One of the first times I thought really, really seriously about my drinking was six or seven years ago with a pissed off teenager in my face. I had picked up my 15 year old daughter from a school rehearsal mid-evening, and said I’d just need a minute to (of course) stop at the liquor store.
“Why do you always have to buy beer?” she stormed.
I don’t remember the rest of the conversation specifically, but I do remember the voice of reason (not Drinking/Pirate Guy — I think I’ll call him Cap’n Mo,) screaming “You DO always have to buy beer. Red flag! Red flag!” I remember fumbling around like an idiot trying to soothe my daughter and explain myself in a way that would sufficiently minimize and excuse my daily drinking. Basically she called bullshit on me. I had nothing, and I knew it.
The whole thing blew over quickly, and I don’t think my daughter has ever brought up my drinking since. But that exchange and the shame I felt have never left me. What should I have said that evening if I could have been honest with her and myself? “I always have to buy beer because I feel uncomfortable and anxious if there isn’t alcohol in the house. I have to buy beer because I like to drink. I couldn’t wait to pick you up tonight so I could get home and have this beer. I have to buy beer because I think I might have a drinking problem.”
Think. Six or seven years ago. All this time with the whisper: “I think I might have a drinking problem. Do I have a drinking problem?” This whole sobriety thing isn’t easy, but God it feels good to take the ambivalence out of that statement. To remove the question mark. To just accept that my relationship with alcohol has, over many years, developed in to something unhealthy, and that I will be a happier healthy person if I abstain.