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!
Oh wait. NO HURRICANES FOR ME.
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.