by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Grapevine : December 2011
F or most of my twenty-three years with the company I worked for, I had managed to get drunk at the annual Christ- mas party, and my good wife always had to drive us home. For reasons I now don’t remember, I decided to go to this party the day I got out of treatment. May- be it was an ego thing. My wife picked me up, and we arrived at around 7:30, with the party and the open bar in full swing. Quite a few of the gang reminded me of myself at previous parties. Most people treated me in a friendly fashion, while a couple of people took the time to ask me some ques- tions about treatment. Jack, who was pretty much in his cups, put his arm around my shoulder and with great sadness said, “What do we say to you now that you can’t drink?” I guess in Jack’s mind, if I didn’t drink, I might as well be dead. (During my drink- ing career, I’m sure I often had a similar thought.) But the boss’s wife said to me, “You’re a pretty nice guy when you don’t drink.” but no larger for two to sit comfort- ably. The other couples ordered more drinks and several bottles of wine. The lights in the room sparkled in the wineglasses. Our table was crowded with highballs and wineglasses. My level of discomfort increased dramati- cally as the alcohol stench overpow- ered the smell of my food. The grand dame of the party kept asking me, “Why don’t you have a drink, honey?” “No thank you, I’m fine,” I replied. A little while later, she would start in on me again, “I bet you’d loosen up a little if you had a drink, dear.” My gut was so tense, because the booze was so close to my reach. I ordered another glass of water from the waiter even though he thought my one should have been sufficient. I wanted two water glasses plus the salt and pepper shakers and my hus- band’s water glass, and the other couples’ water glasses (they weren’t drinking water anyway) to surround my 10 inches of safe area. I had creat- ed a Maginot line against the invasion of any glass of booze within the radius of my elbow’s reach. I prayed to God: “Puleeze keep me sober tonight! This is beyond me—give me strength.” It worked; I stayed sober, but not without finally hissing at the drunk- en grand dame with her last remark about my being such a party pooper. I still had much to learn about toler- ance. (We haven’t been invited back to any of their Christmas parties either.) It was with much resolve that I told my husband, “I will not do this again. You will just have to find some- one else to accompany you to these parties.” I realized that may have meant “license” to him, but I didn’t A WhAle of A Time RepRinted fRom GRapevine maGazine, decembeR 2002 26 December 2011 GRAPE_25-27.indd 26 10/28/11 2:23 PM