Romanticizing Drinking

Thinking woman with the text, "Wow, that wine looks good."

Recently I was on a trip with my husband and we stayed in a nice hotel. One afternoon I walked by the pool, which was mostly empty of people, and I noticed a young woman lounging on a chaise poolside, reading a book, a large glass of white wine at her side. Immediately, I thought, “Wow, that wine looks good.” My second thought was how good the whole scene looked; a delicious drink, a good book, the quiet pool, and the sun.

I knew though, whatever her experience, it would not have been MY experience. My experience would likely be drinking the first glass of white wine, immediately ordering another, followed by another; no reading, no noticing the lovely pool, not caring where I was.

These thoughts flashed through my mind as I strolled by the woman, but I was grateful that I didn’thave to have that glass of wine, that I no longer craved alcohol, and was enjoying the beautiful day, free of my obsession to drink.

Later that evening we were at dinner and seated nearby were three older couples. The women in the group were drinking fancy cocktails and by the time we started eating they were on their third. Their conversation was getting louder, and I remembered the many times, I had been one of those women, getting louder, sometimes becoming weepy or combative, never knowing how alcohol would affect me, steadfastly holding on to my ‘right’ to drink as much as I wanted, regardless of the consequences.

I drank for 40 years and toward the end of my drinking, drank alone, starting in the late afternoon and continuing until I passed out. Drinking was my reward, my relief, the only thing I looked forward to every day. I tried to stop drinking many times in AA and could never ‘get it’. I’d stay sober 30 days, 60 days, then have the first drink and be right back drinking every day. I felt totally hopeless and demoralized, quickly becoming an old lush, maintaining the fiction that I drank like a lady.

I came back to the program, telling myself I’d try one more time, and this time I surrendered. I got a sponsor and did what she asked me to do. I started doing service work. Slowly I started to change, to become a person I could be proud of, and the obsession to drink was lifted. I started to want sobriety more than I wanted to drink, kept close to meetings and people in AA who helped me. I worked the Steps, called my sponsor every day and started reaching out to help others. The miracle that is sobriety happened to me, and I could not be more grateful.

Camille L.