This time last week, we were one day away from heading to New York City to see friends and family and to go to Hamilton on Broadway. We purchased the tickets months ago and had been so looking forward to seeing it live. Dr Marry hadn’t been to NYC since 2002, and he had never been there at Christmas time, the most magical time of the year in the city. We were both looking forward to the trip.
But my brother called to say that Hamilton had been closed much of last week because of a COVID outbreak in the cast and crew. In fact, a number of shows had cancelled. We had been watching the news on Omicron and had some trepidation about going, but this felt like a clear sign we needed to reconsider the trip. So on Thursday afternoon, Dr Marry and I took a gamble that Hamilton would be closed this week, too, and cancelled our trip.
On Monday of this week, I got an email saying that our tickets were going to be fully refunded because of the cancellation. As an aside and from the role of my day job as an arts advocate, the big Broadway shows are losing on average $300,000 per week from shutdowns from this new variant. How in the world will it ever recover??? What will happen to the performing arts across the country as COVID and all its variants persists?
We decided to make the best of this forced staycation by doing two things: 1) we had talked about trying cross country skiing for a couple of years. On Monday, we went and bought kits from a used sporting goods store. We’re committed to going every day this week, and so far, it’s been fabulous! We aren’t very good (no kidding!), but we’re having an incredibly good time. It helps that the weather has been perfect: a fair amount of snow and good temperatures. We’re lucky to live in a community with lots of well groomed trails at all the parks and public golf courses, so we have many tracks to try out.
And 2) we decided to go to a different bar every afternoon and have drinks because that’s what we often do when we’re in England. It’s so fun to stop in and have one glass of wine around 3pm, so we’re doing that here, too. Dr Marry is having NA beers or mocktails, and I’m either joining him in the mocktail world or having something with some alcohol in it, depending on what strikes my fancy. We’ve had a good time trying out places we’ve never been before based on the recommendation of others who are also not drinking alcohol but enjoy the social aspect of bars.
Both of these activities have helped to make this week feel like a real vacation, despite the fact that we’re waking up in our own bed every morning.
So I was shocked to read this post from my memories on Facebook this morning:
Five years ago, Dec 23, 2016. Things were bad at my house; not abusive bad, but bad all the same. I had a husband who only went out if it meant ending up at a bar, so I adapted and bated him to engage by always making sure we ended up somewhere like this.
I hated many aspects of my life; I was desperately disconnected from the man I had chosen to be part of my son’s and my life. I knew there was a massive impediment I couldn’t identify in our way that was ruining us both. It felt like a boulder on my chest almost all the time.
When this memory popped up on FB this morning, I was aghast to read what I wrote. Starting this holiday right??? This wouldn’t have been the first whiskey drunk that day because by this point in his alcoholic journey, Dr Marry was drinking straight shots in the morning.
This would, however, have been the only public drink anyone saw him consume that day because he knew how to hide his drinking when we were out.
While I couldn’t articulate that it was his consumption of alcohol that was the boulder on us both, I had an inkling that it was a real piece of the problem. And yet, this is what I chose to write. I chose to “normalize” our experience with alcohol, despite the fact that it was anything but normal, so that we could fit in, so that we could be one of those cool, young, empty-nester couples who gets to go to fancy places for a drink anytime we want.
I obviously had no way of knowing this, but in five short weeks, our lives were going to turn utterly upside down; first for what felt like the worse and then for what can only be described as brilliantly better.
If alcohol is ruining your life or the life of someone you love, I implore you to get real about it and find help to overcome it. I promise you there is an abundance on the other side of drinking to excess. There can still be trips to fancy bars and fun holiday drinks to order. But there’s also human connection, real engagement and a healthy, joyful life.
Find more inspiration at Daily Dose of Dr Marry & DD on Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube on T & Th mornings at 8:30am CST. We’re sharing our story and the stories of others to help you change and save yours, too.
#dailydose #normalizeNAdrinking #NoMoreShame
Photo Caption: Drinking two outstanding mocktails, both made with Seedlip NA spirits at Luna in Fargo. Notice how similar my mocktail looks to Dr Marry’s whiskey sour from all those years ago? If you’re nervous about what others will think of you if you aren’t drinking, realize that many NA drinks absolutely look like “real” drinks. In fact, Dr Marry sometimes worries about ordering a mocktail for that very reason: what if the bartender confuses the mocktail with a real one, and he wouldn’t know until he took a drink? It’s a consideration to make, but don’t let it keep you from trying one out.