was still in “active” status, special occasions were drinking occasions. Holidays were especially so, although toward the end...so were Tuesdays and evenings and getting up to use the bathroom at night.
Halloween was an opportunity to fill a gas station Big Gulp cup with Chardonnay, slap a lid on it and drink from the straw as I took my children trick-or-treating. It was kind of a sippy cup for Mom, sadly, and like many of the clever tricks I’d concocted to conceal and carry alcohol with me at all times, a glaring red flag that Mommy might have a problem.
Thanksgiving called for beer and wine. As a matter of fact, ANY event in which more than the usual number of family members would be in attendance required extra alcoholic drinks. And everyone has wine with the feast, right? (I just had to get a little head-start by drinking before anyone else had even arrived. And with everybody, to maintain. And by drinking long after the last family member had left.)
Christmas is rife with occasions to imbibe. From the Christmas Parties in which genial hosts offer a selection of eggnog, spiked punches and cocktails to the post-shopping (Big Gulp-sized) wine. And the family get-togethers? Stressful enough to justify a tall one just to decompress. (See “Thanksgiving” above).
On New Year’s Eve, it is almost expected that everyone will be drinking. The New Year simply must be toasted at the strike of midnight, and grape juice doesn't quite bring the same festiveness as champagne. To be a teetotaller on New Year’s Eve seemed almost unthinkable.
So here we are on Feb. 4, the day after another big drinking occasion, the Super Bowl. I know nothing of football, have no interest in it, and couldn't tell a field goal from a homerun (wait….that’s wrong, isn’t it?), but I have been to many, many Super Bowl parties over the years because there was always drinking. And I was interested in drinking.
These special occasions became very confusing to me when I got into recovery. It was not until I moved into true acceptance that I could understand it.
No more drinking. Not on major holidays (or minor ones) or on Super Bowl Sunday. Not at my child’s wedding or on vacation in the Caribbean. Not even once.
But what initially felt like big, red "X"'s on the calendar became opportunities to gain clarity, enjoy life to the fullest and remember it all.
To gain Life.
Check out Part II coming up for the reasons I don't miss drinkning to mark special occasions.
Not one bit.