One of the most vivid memories of growing up involved my extended Italian family, most particularly, my cousin’s husband. My cousin married a non-Italian, and, as it eventually turned out, he was an alcoholic. Through lots of hard work and dedication, he became abstinent, and went on to inspire – perhaps even save – many other people in similar situations.
When the family got together, Big D would pour a soda into an old-fashioned glass with ice, and hang onto it for dear life. No one commented on his choice of beverage, of course, and we knew it was important to him that he not stand out. But, with a teenager’s fascination, I watched him move in and out of family groups, generally avoiding loud discussions and the table where the liquor was, and eating pretzel rods. By the way, there was ALWAYS a separate table with soda and soft drinks a bit of a distance from the liquor table – that was just the way we did things.
As my own journey progressed, I evolved a similar strategy – holding onto a drink for dear life, avoiding tense situations and food, and doing my best to work the room.
It’s only been recently that I’ve connected the two strategies. Let me tell you, though, it’s a heck of a lot easier to avoid liquor than to avoid food! But that’s why we need to recognize situations that can set us off, that cue us to eat things that we would be better off avoiding.
Nowadays, though, I’ve added a twist. My knitting is always with me. Something simple, mindless, and very portable, but it’s there. I don’t always dive for it, but it’s a comfort to know that I can keep my hands busy no matter what.
The simplest solution, though, is to grab onto a beverage and hang onto it.
Thank you, Big D!!