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.