An Alcoholic’s Dream
I recently attended the “event of the year”. It was the annual Cancer Ball. Men were in black tie, women in ball gowns and fancy dresses. Bejeweled and bedazzled embellishments were everywhere. Champagne sparkled, beside martinis, red and white wine were set along side every imaginable drink and was all at an open bar. This really was an alcoholic’s dream.
Who Will Know
On entering the reception area, pixie teens in vintage gowns served the martinis aside the champagne in fancy fluted glasses, while servers in white gloves floated through the crowd with hors d’oeuvres. The thought had crossed my mind that I could reach out and grab one of those martinis. Look how happy everyone was that had a martini. I could be one of them. I could be festive and happy and drinking champagne and meeting new and charming people. It wouldn’t hurt just for one night. Who would know?
I told my husband that I was thirsty and asked him to get me a cranberry and ginger ale. He looked around, puzzled as to which way to go in the crowd. We had just met a great couple, and the woman offered to get “in line” with me at the bar. I told her I didn’t drink and she said, “Oh good. Neither do I.” I could have cried. Although she wasn’t an alcoholic like me; she was a social drinker who maybe enjoyed one drink. (While I can’t even imagine having just one drink in an evening, I mean what would be the point?) She was so happy that she had met someone at their table that wasn’t going to drink all night. We got in the line at the bar together and ordered a few soft drinks.
I started to feel a little better about being sober even though I was at the event of the season without a drink in my hand. (did I mention there was an open bar)? I decided to make the most of it. The food kept me entertained as they served a 6 course meal that was out of this world. A live band lead off the entertainment complete with a 20 piece orchestra and fantastic singers that encouraged all to join in on the dance floor. There they were, all those people who were drinking the champagne and the martinis, having so much fun on the dance floor. My husband and I danced a few times, but it really wasn’t that exciting. That’s not even nice to say, but I was really finding it difficult to have fun without drinking. So once again, I started feeling a little sorry for myself, but decided to get over it. I sought out the silent auction and the art gallery that the committee had set up.
The night was a success. The organizers raised a few million dollars for cancer research. I had met some really great people at our table and I didn’t have to drink any alcohol. There was one couple at our table that I hadn’t had a chance to really talk to. As the evening wound down, I decided to go and sit beside the woman and introduce myself. She asked me “So where are you from?” I told her. She asked me “So where is your husband’s business?” I told her. We talked about kids for a few minutes and as the first part of our conversation wrapped up, she asked me “So where are you from?” I told her again. She asked me “So where is your husband’s business?” I took a long hard look at her and realized that this woman was in a blackout. She seemed completely normal. Her words were slightly slurred as she finished off the bottle of red wine, but she really was sincere in asking me those same questions about 8 more times.
That’s the moment that I became grateful – grateful that I had made a choice and didn’t have to drink alcohol. If I had grabbed a martini as I entered the ballroom, I could have easily become that woman. I wouldn’t have even known if I was having fun. I wouldn’t even remember who I had met or who I had talked to or what I might have said. It’s true that for me, life isn’t as exciting as it once was with alcohol. Alcohol gave me such highs (and such lows), that ordinary now seems dull. But ordinary is a whole lot better than being deadened by alcohol or turning into my alter ego. In Canada, October is not only Breast Cancer Awareness month, but when we celebrate Thanksgiving. I am very thankful that I was able to support cancer research, and thankful that I did it sober.