When I first met my husband almost 7 years ago, he was riding high on the single hog of life, enjoying his new digs, new job, new hood, and--if I dare say so myself--life with his new lady love. We spent a lot of time sharing good conversation over many bottles of beer, absinthe, or wine, simply because we were care free, young, and falling in love. It's what you do, right?
I had been in a relationship with a self-proclaimed "alcoholic", and given my extended family's history with the drink, I was always somewhat fearful of drinking too much. Not only was I afraid for myself--mostly because I absolutely hate bed spins and hang overs--but I was also a drink counter for the men I dated. AWFUL place to be people. Let's just say, that as my relationship with my husband grew more serious, I was doing a lot of mental addition.
We had lots of conversations about the lifestyle that we wanted to share together, about the kind of parents we wanted to be, and the level of drinking that would be unacceptable in order for us to create this healthy home. In one conversation, he promised something along the lines of, "don't worry. I don't want to be the kind of dad that ruins my family because of drinking."
"Well, good deal," I might've replied. "What person goes into creating a family hoping to fuck it up by being an alcoholic?" I asked.
The good news is, NOT my husband. Sometimes I look at him and forget that I ever feared his excessive drinking, but I do remember spending many hours with my therapist trying to figure out if I had legitimate reasons for my worry.
"Well, it's only a problem when it's a problem," he said.
In hindsight, that sage wisdom is true for the man I married. It wasn't a problem, and there was no need for alarm. In fact, the irony is, that today I'm writing about my drinking.
I've had spells where I stopped drinking all together because I couldn't justify why it was ok to drink when alcohol is such a lethal drug that destroys so many families. I worried that I'd be a hypocrite if I told my children that they couldn't drink while I sipped on a glass of wine. I feared that if I couldn't go without it at all, then perhaps that was a sign that I needed it, which meant there was a problem. I spent nearly three years sober when I had my girls. I didn't touch a drop of alcohol during either pregnancy because I was afraid that my DNA wouldn't be strong enough to combat the long standing battle it's been fighting with alcohol. Then a friend told me, "everyone needs a release." It's true. I enjoy a night out with friends in which we partake in convivial libations. My husband and I like our Friday night pizza and beer routine, and I just enjoyed a couple Corona's with my dad this very afternoon.
But I've been drinking a lot this summer. Almost every day, never more than three, not to the point of drunkenness, but habitually. Routinely. Daily. And last night we didn't have any beers in the house and I really wanted one. Is this a problem, or is this just relaxing and having a good summer? I give myself permission to drink during hours of the day when I would ordinarily be working. I consume more drinks in a week that I do over the course of several months during the school year, but I justify the pop of the cork by telling myself it's only one or two. I'm not getting drunk. Does that make me better than the person who only drinks on the weekends but drinks to gluttonous excess? By whose standards?
Oh Cheese and Crackers...I think I need a drink!