I’ve always liked the finer things in life. My parents tell a story, again and again, of taking me into the city in a limo when I was a toddler. There I was, strapped into my car seat in a stretch limo while my parents toasted the day with flutes of champagne. They gave me a sip and I promptly said, “I was born to drink champagne!” Obviously, I’ve been fed this line before. My little brain didn’t make it up. I mean, I hope it didn’t, at least.
Another memory, sitting in my backyard at “happy hour time”. It’s 5:00ish on a Friday, a beautiful summer evening. My parents are lounging, drinking martinis in fancy glasses with giant olives. I too am enjoying my “kids martini”- a glass with water, ice and a stem of olives all for me. Sometimes though, Dad offers me one of his real martini olives. Those are the special ones.
I’m not telling these stories to make my parents sound bad. I’m telling them because, in looking back, alcohol has always been associated with celebration and fanciness and good times. The pretty glass, the trips to the wineries, the special days. My mom is a natural moderator. My dad, well. He has always drank, and drank heavily, but he has also never had any negative consequences to his drinking (at least not the obvious ones). My mom is always the DD, so no issues there. He never misses work or obligations or gets angry when drinking, so I never had any negative memories of it. My childhood was perfect in my eyes, or at least I was always perfectly happy and cared for.
I guess that’s why, when alcohol stopped “working” for me in the way I liked it to-when there started being hangovers, regrets, guilt, blackouts, fear and disgust mixed in the day after a heavy drinking episode-It took me by surprise. Sure, I always knew I “drank too much”. But so did everyone else. Everyone in my little world. I was, and still am, annoyed and pissed off, frankly, that I have to THINK about it. I call it the “stamping my feet” reaction. I had the same reaction when I quit smoking, started working out, eating healthier. I feel like I’m dragging my 22 year old self into the world of “real adulthood” kicking and screaming. I want to eat my dominos pizza and drink a magnum bottle of wine on my couch, fall asleep with half a slice of pizza in my hand, wake up hungover, shrug, and nurse my hangover all day with McDonalds and a few beers with not a care in the world (This is an actual day in the life of 22 year old me. Impressive, I know). But I can’t because 29 year old me has a marriage to care for, a house to pay for, a career to care about. 29 year old me also has the voice that says “This is wrong. Do better.” So I am. I’m really trying.
So, here I am, sitting at my kitchen table at “happy hour time” drinking pumpkin spice coffee and eating shortbread cookies. I’m using my best china. 29 year old me can be fancy too.