Seeing how last week was Thanksgiving, I’m guessing some of you are still trying to figure out what to do with all the weird leftovers that you haven’t gobbled up yet (I’d also wager half of you ate pie for breakfast Friday morning and had turkey sandwiches for lunch and dinner). That Tupperware filled with half eaten stuffing isn’t going anywhere, buddy; time to make the call: eat it or toss it.
If your Thanksgiving Day is anything like my family’s, it involves drinking heavily. Not because we can’t stand each other, but because I was raised in a family of drinkers. My mom has wine every night, my brother brews his own beer (he’s got a batch of Vanilla Porter going right now that I can’t wait to try) and my stepdad makes it a point to talk everyone in the family into as many shots of tequila as he can anytime we get together. In short, Thanksgiving Day is usually a hangover waiting to happen.
But this year I wasn’t drinking. This is quite possibly the stupidest decision I have ever made in my life. It started with the fact that I volunteered to bring beer to dinner since everyone was doing so much. So what do I do? I buy a mixed pack from my favorite local brewery, Great Divide. Then I show up to dinner 4 hours early to “help get ready” (What I actually did was fall asleep on the couch for 2 hours while watching football).
The whole time I’m getting ready for dinner, this case of beer just stares at me. Beckoning me to it. If it hadn’t been for my mom giving me the disappointed mother stare, I would have downed three on the spot. But the disappointed mother stare (or DMS) could stop a herd of charging buffalo and make them turn around and clean their rooms, so I didn’t have anything to drink. I was, however, cranky for a good portion of the night.
Until my brother got wasted on white wine while playing Cards Against Humanity. A word of advice, when your ex-stand-up-comedian brother is drunk, the best thing to do is just let him go off on any topic he wants. The resulting rants will be absolutely priceless.
And so my Thanksgiving passed and I remained sober. Until Saturday, when I had yet another family gathering with extending family in from out of town. The minute I pulled up, all I could think was, “Shit. I want a drink. Again.”
It was then I made the smartest and most shameful decision I’ve ever made in my life (besides that one time when I got married). I went to the liquor store, walked to the back and bought nonalcoholic beer.
Go ahead, judge me all you want. I can guarantee you that you can’t make me feel any worse than I felt buying it. I was hemming and hawing all through the purchase. Making excuses to the cashier for buying it (like he cared, it was still money in his pocket).
But here’s the thing: it worked. Just having something in my hand that looked and felt like beer (albeit the shittiest beer ever) tricked my mind just enough so that I wasn’t this antsy, cranky little recluse in the corner pouting about not being able to drink. And you know what, I would do it again. Yeah, you read that right. I would do it again.
The biggest thing that I’ve learned over the last four torturous weeks is that I don’t really need alcohol. But I sure as shit love it. For some reason, booze had become a crutch for me over the last several months and that’s not really how I want to roll. This month I learned that I’m still the same outgoing, funny, weird chick even without alcohol and it was a nice thing to realize.
Come Saturday, I’ll be chomping at the bit to have a drink while I’m out on the particularly nice evening planned for just the occasion. But in the future I have to remember that I’m drinking to enjoy the drink, not drinking to socialize or drinking to drown sorrows or deal with stress.
I’m thankful that Denver off the Wagon is here to remind me of what a vibrant community we have in Denver, filled with new and delicious boozes for me to try so that I can continue to enjoy my drinks with each and every one of you.
And now that I’ve tied that all up with a nice little “warm fuzzies” bow, I’ll be tying one on all weekend, so if I see you on Saturday or Sunday, I apologize in advance. I’ll be drunk.