I’ve never had diet coke before, certainly not in a restaurant with a bunch of friends celebrating a birthday. This is exactly what I did a couple of days ago and man, does it feel good and more importantly reassuring.
Good because I had diet coke instead of an alcoholic beverage (funny how they use this fancy description for booze on airplanes. Why cant they say “Hey, the booze cart’s coming out, do you want a beer?”) while the six gents around me were getting into beers and shots. I didn’t succumb to the temptation of having “one” and that felt good. In fact, I also for the first time enjoyed an awesome arugula salad. Maybe arugula salads are always awesome and I was simply focussing on alcohol before. Who knows.
Reassured since I was worried about how this thing will play out. Will I succumb to my brain’s need for alcohol, will I get “persuaded” to have that one drink? In typical fashion, I didn’t even have a game plan for what I would do if such a situation arose and so by the time we reached the restaurant, I was feeling out of sorts. In the end it worked out well and I actually didn’t feel the urge to drink and funny enough I didn’t ‘miss’ having a drink.
Which brings me to the minefield that is society and friends, when it comes to a recovering alcoholic. In this context, friends fall into three categories.
- First, the ones that think you should be drinking. These are the ones you used to hang out with. Often late into the night, driving them back to safety (since you could hold your drink better etc. etc.) . They miss those times and they care about spending time with you. These are the folks who will say “How long do you plan to not drink” or “It’s good, you should give it a break for a couple of months”.
- Second, the ones that think you should not be drinking. These are the ones that are very clear about why you should not drink. They might have seen you go out of control, are generally alarmed at what you are doing etc. They care about you, are more mature than the first group and they protect your decision to not drink. These are the folks who’ll say “Good dont drink”. They’ll also tell the first group to stop persuading you to drink.
- Third, and these are the worst of the lot. They don’t or can’t understand what this is all about or they simply don’t care. These are the ones that say “what’s wrong with having a drink. Why, I have a drink every day and nothing’s wrong with me”. This crowd is basically saying “I’am better than you” and that sucks. It sucks since you are trying not to think about a beer but deep down, you still miss the beer. It also sucks since they are a living testament that somethings wrong with you and that you cannot control your drinking.
And what about the society? I just had a manager tell me something on the lines of : “You should connect with those guys from the other department. Take them to the bar and buy them a couple of drinks”. Damn, if I get started on that path, I will soon lose my job. Roll into safeway and I’ll see a bunch of booze stocked at the entrance, next to the BBQ supplies. Now, I like BBQ but…
The other day, I saw a couple of teenage girls pour a hearty amount of rum into their water bottles, hide the 1.5 litre captain morgan in the bushes. In broad daylight. In a busy shopping area. Hoping to come back for a refill later. I sometimes think it’s better to be diabetic than an alcoholic. People get it if you say “Cant do cakes, I’am diabetic”. What we need is better awareness about alcohol. Till this happens, I’ll have a diet coke.