Updated: Jul 21, 2021
When I was young, my father’s favorite evening alcoholic drink, although rare, was a scotch - Chivas Regal. His story was that he had his first taste while in the Navy when he was stationed in Scotland. It was a rare sight when he poured a short glass of this dark golden scotch in etched glass and relaxed.
My parents rarely drank alcohol. They didn’t seem to enjoy it much. But when he did, I would dare to ask my dad for a sip. About once a year. He would hand over the glass with ease, and I would take the smallest of sips. Then I would gasp at the burn and scrunch up my face in disgust. Occasionally we would have a glass of wine with a special dinner when I was older. I didn’t enjoy that glass either. He, apparently, trusted me to make my own decision about alcohol. I rarely drink – I never learned to love the taste.
Once in a blue moon, I’ll have a glass for the taste or to let loose. Ooh – a sweet and crisp Moscato at a nice restaurant can be a delight. A red sangria on Bud and Stanley’s deck with my guy can give me the giggles. And I will never forget the seven shots of high-end Tequila in San Antonio with Deb and friends.
I recently noticed that I often drink alcohol when I feel the need to please others – they are drinking, and it draws too much attention to me if I don’t drink too. They say, “come on – just one!” Or “It’s the weekend!”. My inner critic says I am a goody-two-shoes, a prude, a priss, or too focused on my ever-changing restrictive diet. So, I’ll order a grown-up Roy Rogers – diet, of course - and the peer pressure is off. But the alcohol kicks in halfway through, and I’m disappointed that I didn’t honor my wishes. The inner critic yells at me about caving.
Drinking with others is another bizarrely specific way to focus more on how others feel than my own needs. And honestly, I don’t even know if I am making them feel happier when I choose to drink with them. As Glennon Doyle suggests, I think that I am being selfless, but I am potentially selfish by avoiding perceived conflict and not being authentic. Deep thoughts for just ordering a diet coke and ‘Jack’ with grenadine.
My latest lesson turned into a practice is to drink alcohol when I want to do so and no other time. To be brave and say that the diet soda I am having is delicious and what I want. Last night I ordered ice water with a shot of lemonade. I totally confused our waiter, Collin. But it tasted so good on such a hot and humid day.
Oh, and by the way, I am also ordering the Brussel sprout appetizer and eating it all, whether or not you like the smell.
When do you make similar decisions to avoid discomfort? To make 'things' easier for others? What do you really want to do?