Claire F. / 217 Days
There are six bottles of unopened beer in my refrigerator
that have been sitting there for nearly two weeks. A glass shelf in my dining room displays four unopened bottles of wine nestled neatly on perfectly curved wire racks. They have been there since I moved in with my boyfriend three months ago. He just poured a bottle of spoiled wine down the drain of our kitchen sink—save the one glass he actually drank! I live with a normie who has an odd habit of wasting perfectly good alcohol.
For the past 11 years, I have either been in or around, sobriety. I have lived with normies nearly the whole time. Normies are people who drink alcohol without blackouts or embarrassment. They are the type of people who don’t panic when their buzz starts to wear off. They are the type of people who have never had the morning shakes. They have never had hangovers so debilitating, the emergency room seems like the most logical way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
I cannot shelter myself from alcohol, as much as I would like to do so. I have to learn to live around it and among it, but not in it or with it. I don’t believe that my boyfriend’s bottles are going to trigger me to drink, as controversial as that sounds. At any given time, I have all the tools I need to relapse. I have a state ID with a legal-to-buy birthdate. I have a debit card with a marginal amount of money on it. I have a car to drive to the liquor store. I have what it takes to get drunk, trigger or not.
I also have what it takes to stay sober. I have tools for living. I have a cell phone with plenty of sober women’s phone numbers saved into my contacts. I have a car to drive to meetings. I have a Higher Power to vent to, to ask for guidance from, and to seek out for comfort. I have what it takes, either way, drunk or sober.
Alcoholics live in a strange world of normal drinkers. My boyfriend still has the privilege of drinking. He earned it through reasonable and socially acceptable behavior around alcohol. I lost the privilege of drinking. There is a clear demarkation in our conduct regarding consumption. I have to recognize, metabolize, and accept this fact. I live as an alcoholic in a world of normies. I am the foreigner in this world, not the other way around.
I live with a normie and his unopened bottles of alcohol. I also live with the tools to not drink the contents of those bottles. Those two conditions, the being around alcohol and the not drinking it, can and do live in harmony today. The key to staying sane amongst the normies is to accept that I am not a normie. I am a true-blue alcoholic. I am a true-blue, sober alcoholic. I live in a world of normal drinkers, and I am not one of them.
Claire F. has been “in or around” sobriety for nearly 11 years. Her current sobriety date is July 14, 2016. In 11 years, she has learned that the party truly starts when sobriety begins. Sobriety is a “bridge back to life,” and she works hard at bridging the gap between newly sober and functioning adult. As a former marketing director, political hack, and mental health volunteer, Claire can’t really decide what she wants to be when she grows up. She now splits her time between recovery from alcoholism, recovery from schizoaffective disorder, and all the other rich beautiful life stuff. For more information and vlogs about her recovery from her mental health woes, visit her YouTube channel, Mental Health Mondays.