On Wednesday I posted about how, through a combination of a corporate rule change and a zealous clerk, Enterprise Rent-a-car managed to keep my wife and I from attending the “life celebration” of my wife’s cousin. What I didn’t tell you at the time was that the very next day was my 18th wedding anniversary with my wife. Because of the extreme pain that I was in from the walk home, I was able to do nothing with my wife to celebrate the day – except aggravate one of my greatest ongoing concerns.
Let me back up the story. Back when I was 16 years old, my parents split up, and as the oldest child of the family (someone at constant odds with both parents) I took their split very hard. In fact, at the time, I took it as my own personal responsibility even though there was nothing I could do to undo it. Choosing to move in with my father, and the woman who eventually became my step-mother, I found that I had a ready access to alcohol. Of course, I also knew that they monitored the liquor supply in the house – what responsible parent wouldn’t? But with an IQ of 149, I’m nothing if not an efficient problem solver. So, at 16 I started drinking hard liquor. Gin, whiskey, tequila, even Everclear. I just consumed it in small quantities so the adjustments werren’t quickly noticed.
Eventually, I was caught. No plan devised by a 16 y/o is fool-proof. But, by then I had built up enough of a tolerance to liquor that I could consume quite a lot without losing all control. My dad was concerned that I was an alcoholic, and on an intellectual level I had to grant that while I still felt I had control, it could be possible that the alcohol was deceiving me. So, I quit, cold-turkey to assert my dominance over the possibility of dependence.
But, at the age of 17.5, I graduated from high school and reported to active duty in the US Army – where the accepted and normal way to spend off-duty time was in the copious consumption of alcohol. Once again, the ugly specter of alcoholism reared it’s ugly head. Mind you – I have never joined any sort of support group, nor have I every cried uncle when challenged by this foe, but my real point here is that this has been a demon I’ve kept a watchful eye on ever since.
I never quit drinking. I also never allowed alcohol to wrest control from me. But at times, it has felt like a high-wire act to keep a balance between the ability to consume versus the effects of the consumption. Never has that been more obvious to me than yesterday – when I wanted to be sober enough to enjoy our anniversary with my wife, but literally needed all of the pain relief I could get. All because of what happened in my interaction with Enterprise Rent-a-car the day before.
We (my wife and I) ended up spending the day watching a marathon of season 1 of the Supergirl CW TV series, with her adding a shot of whiskey to every cup of my coffee. But it upsets me that I was, once again, put in a position of feeling like I had to be mindful of that .