by Susan La Scala Wood
If you’ve never admitted you’re an alcoholic, does that mean you never were? I only ask because back in my college days (okay, and those last two years of high school, too), I may have been known to “throw back a few.” I’m talking the cheap stuff (usually a choice between Tickled Pink champagne, Captain Morgan and Natural Light beer), but only because we couldn’t afford the good stuff.
Not that we would have known the difference. Back then, it wasn’t about savoring a fine wine so much as it was about getting shit-faced (for lack of a better term).
I say “we” because drinking always happened in a group. “We” decided what “we” would drink not to mention who would buy it (which generally involved a silky blouse and a boatload of makeup). “We” was comfortable. If we got drunk, got sick and woke up not really remembering a whole lot, we did it together. And not one of us ever raised the concern that we might be alcoholics. After all, don’t alcoholics drink alone, in the coat closet, the basement, the laundry room? And, it’s not like any of us could have downed a fifth of vodka like Meg Ryan did in “When a Man Loves a Woman.” We couldn’t even imagine it.
No. We needed mixers, big time. Plus, we could stop. At any time. Well, unless we were at a party and we spotted our crush. Then, stopping might be a little out of our control. But otherwise, sure, we could slam on the brakes, put the cap back on the wine cooler and go on home.
So were we alcoholics? Some might say “yes.” Some might say “no.” I guess what I say is, “Does it matter?” Eighteen was half my life ago. I’m a very different drinker now, and I didn’t get there by standing in front of an audience of alcohol abusers, abstaining entirely, or following twelve steps. That’s not to say I didn’t have a problem with alcohol. I think not remembering the events of one night is a problem. And I’d admit to blanking many more times than that. But somehow I changed course, we changed course, without trying too hard. I think what happened is we grew up. We realized we didn’t like feeling like crap, saying stupid things, having regrets. We realized a fine wine paired with the right cheese beats beer through a funnel any day. We realized who we were and that we no longer needed a numbing security blanket.
I never admitted to being an alcoholic, and I’m not sure that means I never was. But where I am in my life right now, I’m not sure I care.
Susan La Scala Wood is an award-winning advertising copywriter. She is currently working on her second novel, and has high hopes for getting this one published. If she does, she will celebrate with a bottle of Prosecco, with friends, of course.