Trick or Treat

Yesterday evening we went to a little neighborly Happy Hour.  Just about 6 or so of us-it’s kind of a sporadically regular thing.  Everyone brings what they want to drink.  It’s always pretty low key.  I like to limit my time to an hour or so.  When I was drinking, I did this because I didn’t want anyone to know how much I was drinking-so I’d limit myself to a glass or two of wine and then go home and either open another bottle or polish off the bottle I brought back home with me.  Now I limit it because we try to eat between 6 and 6:30 and it’s enough time.

Last night I took some sparkling mineral water and my SO took a bottle of non alcoholic Ginger Beer. To be honest out of the 7 people that were there only 2 were drinking an alcoholic beverage.  Anyway, one woman who was drinking a sparkling water mentioned that she’s not drinking or eating carbs right now.  Another friend laughed and said that that wasn’t true the other night. Her response was that he’d taken her to a brewery and there probably wasn’t anything non alcoholic to drink.  Yea, right..And, to be honest this is someone that 9 times out of 10 has a picture of a cocktail or glass of wine in her many FaceBook posts.  For some reason I just piped up and said that I hadn’t had any alcohol for almost a year and a half. ( WOW!)  She asked if it was for health reasons.  I said no-it was just time.  I remarked in a light hearted way that I’d saved a ton of money, I could remember the previous episodes of TV shows or news items-(although right now I wish I could forget about the f***ing news)  that I slept throught the night.  That I had started “my career” at a young age.  The talk continued on and there was something about being out and not drinking.  I said how I just ask for something non alcoholic, fruity, shaken and served in a Martini glass.  For all anyone knows, I’m drinking a Cosmo-or whatever.  Her response was that she too tries to “trick” herself like that at times.

So today, as I was walking, I remembered the conversation.  What I realized is that I am not tricking myself.  I am treating myself.  I am making a conscious decision about what I want to drink, how I want it prepared and how I want it presented to me.  For one thing, I love great glasses.  At home, if I make a mocktail, I use a crystal wine glass.  At night when I have ice cream, I put it in really nice sherbet cup and eat it with a silver demitasse spoon.  I prefer a “craft mocktail” for the same reason I don’t like to eat at restaurants offering buffets.  I want to know that my food or my drink was prepared just for me.  Yes, occasionally at lunch I’ll get lemonade that comes out of a dispenser.  But if I’m in a nicer place, I always ask if they make their own lemonade.  The best I’ve ever had was at a little Italian place in Santa Rosa.  The lemons were amazing and they actually made it in a cocktail shaker. I LOVE THAT!

If I come from the mindset that I’m tricking myself, well, that doesn’t work for me.  That feels like I’m cheating myself or that I’ve somehow given my power away.  That I’m “missing something“.  Poor me!  Now I will say, there have been times when I wasn’t drinking and I was really feeling deprived. Punished.  See my post This Time Last Year.  Also, I was never one of those people that could say, smoke a joint and go on my way-forgetting that I was stoned.  Or do a line of coke and go out for the night and be satisfied with that.  Oh no!  I had to do it all-know that it was all gone before I could let go of it.  The same with a bottle of wine.  As long as there was any left-it was on my mind.  Tricking myself that I was in control when in fact, the substance had all the control.

But now! What a treat!  How empowering it feels to sashay into a fancy smanchy restaurant and tell the white coated waiter that I want a great mocktail in a great glass.  Not only empowering but freeing.  Freeing because after like 2 of these, I’m done.  I don’t need to go any farther.  I’ve been sated on several levels.  I have chosen to treat myself in this way. I have chosen not to come from a place of deprivation. And of course, there’s all the other stuff-saving money, walking out upright, not slurring my words while thinking I’m being witty with the waitstaff. Oh God!

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s really all about how we perceive things.  How we come from or at something.  Whether or not we choose to be empowered by a situation or lessened by it.  For me-definitely TREAT!

What I haven’t mentioned is that I had a companion on my walk today.  Bentley aka Polka Dot Spot.  Yes!  We got another dog! We were going to wait until the middle of May when we get back from the UK but…well he came along and we couldn’t resist! He’s a rescue that came from a hoarder that had 28 dogs! We got him in the middle of January and he just turned a year old last week.  My SO and I are totally in love! While he will never replace Dudley, I truely believe that Dudley sent him.  I know that we are going to have a long and happy life together.  And lots of walkies”.

With love!

BentleyBentley's Birthday

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That Fleeting Moment

You know, once in a while I get this flash of desire to drink.  It happened the other day when I was on a walk.  It was a beautiful day about 70 degrees out. And this desire came over me.  Not exceptionally strong, but it came.  So, I let myself go into it and picture what I was missing.  I could picture myself sitting on my balcony overlooking the Canyon that we live on.  I could see the glass of ice cold Sauvignon Blanc or Sancerre on the arm of my chair.  I recalled how the part I liked was when I first started to feel the wine and my  mind would roam-drift. God! I spent who knows how many hours of my life doing that.  And, to be honest, I could take myself great places.  Come up with some really good ideas.  Visualize past experiences and future goals.  Drifting.  But, as I went into it, I realized that that feeling of floating mindlessness was fake.  Because while part of me was drifting, another part of me was constantly aware of how much wine was left in my glass.  Aware of how much wine was left in the bottle.  How much time it was taking me to drink it.  Calculating the amount of time it was taking me to drink it and how much time was left in relation to the amount of wine in the bottle and the time I wanted to stretch it out.  For instance, I would normally only buy one bottle at a time-guess why?  Yep, that way I could control it!  Yeah, right.  But, if I had more than one bottle on hand, the chance was that I would open a second one.  The other component was that I usually timed my drinking with prepping dinner and eating said meal.  So, I would want to maybe have a glass left for my dinner-but would have gone through most of the bottle by the time the food was ready. Of course then things became more complicated as I had to be conscious of the the amount of time needed to prep the food and then the amount of time it actually needed to cook.  Of course I was a pro at saying dinner was taking much longer than it actually was.  Eeking it out so I could drink and keep to that schedule.  Getting the right amount of “buzz”!

Jeez Louise! How complicated is all of that!?? What a lot of work that was!  And, I wasn’t totally drifing and relaxed because another part of my brain was always aware of and calculating the amount of wine versus time.  Oh how we deceive ourselves!!!  Yes, I’ll admit, I did come up with some great ideas during that “drifting” time. And then, I’d be pleasantly sloshed.  Then I’d be drunk.  I’d try to remind myself that even after a glass-or a bottle- of wine was finished, the effects continued to grow.  Of course that never stopped me from pouring more or opening that second bottle if I had it.

As I’m writing, I’m thinking about how at times, I would buy a big bottle.  To save money..(she snickers)!  But then I would think-“well, one bottle!”  So that wasn’t good.  Then I started thinking that maybe I should try some of these wines in a box.  Some of them get really high ratings and they’re cheaper and last longer. As if that was ever an issue!  The problem with that was that I never had any idea of how much I drank. And boy!  Was that easy, just turing that spigot! So, I went back to a normal bottle of wine every night.  Continuing to fool myself that I was in control.  Fooling myself that it was helping me not only to relax but to create. So what if I didn’t remember the last episode from a series that we’d watched the night before?  So what if I got grumpy in a restaurant because my SO was having half a glass of wine which would deprive me of my bottle? Not taking into consideration that I’d probably had a glass or two before we’d even left the house!

WELL! After mulling all of that over, I decided that I really didn’t miss that wine time. It took too much work under the guise of relaxing!

Learning to “relax” without the wine can be a challenge.  To be honest, I’m not sure I really knew what relaxing was without wine! What I do know now is what it’s not-it’s not getting numbed out.  It’s not getting blotto.  It’s simply enjoying a moment or a period of time.  It’s letting myself breathe.  Letting myself “be”.  And guess what?  I can still be creative in that time!  So, go ahead!  Put your feet up for awhile.  Let yourself “Be”!