I am chaperoning a trip with 22 high school students that has too much down time built in. They blast their "gangster" hip hop, loving to scream along with the profanities and the glorified life of sex, drinking and weed is core to the songs on repeat.
They are so obsessed with drinking, often asking us American adults questions to see how we will respond. Most of them are Muslim kids on this trip, which adds one more layer of sinful allure to drinking and overtly sexualized behavior. They want to mimic the life in music videos and all of the drama they see there is cool to them. They want to loose control and be lost in the moment in the ways tv is showing them. Alcohol and drugs are glamorous and essential to be cool.
It has been nice to be able to honestly say that I don't drink, but of course they probably don't believe me or think I'm other worldly in my boringness. In moments like these I am reminded how grateful I am that I have shattered that glamorous allusion of alcohol. I recognize that they are 23 years younger than me and that it took me 22 years to fully change my relationship with alcohol, ultimately severing all ties.
I feel a bit helpless against the overwhelming force of drinking within societal norms. Because I struggled to pull myself away from a life centered around alcohol, I don't know how to realistically warn kids. Alcohol is a sneaky one to pin down. I hope that the kids are faking it, they see the allusion and parroting it back and not merely setting themselves up to enter that world.
Here we are a month later from my last post. I am a terrible blogger! Unreliable and not updated regularly. Until I started this blogged I didn't think too much about the time, dedication and energy it takes to blog-it-out successfully. Thanks bloggers, I respect the work you do.
I look back at my first few months on this journey and see that I was blogging everyday. Everyday! I can't imagine finding the time to do that now, even my bus rides to work are full with such enjoyable reading space that I can't bear to rip myself away from my alternate worlds. Yet, I think about blogging and what would I write about almost daily. It's like a little check in on my own state. Do I have something to process? To I have anything to share about being sober rat this point, right now? And usually, I'm pretty meh about what is going on. It all seems so minor compared to where I passed through those first 5-6 months.
But there are new developments, new snags and old flashes of "fucking forever?" And of great desires for a drink that knocks me over at times.
The questioning of how long I have to "do this" comes when I feel overly confident that I wasn't a problem drinker or when I miss the culture of being part of that crowd. But this is less and less, and I still can mentally walk myself through the drink and see that the end results are not desirable and I turn to less damaging vices: shisha, chocolate, soda water (when available)
A couple of months ago I was making bread that called for some beer. I used that cup of beer and pour the rest of it into a glass for Husband. And then I took a sip of it. Yep, a sip. And it did taste good! And then I thought through the drink and realized I haven't once ordered a non-alcoholic beer, so I must not love the taste that much. I do believe I associate the taste with all the other stuff My body loved about drinking. Pavlovian for sure.
Why didn't I blog about this sip earlier? I considered it, but then thought it wasn't a big deal to me and that by writing about it, it would make it a big deal. And I realized that I feared being judged by some my made-up fascist AA'ers that would now say that I relapsed because of that sip or just as bad that this is the first slip to the path of relapse - "they" are just waiting for me to be another statistic of failure. And I just am not that. I am successfully finding my way just fine by my own terms. So those self-created AA haters can shove it, I'm living the dream.
I used to drink with the best of them, but I don't anymore. I like myself better for it and have a full life because of it.
-Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp