Understanding a recovering drunk isn’t always easy, unless you happen to be one of us. We get each other without uttering a word. We’ve been there, made all of the excuses, and lived to laugh about how stupid we were….
Here’s all you need to know about a recovering alcoholic or addict: Once a pickle, always a pickle. Much as we’d like, there’s no going back to being a cucumber. It just is what it is.
Oh sure, we can tap-dance around alcohol. We can play footsies with it… We can even pretend with so-called “near-beer”. To me, there isn’t much funnier than a newly recovering alcoholic flummoxed by their decision to drink a six pack of O’Doul’s, as if it was water.
The only trouble is, who in their right mind sits down to watch TV and hammers through a six-pack of water? How about a twelver of Mountain Dew?
Nobody. Ever. Near-beer, near death.
Once a pickle, always a pickle. You can pretty it up with nice language, you can call the recovery “evidence based” even when there’s no evidence it works at all, but when you boil all of the BS out, it’s just pickles living with being a pickle.
Oh, and one final point to put a bow on this post, on the near beer front: Read the fine print. It’s not alcohol free (less than 1/2% alcohol by volume) and if you’re delusional enough to believe that a half-percent doesn’t matter, well come back and tell me I’m wrong after the relapse. The body and mind remember. Do the math. 1/2% alcohol by volume over a six pack, you’re at 3% or half a beer (and several trips to the bathroom). That’s more than enough to set off the craving in any ex-drunk.
I know this to be true. 24 years ago I had 1-1/2 O’Doul’s at a friend’s birthday party. I was seconds away from a full-blown relapse when I set that half-finished O’Doul’s down and made a beeline for the door. I can still remember the fear. That was the first time I’d ever left half of anything sitting on the table. Because I am, and always will be, a pickle.