Whew. That was tough. A dear friend’s cousin had passed away. Months ago. Today, friends and family gathered in a local tavern to remember and celebrate his life. I had been invited to bless the ashes. Although I’ve never been quite sure what such a blessing is supposed to accomplish, I was more than happy to oblige. Anyway, I went knowing that this would be the first pastoral act of any sort I had done since rehab. It was also going to be the first significant chunk of time I spent in a tap room as well.
Of course I wanted a drink. Not because I wanted to consume alcohol for alcohol’s sake, but simply because a cocktail would have given (at least me) the illusion of my somehow fitting in with this crowd of strangers. Or, maybe it had more to do with my wishing I could somehow transport myself back to a time when holding a wine glass was second nature. I opted for a tall glass of club soda instead and settled in against the wall and out of the way.
Now, I’ve been in pubs since getting sober. For whatever reason, cheeseburgers just taste better in places that also happen to have a liquor license. And I certainly have been to people’s homes for dinner and the like where alcohol and wine have been served. Today was different. I tried to look like everything was perfectly okay. But it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong. I was there for all the right reasons and I would do it all over again. It was just tough.
I can understand why some people in recovery go (what seems to me anyway) a bit overboard with their involvement in AA. AA comes with a whole new set of friends and oodles of meetings and activities to keep one out and about and social. I don’t want a new set of AA friends though. I love the friends I’ve got and, even if I wanted to make new ones, I’d rather those friendships develop out of shared interests and hobbies. I want more out of life than to live and breathe AA.
I do realize all this has everything to do with me and little if anything to do with anyone else. I know no one pays attention to what anyone else is drinking. And, so long as the bartender gets a tip, she or he doesn’t care either. There is absolutely nothing weird about not drinking and I love everything about my life as a sober woman. I guess it’s just that I would give anything if my life could be all that it is becoming without my having to bear the stigma of being an alcoholic.
But that’s just how I’m feeling right now in this moment. The sun will set and Christ will rise and everything will be brand new all over again. Now that I’ve actually typed these words, they are already beginning to look quite petty and ridiculous. Still, such were my feelings and the words were true, even if only for an instant, and above all things, I am trying to be more honest these days. So there you have it. The pickled pastor pastored in a pickle shop today. Now, what do ya think of that?