I’ve always said that I’m somewhat similar to Herpes, really. You *think* I’ve disappeared and WHAM! there’s a flare up and I’m back. So, I hope you all had a kick-ass Thanksgiving and if you are in fact struggling with sobriety that you made it unscathed through the whole enterprise. These are trying times for the best of us and then you compound the holidays on top of it all and, well. . . it can be a shit show.

We ventured out of town for the long weekend and it was fantastic. Sometimes a getaway can really put things into perspective. I refused to worry and project and/or doom say. I just enjoyed the atmosphere  and the holiday hustle and bustle, ate too much and in general just took some time off to just enjoy the now, as in the previous post.

Now, I’m married so this means that I have to occasionally do things that I don’t necessarily enjoy, but that are important to my husband. No, I’m not talking about dressing up like Danica Patrick in the bedroom (again). . .this time it was college football. Since we were out of state we had to wing our approach to viewing his games and that was finding a sports bar. Now some of you out there are probably wondering aloud why I would purposely strap on a suicide vest and walk INTO A BAR. A dark raucous bar filled with obnoxious and loud folks all screaming for their team while drinking booze and eating fried foods. In other words, HEAVEN.  These, you see, are my people.

Well, they used to be. And here’s the thing. They haven’t changed, I have. They seem to be able to still go out and enjoy a few beers and get home safely without the assistance of the backseat of a patrol car. Assholes.

Regardless, it doesn’t bother me to go into bars on occasion. Rarely have I ever been in one sober so in a very real but kind of comical way, it’s like seeing them for the first time and objectively, they aren’t so bad. Well, some are, but this one was pretty reputable and more than that, clean. I may be a drunk but I’m still obsessively tidy.

As we bellied up to our stools my husband suddenly and completely lost his hearing. Wait, let me rephrase that. . . he lost his ability to hear me or any of the surrounding clamor as long as his game was airing. I’m used to this during football season and promptly ordered a ginger ale and struck up a conversation with our bartender who was young, dumb, and full of. . . himself. He had an amusing way about him and I liked him immediately. As we chatted about our holidays he offered up some snippets of his. He was hungover, he mentioned, from a pretty legendary night of drinking with his buddies the night before. I asked him if he had a good time. He grinned.

“I fared better than both of my buddies,” he said, “one broke his thumb and the other went to jail. It was pretty epic!”

I nodded my head knowingly and laughed. I’ve been there, of course. It’s one thing in your early twenties but quite another in your late 30’s and 40’s. There comes a point in your sobriety where you look back on all the terrible consequences of your actions while drinking and then realize to your horror that you kept up that nonsense for another 5, 10, maybe 20 plus years AFTER that awful incident.  The fact that really bad shit happened and that it wasn’t even a wake-up call is one that’s hard to navigate in sobriety.

The wreckage in your rear view mirror is personal and unique. Sure, sometimes it’s amusing and funny. I’ve jumped off a second story roof onto a trampoline to the delight disbelief of other guests at a summer cookout. I’ve drunkenly saddled a stranger’s Harley on Sunset Boulevard and spent the entire night with a dude that could have been Ted Bundy. I crashed a number with The Spinners at a fancy country club party and proceeded to *play* tambourine with them until a roadie politely escorted me off the stage. What I’m talking about is epic wreckage. People lose spouses and jobs and children and relationships and that’s not even scratching the surface of what that it does to you internally and the emotional havoc that comes with the oppressing guilt and self loathing.

Of course I didn’t say all of that to Tom Cruise behind the bar. He was busy texting his comrades about their recovery and I didn’t feel the need to expound upon mine. I just smiled with a little nostalgia and a whole lot of gratitude.  After all, who has TWO functioning thumbs and woke up in a snazzy hotel?!?

This gal.

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