Because my son lives with me and is on intensive supervised release for a 50-month prison sentence, I am not allowed to have alcohol in my house. Or drugs. Or weapons. But I wouldn’t even know where to get my hands on either of those.
I have to admit I was worried that I couldn’t do it—not have alcohol in my home. Over many years I had developed some habits. Living alone, there was no one to question them.
It went like this: I would get home and have a beer or a glass of wine. Then another one, and sometimes another one. Especially if I was into some TV show, it was easy to just keep the wine bottle on the table next to me so I wouldn’t have to get up and walk to the fridge for a refill.
This was my habit almost every night, except for the occasional night I went out for happy hour, which just involved a different venue.
So I really wondered—what will I do—now that I can’t drink at home? Was I really an alcoholic after all? Would I sneak alcohol into the house? Drink it in my car in the parking lot? Would I stoop, literally, to drinking in the unheated, spider-web-filled basement? Would I be going to happy hour seven nights a week? Would I start stuffing my face with cookies or driving out to Mystic Lake Casino to gamble, as a substitute? Would I go through withdrawal? Would I have to check into Hazelden and if so, could I get a family discount since my dad, Vince, and however many cousins were alumni?
I had a notion that this could be an opportunity, but I didn’t know for what.
It’s been three months since Vince was released. Not drinking in my home has not been a problem. I joined a private club that’s a block from my house with the idea that I could amble over and have a few cups of cheer without having to drive home. It’s a nice place but I learned that I don’t like going to the same place all the time, so I dropped my membership after a few months.
I haven’t gone wild with cravings. I haven’t snuck alcohol into the house except once or twice, when I stopped at home to change in between the liquor store and going out to a dinner party. I am not aware that I’m eating any more. Once in a while I do wish that I could watch my favorite TV program and have a glass of wine, but it’s not a huge deal. I have enjoyed going out for happy hour twice a week or so, with different friends to different places. I have also found myself shopping more, but that could be because I just bought a new house and I need stuff.
But here’s the unexpected result: I’ve lost five pounds without even trying! I can only assume it’s from all the alcohol calories I’ve passed up. I’ve tracked my drinks and calculated that I’ve foregone over 8,000 calories since Vince moved in. Thank you, Vince! I’m probably not watching as much TV, either, because without my sedative of choice I don’t get lulled into a stupor in front of the boob tube.
When Vince mentioned last week that he had a lead on a house share situation, I had mixed feelings. I was happy for him but worried about myself—would I quickly revert to my former habits? Maybe I could keep up a self-imposed ban on alcohol in my house. Right. Uh huh.
The house deal fell through, and I was relieved.