I Don’t Have a Problem….Do I?

So, the drinking.

I never was a huge drinker.  Only socially.  I wasn’t one of those girls who went to parties in high school and got wasted; so much so, I thought the parties depicted in movies like “Sixteen Candles” were just Hollywood figments of someone’s imagination.  It wasn’t until I got on Facebook and reconnected with some people from high school that I found out that those parties did happen, I just never seemed to snag an invitation to one.

I drank a few times to excess in high school, and college, probably less than you could count on two hands (but probably more than you could count on one).  I was a mother, I was a serious student, and then later I was taking care of my mom.  It just wasn’t something I had the time to do.  But eventually, as I lived on my own, I gained an appreciation for the warm, fuzzy feeling that a few glasses of white zinfandel could give me.  It became my drink of choice, which was a fine step up from the Zimas and wine coolers I had been drinking.

My husband introduced me to drinking wine with meals at home.  I’d heard of people who did that, but it certainly wasn’t an experience I’d had growing up in my solidly American lower middle class household.  Hell, sitting down all together at the dinner table wasn’t exactly a common experience for us, much less pairing alcohol with it.  But he grew up in a European family, and they all drink, all of the time, every night with dinner.  It became a ritual I enjoyed several times a week, this having wine with dinner.  Sometimes even a before dinner drink, on the weekends.

But it wasn’t until recently that my drinking took an uptick.

First it was my one girlfriend who offered wine at her pool in the summer. It seemed completely awesome to enjoy a crisp chardonnay on a summer day by the pool.  And the more she extended the invitation, the more it seemed completely normal to have some.  And frankly, with my son on the spectrum and my husband traveling a great deal, it was a welcome respite from the stress that was laced intricately throughout my days.

Then it was my husband’s cousins.  They moved nearby, the only family we have within hundreds of miles.  So we would often exchange dinners; once at their house, once at ours.  Back and forth.  Their kids and our kids would play out of the way while the adults talked in the kitchen. And drank.  And drank.  And drank some more.  Before long it was common place for us to go through three or even four bottles of wine in an evening between the four of us.

The drinking became more and more common place in my life.  And so one night, when R was out of town, I opened a bottle of wine at home.  I used to joke about how pathetic it was for someone to drink alone, but here I was doing it.  I poured a glass of Cabernet while watching television in the evening.  And then after the kids went to bed, another.

Before long, I was looking forward to the drinking alone.  I liked the way the glass felt in my hand, the pretty color of the wine, the taste of it.  And too, the warmth and comfort of it.  These days, I drink a glass or two most every night.

I can’t decide, though, if I have a problem with that level of drinking.  My grandfather died of alcholism, and I know it lurks there, in my DNA.  I don’t feel like I can’t live without it or I have to hide my drinking.  But I also know that I probably drink more than most of the people I consider my peers.  It’s something I think about, sometimes.  It’s hard to know what is normal, what is acceptable, what is typical.   I suppose it varies.

For now, I’m just trying to be aware of it.

Meanwhile, it’s five o’clock….and we all know what that means.

Kidding!  Well….


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