I'm related to people who have an addiction to alcohol. I will not name names, although I suppose one of my grandfathers wouldn't have minded me telling you that he did, seeing as he was in AA for most of his life, really. I never saw him drunk; he was the best grandfather you could ever hope for. It's like he went to grandpa school. Graduated with honors.
But it doesn't end with him. A lot of the people I'm related to are alcoholic, although not my Uncle Jim, who drank coffee like he WAS in AA but certainly wasn't, and my Aunt Kathy, who takes one sip of beer and has to lie out in the snow.
Oh, and my Aunt Mary, who downs tea all the time like she's Miss Marple.
That is not the point. The point is, addiction is genetic, and as soon as alcohol was around when I was a teenager, I had some forthwith. I was not Noel Coward about it, either; I did not sip sherry thoughtfully while I looked into the fire. I was proud of being able to down a bottle of Reunite Lambrusco during the drive to school from the 7-Eleven, where they sold to minors.
Ima hazard a guess that there is no 7-Eleven alive now that sells to minors. Things aren't as fun as they were in the '80s. Also, some years back, there was a bottle of Reunite Lambrusco lying around at a party, so I poured some, and it turns out my love of Lambrusco was a mistake on the same level as my feelings for Rick Springfield.
That isn't really true. I will still jam the fuck out to Rick Springfield. And so will you.
In college, I bartended, which means I pretty much drank every day at the bar across the street. For some reason, all their people would come to our bar, and we all went to theirs. We all slept with the people at the other bar, too. There were very few in-house romances, although in retrospect, if the in-house romances were as good as our in-house salad dressing, maybe we all missed out.
The point is, I was there every day, at that bar across the street. There was one girl I judged. "She's been in here SIXTY-TWO DAYS IN A ROW," I'd think loftily, as I sipped my White Zinfandel on night 62.
This is like a retrospective of the bad pink drinks I've had through the decades. Yes, I AM delighted that Rosé is a thing again. Yes, I DID drink Cosmopolitans like I was a chunky Carrie Bradshaw. Carrie Broadshaw.
Let's just say I had an intimate relationship with bars and bartenders and drink specials and who'd let us drink after closing time, all the way up till I married Marvin, who does not drink. I mean, he'll pour a drink and forget it's there. He'll go without a drink at all for six months and not even notice. Marvin is not what you'd call a lush. Marvin is a guitaraholic. Hiiii, Marvin.
Suddenly, my own drinking looked ridiculous. I remember at one point, he said he was going to take up drinking, so we'd have more in common. That lasted one night over two margaritas. Marvin still drinks sweet drinks the way we did in 9th grade. He will literally buy wine coolers.
The point is, I gave up drinking for a long, long time while I was married to Marvin. Gave it up completely. Yes, I went to meetings, and I loved them. You want to meet interesting people, go to AA meetings in Los Angeles. I've heard some people even fake alcoholism to go to LA AA meetings to make fancy entertainment connections, and Dear People Who Do This: You suck, and I hope you are never ever famous. You are the Anne Heches of the world, and I wish you zero good luck. I wish you true anonymity.
I didn't drink after we moved to North Carolina for a long time, either. When Marvin left, I'd not had a drink in more than a year.
But now I drink again. And it's not like I'm getting arrested or drinking in the morning or anything. But I do drink almost every day. And I worry. Is that too much? Should I be at meetings again? Is just the fact that I'm worried about it worrisome?
A lot of people I knew who go to meetings had real, screaming evidence that they needed to give up drinking. Their health was shot, or their careers were. One woman was on her back porch with a hangover, and the word "Surrender" appeared in skywriting over her head.
I've always envied her.
I wish I had a clear sign, but not a horrible one, like all of a sudden I'm coughing up blood or something. I just wish I knew if I shouldn't be doing this. The years I did not drink, I didn't really feel any different from the years I did. That should tell me something, right?
So that's what's on my mind at present, but now it's time for work, so I'd better go. I'd better put a cork in it.