according to the noted philosopher neil sedaka, breaking up is hard to do. and i have decided to break up with alcohol and it’s rough. i researched some options.
americans are a congenial, sociable, dyi lot. so alcoholics anonymous is a very american way of dealing with the breakup. and i’ve gone to meetings. unfortunately, i did this when i lived in the small town of winnetka. by the time i was pulling into my driveway after my first meeting, i was getting phone calls from people who hadn’t been at the meeting but who knew every detail of my story, every tear i ever cried. what part of anonymous doesn’t exist there? and besides, aa has a fifteen percent success rate.
americans also love their first ladies–dolley madison, jackie kennedy, michele obama. . . and they like honesty.
trouble is, the betty ford clinic approach (inpatient thirty days) is expensive, my insurance wouldn’t cover much of it, and my premiums would skyrocket. besides, i didn’t think of myself as quite that bad off.
i stumbled upon a solution. a drug that’s not generally sold in the united states. does well in europe and asia–i guess french folks don’t go to meetings which might explain a lot about the european union.
the medicine is taken over the course of eight weeks. like an ssri antidepressant (think prozac, zoloft, paxil), it works on the brain’s pleasure receptors. it is meant to cut off the connection between chardonnay and a buzz. it is, again like an antidepressant, not likely to make any difference for several weeks until a critical level has been dumped into the bloodstream. unlike antidepressants which stop working once you stop taking them, this drug is supposed to be taken for eight weeks and then you stop. i suspect the reason one stops at eight weeks is that one is supposed to develop good habits. and keep them.
the first night i took it i drank a martini for the first (and last) time. it was made for me by a facebook friend and i will share the recipe because it was just as good as breakup sex can ever be.
breakup sex martini
you’ll need: fresh basil leaves, lemon, ice, shaker, vodka, running tap water
cut up and crush the basil leaves with the back of a spoon or a mortar and pestle if your kitchen is well equiped
cut lemon in half
put basil and ice in shaker. squeeze lemon juice into shaker. leave the seeds–it lends verisimilitude
add vodka and shake
pour into glasses
when your guest says “i’ve never had a martini. it’s going to be too strong” retire to the kitchen, run the tap water (not into the glass, silly!) and say”this’ll be okay!
oh, did my head hurt the next day and i felt so discouraged. i had no home. my car was in the shop with bald tires and all my clothes. i felt unmoored and full of self-loathing. and i wondered if i was an alcoholic and should just resign myself to it.
still, i dutifully took my medicine. i went to a lady’s lunch. the sort where there’s white wine and delicate salads and nobody eats their dessert. ordinarily, i would have drank my wine, ordered a second glass and then another. instead, i couldn’t finish the first glass. i just didn’t want it. i asked if i could switch to diet coke.
the next day i went to an funeral luncheon. i started with a glass of white wine and again, said “i don’t really want to finish this”
at saturday dinner, i drank a glass with my meal and then after dinner ordered a glass but didn’t drink any. . . even though i was paying for it.
does this mean the medicine works and i’m just an early responder to changes in brain chemistry? i don’t know. i will find out. but i have noticed subtle minor tiny miracles that have made me so grateful.
i’m not identifying the drug. because if it changes my brain chemistry so that i think i’m a dog and i start barking at postal workers, i don’t anyone else to have tried it because of me. if it works, i’ll let you know. if it doesn’t work, i just have to think of other options.
i don’t want to be a teetotaler, i don’t want to proselytize, i don’t want to stay in a clinic (unless they have wonderful room service!). i just want to get to the place where i think i’m just pretty average.
i aim south for louisville, kentucky–home of the colonels and the derby. why? to visit a facebook friend of course! and this one needs a miracle just as badly as me!