Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue…

Airplane-sniffing-glueWell, at the time of this writing I am only four days into my alcohol fast and I must confess it’s not been easy.

There is no doubt that the less than ideal circumstances  are not making it any easier.

Let’s see… my wife just had a hysterectomy which produces its own worries and challenges. It also means that I need to do all the driving of kids and errands. As a priest, Lent itself adds quite a bit to the mix, with lots of extra services on Ash Wednesday and the start of our Lenten Adult Forum, which I still need to write. Then we had a number of deaths, funerals, hospitalizations, diagnoses, etc, etc, etc. The bottom line is that I certainly have a newfound appreciation for old Lloyd Bridges.
I tell you this, not to have a pity party, but to put it all in context. Needless to say it has been a bit of a challenge to come home and not grab a beer from the fridge. This got me wondering if perhaps my struggles were a sign that I had a dependency (which only added to my stress).
But as I got to thinking about this I realized that in fact, while I have come to look forward to and even “depend” on having a drink available as something to complement a meal or to relax with at the end of the day, I was not “dependent” on alcohol. Lest you claim this is just semantics allow me to explain.
The fact that I miss and even crave a drink doesn’t automatically mean that I can’t get by without it. And if I can get by without it I am not dependent upon it. Having worked as a psychiatric social worker I have seen my fair share of addictions. There is no doubt that people can and do grow emotionally and even physically dependent upon alcohol. While I would very much like to have a drink, I do not believe I fall into this category.
Indeed, it is no different than looking forward to any other pleasure. In Lent’s past when I have given up deep fried foods, I have found myself missing and craving potato chips… does that mean I am a “chipoholic?” Or when I am parted from my wife due to travel and I find myself longing for her, it does not therefore render me a sex addict.
There are a number of things in life that I have come to depend upon. Readily available and good food. Heat. Electricity. The newspaper. I depend on all these things. They make my life a whole lot easier and more enjoyable. But if they were to suddenly disappear, could I find a way to live without them? Of course. It is in this context that I am coming to understand my relationship with booze. Could I live without it? Sure. But I am grateful that, with the exception of Lent, I don’t have to.

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2 thoughts on “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue…

  1. Only you would entitle your thoughts on the Lenten Fast “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue”. 🙂

    I have learned in circumstances non-Lent related that it is really hard to give up things you love and even feel like you “need”. A radical change in diet (including giving up alcohol or coffee or chocolate) for an extended period of time is hard! It doesn’t mean we’re “dependent”. But we are “conditioned” to turn to these things for comfort or energy, as a treat or a consolation. A break every now and then, whatever the reason, is a good reality check about what is and isn’t necessary in our lives, as well as a reminder of other coping strategies we may have been neglecting.

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