Stupid Bus Shelter. Stupid Advertising.

Last night I was on my usual bike ride home from work/the gym and just minding my own business and BAM… beer ad on a bus shelter. And I started jonesing right there. I wanted to put my face in a vat of Belgian ale. Arrrghhh. Why do I have to be triggered by advertising and liquor stores and people drinking on patios in the summer?

You don’t realize how normalized heavy drinking is in our culture until you do. And then its like you took the red pill, and now that shit is *everywhere* and you’re like, “how did I not see this before?”

I’ll tell you how you don’t see it: Denial. All that marketing of alcohol, all that having it up in your grill all the time, conveniently fuels your denial. So you just let it wash over you like a warm current. That way you can keep drinking, and keep ignoring the tiny voice in your head that says “this really isn’t going anywhere good.”

I’ve been reading Ann Dowsett-Johnston’s “Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol” which, in addition to her own story, discusses the marketing of alcohol to women. It’s hard to read about the marketing of alcohol without feeling angry, because its all premised on the idea that you can’t be well and you can’t have fun and you can’t relax without a drink in your hand. And it’s just not true.

Reading the book, I thought a lot about the young women in my family — four daughters and my niece — and how they are all in various stages of sorting out their relationships with alcohol. Certainly none of them read the tiny “enjoy responsibly” label on the bottle of birthday cake vodka. Two have struggled with addiction. One was sexually assaulted by a predatory local bar manager who plied her with free drinks all night before taking her home.

My own seduction by alcohol has been less dramatic. I was never really a “puke at parties” kind of girl (except for maybe a couple of times). I never drank to get drunk as some do. But over time I’ve slowly bought in to the myth that my life will be incomplete without drinking. And as I read the stories of others, the common thread in entering recovery is exactly that fear that leaving alcohol behind will leave this yawning gap in their lives.

Right now I’m working on having faith that I’ll get to a place where I live well, fully and better without alcohol in my life. I can’t *see* it yet, but I’m willing to put in time and patience because I’m feeling confident (today anyway) that I will see it eventually. On to Day Four here…

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