I walked into the bar last night and Carlos, the owner, was very proud to show me the bottle of Jack Daniels he had purchased. He doesn't usually stock it because it is so expensive but he knows that is what I like to drink and for the past month I've been having to lower my standards and drink Jim Beam. Then my friend who also loves to drink Jack Daniels ordered each of us a drink. I thought, "What the hell? I'll just have one." I've sung that tune a few too many times. Luckily, I was able to have a quick question and answer session with myself before the drinks got mixed (this is Mexico, they don't do nothin' in a hurry down here). I asked myself why I was ordering that drink and the answer was because someone else expected and wanted me to have that drink. I didn't want it. I really didn't. Plus Gaby, my girl Friday, was giving her designated driver (moi) the evil eye. I cancelled the drink, much to the chagrin of my drinking buddy friend.
Usually, I find that after the first incredulity and shock that I actually turned down a drink, most people lose interest. As long as I'm not bugging them about their drinking, what do they care? This was not the case last night. After several comments and queries, I caved. No, I didn't actually order a drink but I took a few sips of my friend's drink and made comments that I'd probably be off the wagon soon. Just trying to fit in with the in crowd. What the hell? I'm 48, not 14. Was I trying to make them feel better about themselves or was I afraid I wouldn't be included anymore? Blacklisted.
Blacklisted is when somebody gives up drinking and all of a sudden they're not invited to any of the gatherings anymore. They're voted off the island, cast out of the inner circle and ostracized. I've been guilty of doing this myself. One winter we returned to our sailboat in the Bahamas to find that over the summer one of our buddies had gone and sobered up. Well hell, cross him off the sundowners in the cockpit list, we sure are going to miss him. The next winter we came back and he was drinking again.
Why do we do that? The cap'n even suggested that I fake that I'm drinking. He said with my personality most people can't tell the difference when I'm drinking and when I'm not. WWhhaatt?! One of my main purposes for not drinking is so that people don't think of me as a drunk but I should go ahead and act like I'm drinking so all the other drunks will still like me. Just a wee conflict of interest there. No wonder I drink.
I don't have any answers tonight so I guess I'll just figure it out as I go along. Unlike most everybody else at that party last night, I didn't have a hangover today so Na-na-na-na-boo-boo, I'm sticking my tongue out at you. And I didn't have a drink today so no hangover tomorrow either. Now I'm starting to feel almost pious, which may clear up the mystery of why ex-drinkers don't get invited to parties.
So I'm out there doing my best to stand by my convictions and remain my humble self and thanking God for hot packs and broad spectrum antibiotics. (I'll never tell).