The final drink. A lot of “quit lit” talks about the final drink. The author gives you instructions at the end of their book, saying to pour yourself a neat whiskey, vodka, whatever you prefer, and then do a ceremony of sorts and take this final drink while swearing an oath aloud that this’ll be the last alcohol you’ll have in your lifetime.
I mean, really. How does the drinker know this? How can they honestly promise to NEVER EVER have a drop of alcohol in the remaining twenty, thirty, forty, who knows fifty years of their life? Not one toast at their daughter’s wedding? Not one shot at their father’s funeral? Not one glass of wine on their 25th wedding anniversary? Nada? Nothing? Isn’t it pretty much setting yourself up for failure, and then what, you prove to yourself that you can’t be trusted, that your promises mean shit? And you feel even lousier?
I’ve never done this “final drink.” Obviously. When I’ve gotten to that place in the books, it’s usually at a time when I’ve gone a number of days without alcohol, and I don’t want to fuck it up. I read through these paragraphs about the “rite,” about smelling the liquor, holding that heavy glass in your hand, sipping it slowly, yadda, yadda, yadda, and all it does is make me long for multiple drinks. I have to SKIP PAST this section in these books.
Well, so, I’m having a drink right now. My final? Who the hell knows. I hope. I went seventeen days without a single drink once we got back from Breckenridge. Even made it through Rob’s birthday weekend; made it through this Friday night (with having the day off from work). I was on a good dry streak, but feeling… shaky. Sitting courtside on Friday at my son’s tennis tournament after his win–a super close match–all I could think about was the potential of allowing myself a cocktail when we got home. I could SEE it in my mind. I knew which one I craved, a whiskey and diet. Somehow, somehow, I managed to claw my way through the night without giving in. What didn’t help? My husband savoring a neat whiskey sitting next me on the couch. But I did it. I went to bed, slightly annoyed (because he was drinking and I was not, and I saw no point in his drinking since we weren’t doing anything, anyway); I thought, shouldn’t this be one of “those” weekend nights where he helps me out and just doesn’t drink, what he said he would do for me?
So yeah, I made it through Friday and woke up Saturday morning hung-over free of course; which is always a nice feeling and earns me brownie points in the sober social world. But I also woke up to a husband who got very little sleep, who had been up since 4:00 AM, and who was looking for action between the sheets. I was so annoyed? Frustrated? Uninterested? I basically whipped off my pajamas and told him to get it over with (lol). I was not in the mood. I was tired. I could have slept in more. I was thinking how selfish it was of him–just because he couldn’t sleep (due to his drinking the night before), he had to wake me up early so he could have an orgasm.
Saturday, my son was back on the court. ALL DAY. We left the house around 7:00 AM and didn’t leave the tennis center until 5:30 PM. My son had another good day, finishing out strong in doubles. I was proud of him. Excited for him. Things were starting to click into place for him with this sport. Throughout the day, thoughts of alcohol came and went. I knew we’d eventually have to pick up my daughter from my mother-in-law’s, and I knew my mother-in-law would offer us a drink. Her husband always keeps a good whiskey on hand. Once again, I was back to picturing my favorite cocktail in my mind. After such a long, fun day of watching my son play tennis, all the highs and lows, all the sun and fun, I sooooooooooo longed to wind down on my mother-in-law’s couch with a strong drink in hand. Just like I knew she’d offer the drink, I knew that Rob would accept, and I just…. I just couldn’t picture myself strong enough to turn her offer down. I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to go another weekend night watching my husband drink and not being right there with him. On the same plane.
Because I really think that’s what I’m figuring out with all of my attempts at TOTAL abstinence. I can do so many days on my own, get even back-to-back weeks in, but I eventually hit a wall. And that wall is… Rob. When he is drinking on the weekends, and I am not, I’m quickly tired, frustrated, annoyed, and even a touch depressed at how different our nights end up being. Once the dinner hour passes, I’m very well aware that anything I say to my husband, anything I want to discuss, he will NOT remember the next day, nor will he be able to reason with. Because our workweek with the kids’ sports is always so full, it’s the weekends we should be able to relax and get caught up with one another. Have serious talks if needed. But Friday through Sunday, anytime after 6:30 PM, I know that it’s pointless to bring stuff up. If Rob does pay attention, he’s not thinking clearly. It’s like he’s trying to pay attention because he can sense my irritation.
I don’t know how people do this; I don’t know how you cut alcohol out of your life for good if the person you’re married to is married to alcohol? How do I convince myself that I can have just as good as time, if not a better time, not drinking at social outings if the person who always rides shotgun in my car, the person who is my dinner date, the person I get laid by every weekend night, is a person who drinks as soon as 4:00 PM hits and doesn’t quit until it’s time to get under the covers? I’m sure there are some people who would argue, well that’s when you’re given the opportunity to recognize how good YOU have it by not drinking. Witnessing your husband’s boozy behavior is a constant reminder that you’re better off without alcohol. And I wish it was this easy. I wish that I could view Rob’s drinking as something so unappealing I would never think about joining in. But the thing is, is that I love my husband. It’s not like he’s cruel when he drinks. It’s not like he abandons his family, hangs out with friends at some bar, becomes a tyrant, etc. He’s fine for the most part. But when I go too many dry days in a row, when I feel so far apart from him (not on his same plane), I feel a distance wedge between us. He’s not aware of it, but I am. It’s inside my head. It’s knocking on my heart. It’s in all my journal entries which I will NEVER share with him.
How do I do this? How to I manage to keep on track? How do I go the distance?