A question was posted on facebook today. "If you could rid the world of one thing what would it be?" Before I looked at any of the comments I said to myself - alcohol. As I read the comments there were responses like: hate, war, cancer, abuse, racism, sin, pedophiles. I was feeling chagrined by my answer. It seemed so selfish. Then the last comment from someone else said - alcohol. I pressed like. Then I typed my answer.
So many people I love, and others I know, struggle, or have struggled with alcohol. My mother was an alcoholic, probably too was my father and grandfather. My husband drinks wine almost daily. Both of my children have had their struggles with alcohol.
I have a visceral reaction when I hear the cork come out of a bottle, or the sound of liquor being poured over ice. Some of the meanest things my mother ever said to me were when she was drinking. Some of the worst fights I heard my mother and father have were while they were drunk. All of my most shameful moments were while I was drunk.
I can't bear being around people when they are obviously under the influence. It is my cue to leave the party, the pub, the 'action', when words are slurred, voices are raised, or stumbling begins.
This is not to say that I do not enjoy a glass of wine from time to time. I do. Although as I age I enjoy it less and usually one glass is enough to give me a headache the next day. I have become intolerant to alcohol - literally.
So this seems all about me, and not about the world at all. However, still and all, I think the world would be a better place without alcohol, or any of its substitutes.
I woke up this morning to the news talking about the legalisation of pot in Washington state. Just what we need, I thought, another legal substance that will take people. t
Take them away from themselves, their loved ones, the world.
Everyone medicates themselves I have heard it said. Drugs, food, alcohol, running, swimming, meditating, yoga, anti-depressants. Everyone medicates themselves is true. But not every medication causes violence, estrangement, abuse, broken families and heartbreak. I suppose most do if taken to extremes. Alcoholics, yogaholics, foodaholics, zenaholics....I suppose they do.
But this post is about alcohol.
I know it is a disease. I understand that, I really do. And it is just as frustrating for me that someone with a physical ailment won't go to the doctor as it is that a person abusing alcohol won't seek help.
I know it is their choice, not mine. I know it is about free-will, not my will. I know it is often none of my f#@$king business.
I know that.
But how I feel? That is something else entirely.
I once said to a very close friend, one of the few I talk to about this, is that I wished that just once someone would choose me over alcohol.
I talk to myself about this a lot. Is this what my life lesson is this time around? Am I atoning for a past life when the shoe was on the other foot, the bottle in my hand?
I can only surmise. I can only practise seeing God in the other. I can only do what I can do.
So I set my boundaries. I remove myself from situations I find uncomfortable and delight in situations where I find alcohol is consumed lightly or not at all.
This is such a personal thing to write.
But today is that day.