Hold the Hurricane

Until this weekend, my alcohol free month has been fairly simple.  I have been in a terrific mood.  Work, school, and life have been running smoothly.  While January brought some real sadness (the sudden death of a colleague) I was grieving by becoming more involved in LGBT causes which were her life’s mission.  I felt good about how I was honoring her memory so even the sadness was ok.

And then came Friday.

Enter one terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day.

For those who are confused, here is a visual for you.

Quality of Day Bar Chart

After my work responsibilities were done on Friday, around 7:30 PM, I made dinner with a friend and desperately tried to relax. Usually cooking is a soothing activity for me, but I was completely out of sorts.  My craving for a cocktail was loud and strong.  I didn’t want to Drink-with-a-Capital-D, but I DEFINITELY wanted to take the edge off.  The conference room inside my brain was working overtime and I wanted to shut them up.

Saturday arrived and I had a full work day plus a memorial service to attend.  The service was incredible, possibly the most moving tribute to a person’s life I have ever witnessed.  It was hard, though, and not just because I was sad about this loss.  Sitting in that church and listening to my friend’s partner talk about their love triggered some grief of my own.  I thought I had a partner like that and it turns out I didn’t.   Well fuck.

Enter terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day number two.

Saturday night I was to attend a Mardi Gras charity event at my local non-profit theater.  Music!  Dancing!  Masks!  Beads!  Hurricanes!


It was one thing to go out and about last weekend, in a great mood, enjoying my friends and family while I sipped at my seltzer with lime.  But I was in NO MOOD for a party.

I had less than two hours to get ready.  I had to change my mood and quick.

Step 1: Initiate Party Hair.
For those of you who haven’t witnessed it, I have awesome party hair.  Curly and fabulous, it takes about an hour to make it happen but it’s totally worth it.

Step 2: Cocktail
Oh wait.  I can’t do that.

What could alcohol do for me that I couldn’t do for myself?  Is it terribly unhealthy that I wanted to prepare for my night out with a pre-event drink?  What does this say about who I am and how I use alcohol?

As I debated the possibility of breaking my resolution – and believe me the pro-side of this debate team was very strong – I remembered a line from a movie I saw recently.

“Don’t drink to feel better, drink to feel even better.”

I can’t remember the movie, but I think this line is a perfect motto for me.  I don’t want to use alcohol to self-medicate, to cope with a stressful situation, or to ignore a problem in my life.   I want to use it to enhance an already fun evening, to bring out the flavor of a perfect Beef Bourguignon, or to celebrate a friend’s achievement.

And so, out I went.

I recovered nicely, though not completely, and if I do say so myself, my hair was fantastic.



Filed under Alcohol, Parties, Resolutions

4 responses to “Hold the Hurricane

  1. KarenN

    Shelby, you look gorgeous. Congratulations on keeping with your plan. I’m enjoying your blog. K.

  2. Lisa AV

    OMG…you do have amazing party hair. I will say I think the bar graph was my favorite of this post. While I am not on your journey of self-discovery for the same reasons, I gave up alcohol due to a medication I’m on and have experienced a similar awakening, but alas a few challenges along the way. That smile says it all – you are one strong woman who found her way through horrible days 1 and 2.

  3. Elaine

    You hair was indeed wonderful! Congratulations on your steadfastness. Elaine

  4. Winnie

    Shelby you are wonderful!!!!!!

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