A new leaf

I gave up drinking alcoholic beverages recently.

Not really.

Instead, I threw away a crutch I’ve leaned on for as long as I can remember.

When I was a little kid, I watched adults around me display emotional conditions that seemed full of fear, frustration and anger, who then poured liquids down their throats that created a general feeling of relaxation all around us.

I wondered what the miracle elixir was that turned cowering creatures into gods and giants of fun and boastful comments.

I snuck sips of their potent potions when they weren’t looking, probably as early as age four.

I drank a whole beer when I was six, the first time I was tipsy (and let’s face it, tipsy IS drunk/inebriated).

Then, as adults held parties in the same house/building where I resided, I poured myself small cups of their bitter concoctions to make myself feel better, forget the bullying of schoolmates and authoritarian rule of my father.

I never thought of myself as an alcoholic.

I went without an alcoholic drink for months at a time.

But never longer than three months.

Is that right?  Was there any time between age 6 and age 53 that I had only four sips of alcohol a year?

Possibly not.

As I grew older, I drank a little more each year, raiding my parents’ and my friends’ parents’ liquor cabinet along with others who enjoyed the warm, gooshy feeling inside, all while singing in the church choir, becoming an Eagle Boy Scout and receiving a full four-year Navy ROTC college scholarship at Georgia Tech.

I hid my drinking the best I could but a few friends knew what I did.

In fact, one colleague in high school nicknamed me Jack Sprite because of my habit of mixing Jack Daniels and Sprite in my school locker in the morning before most kids arrived, sharing my bounty with others who imbibed during their secondary school years.

But I never had a drinking problem.

After all, I earned high grades in school and accolades from my subculture, which seemed to reward my dichotomy of clean-cut boy who partook in approved “bad boy” adult activity from an early age.

To say I’ve stopped drinking is not the truth.

I didn’t stop drinking alcohol.

I gave up dependency on mood-altering substances to substantiate my existence.

I gave up a belief that the rest of the world is normal and I am not.

I shook off the invisible cloak I wore to hide myself from the imaginary unapproving tsk-tsk schoolmarms in my thoughts.

I accepted myself as myself, actually rather normal and sometimes boring, occasionally quirky and misunderstood.

I no longer need alcohol to feel good about myself.

I can still be the sensitive little boy in my thoughts who listens to emotional states that people display in contrast to the words coming out of their mouth, analysing their moods for ways that I can manipulate for personal fun and entertainment.

However, I keep my finger on the chess piece that has some form of our human essence on Mars over 400 Earthyears from now, keeping me from entertaining myself in the moment too much, staying focused on the future.

So, yes, I quit drinking.

But more than that, I quit hiding from myself, letting me be me without the need to use the excuse of inebriation to loosen my inhibitions.

My thoughts are no more absurd than my neighbours’.

Different is good.

It’s perfectly fine to stand on my driveway and listen to the wind through my tinnitus, soaking in the Sun’s rays, letting mosquitoes bite me without the protection of chemical goop, risking tropical diseases for the sake of being able to smell the natural beauty of soil, trees and air.

I am of this planet, this star, this solar system.

I am not separate from it.

This celebration no longer calls for a drink.

I cast aside the subculture that raised me to believe alcohol consumption is the only way to feel good about myself.

I no longer pickle my liver and destroy my brain.

Okay, Nancy, I said no to drugs, including alcohol.  What’s next?

How do I face the world that is often in opposition to my thoughts?

Hmm…first of all, tell myself that there is no world in opposition to my thoughts.

There, that’s better.

I can be polyamorous, monogamous and celibate at the same time, if I want to.

I can carry multiple personalities in my thoughts and be whomever I wish to be at any time.

It’s perfectly normal to laugh at the jokes I’m telling myself in my thoughts.

Good.  Time to move on and take risks creating a new electronic gizmo that ties into my Martian settlements which involve Guin and Lee.


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