That Green Beer (And Other Drinks I’ll Never Try)

Drinking a green beer on St. Paddy’s Day has always been on my bucket list. I can’t believe I’ve never had one. It’s kind of strange that I haven’t. I’m almost 44 years old. I’m 75% Irish (or something like that). I love beer. I’m truly baffled. But, I’m sober now, so it’s just not going to happen, and I have no regrets.
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It’s not just green beer, though. Every drink has its day. Right? Champagne on New Year’s Eve. Green beer and whiskey on St. Patrick’s Day. Mint Juelp’s for the Kentucky Derby. Wine on National Drink Wine Day (which I never even knew existed until this year). I didn’t think about any of this before now. But, as an alcoholic in recovery, my sensitivity is heightened. Considerably. And, I think about all the people who can celebrate with those drinks on their days and leave it at that. Kudos to them.

Before I began drinking practically all day every day, I truly enjoyed relaxing with a glass of wine or a bottle of beer. After a great day. After a terrible day. When there was something to celebrate. When there was something to mourn. It never occurred to me to drink just because there was a special day for for it.

In time, one drink was never enough, and every day had its drink, or collection of drinks. As soon as the day began, I would decide what the drink or drinks would be. I didn’t need holidays or special celebrations. In fact, I got into the habit of making sure I had plenty to drink before I even arrived at parties and family gatherings.

Sadly, there is a growing general acceptance of regular binge drinking, at least on a partial level. The consumption of “enough drinks to not really appear drunk but definitely fail a field sobriety test” is a widely tolerated behavior. And, the list of popular drinking holidays is growing. Take Halloween, for example. It used to be all about kids collecting candy. Now, it’s about which house in the neighborhood is serving the best adult beverage. Because who could possibly enjoy soberly taking their kiddo door to door?

With approval of “Palcohol” by the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau last week, we’ll soon be able to carry large quantities of alcohol in pockets, handbags, and backpacks without the bulk and weight of cans and bottles. Beware, sports venue concession vendors. Those $10 beers will quickly become a thing of the past now that people can easily smuggle their own alcohol into stadiums and arenas. And, pouring enough packets of the powder into one bottle of water will eliminate the need to down multiple drinks to achieve the desired level of numbness. It’s scary. Truly.

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not turning into an anti-alcohol zealot. I promise. As I mentioned earlier, my sobriety has made me much more aware of the role alcohol plays in society. I am absolutely concerned that it is becoming increasingly difficult for addicts to become and remain sober. And, the problem is far greater than stigma and shame.

More than anything, I realize how important it is for me to set a a strong and solid example for my children and make sure they understand what’s out there and the dangers of consuming too much, too often, not being able to stop, etc. I am as open and honest as I can be with them at their ages, and I look forward to expanding our dialogue about alcohol and alcoholism, and telling them more of my story (the parts they don’t know), as they grow older.

I will never try powdered alcohol. I hope my kids won’t either. I will never have that elusive green beer. I will never try the fabulous new Malbec that just arrived at my favorite wine shop (I have no idea what it is, but I am sure there is one) – these days I spend my booze money on manicures and pedicures at the salon next door. When I look at my nails in the morning, I don’t have a headache, I feel pretty, and I am confident I didn’t flush my money down the toilet.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

5 comments

  1. Thanks for this post….so true. Im in my office watching a group leave for lunch and feeling anger at myself that I cant go with them like I used to (literally up until 5 days ago). I know they will be gone only an hour or so and that if I were there I would be recruiting someone to stay longer with me because no matter how much I said I could just have one or two, that was always false. I stopped and started my affair with beer (especially good craft ones) many times over the years and know now that I am not equipped with whatever it is that allows people to drink normally.
    I found myself feeling great this morning by picking out green dresses to wear to work and my daughter to school then the thought of a green beer. The fact that I can play with her tonight clear headed and safely is going to be my only “high” and Im ok with that. Knowing that I still have a chance to be a good role model for her (she is 5) and be present and involved in her life will make me feel much better than the cold craft beer that would only make me fat, act stupid, and fight with my husband tonight 🙂 Cheers to you emily!

    1. JB, thank you so much for reading and commenting! I’m thrilled this resonated with you – such validation for starting this blog. I was you – always trying to find a way to stay longer and have “just one more.” Our inability to drink normally baffles me very day and, until my relapse, I truly thought if I stopped for long enough I could return to normal drinking. In sobriety I have found a deeper connection with my kiddos and the people they are becoming, a more honest existence both within myself and with those around me (clients, friends, family), and clarity and focus I never imagined. I am here anytime you want to talk. You can do this and you will shine – I believe in you!!

  2. I just love your writing. ..Its good to hear that you can raise your children sober.I on the other hand, raised a beautiful smart handsome young man.and I was not sober.who knew, he’s a account. Thank you God. And he just got married to a wonderful woman. We have a good relationship.Again thank you God. I even made my amends to him. (Lots of tears) the 12 steps changed my life..I’m coming up on 2 years. Thank you Emily.

    1. Thank you so much, Bobbi. I am thrilled to hear about your son and your relationship with him. I know my relationship with my mom would be better if she got sober, but I just don’t see it happening. We’re close for sure, but there’s definitely a disconnect in our realities. Keep rocking toward that two year anniversary! As we approach May, I am kicking myself harder for my dumb relapse in December. It would be so cool to celebrate a year. XO

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