Saturday, February 22, 2014

Donna Took Up Drinking? Nonsense!

I'm going to start this post with a warning: Some of you will be horrified at me after you read this saga. You will be so disturbed by the ways I treated your best friend that you won't be able to think of me the same way again. It's OK. I understand. It's not personal. However, because of the potential entertainment value, I decided to share with you the "inspired by true events" story of Donna vs Red Wine. That's right. For a whole five days, this Southern Baptist born and bred girl...took up drinking, came very close to breaking a good man, and offended everyone who knew about it. For different reasons than you might think.

I don't drink. I never have (more than a yukky sip or a delicious cruise ship hot chocolate-y thing) and I probably never will. I'm not a prude, nor is it really much of a religious issue. Because I often write on matters of faith here, I want to be clear on where I stand. No where in scripture does it say that drinking alcohol is forbidden. That water that Jesus turned into wine at the wedding in Cana was real wine. Not good Southern Baptist Welch's Grape Juice as many of us were taught. (I know...I was shocked too!) The Bible says not to be drunk and in scripture bad things happened to those who were drunk, starting with Noah in Genesis 9:20-23. If you're unfamiliar, look it up. As a good southern woman, I shy away from being shamed when I can, and Noah had a shaming that no good southerner could come back from! Lucky for Noah, he wasn't from below the Mason-Dixon Line. I'm just saying, y'all!

 I happen to have three very good reasons for not being a tippler. 1) Growing up, I watched it consume an uncle I loved, and I watched him destroy his life and the lives of anyone who was close to him, and often that included me. The man behind the drink was amazing when he wasn't drinking. His "habit" took his life  when he was much to young. Because this tendency already runs in my family, it has always seemed wise to abstain. 2) I think it could be confusing to some if I were seen publicly drinking because I've always been a non drinker. Starting when I was very outspoken about underage drinking in my "East  Texas dry county, nothing to do, underage high school days," a minority for sure, and also in my University of Texas days where every day was a party for almost everyone and being a Christian non drinker is NOT cool. I was cool with being not cool. I AM a Christian and people associate my faith and non imbibing with me. Scripture tells me not to cause anyone to stumble. This is MY thing, doesn't have to be yours. It's easy for me to avoid that because.....3) I can't stand the smell, the taste, or the fumes of alcoholic drinks. Even the hot chocolate-y things would have tasted better without alcohol, I thought. I've never tasted beer, but based on it's appearance I'm pretty sure it tastes like pee. If that's your bag, hey, I'm not judging. I just don't get it.

Now to get on with it. A few years ago I was struggling with terrible insomnia. Worse than usual. Mr. Perfect, who has a co-starring role in this story, had told me for years that a little wine would help me sleep. One evening I saw yet another news story about how a glass of red wine every day was good for your heart. As a woman who is fighting the battle of the bulge, er bulges, I realized that it might be good for my heart and my sleep if I took up the habit. The queen needs her beauty sleep, y'all! I can't be looking all "rode hard and put up wet!" A lack of sleep makes you ugly.  I am NOT going to "go gentle into that great goodnight." I'm fighting it with all my Southern spunk! I knew I didn't care for the taste of red wine because I didn't care for the smell but surely I could stand 5 ounces once a day. Surely. So, temporarily tossing reason number two aside, I looked to Facebook for advice. I have a lot of those wine aficionado friends so I asked them for a recommendation. They were all happy to oblige and a little surprised this teetotaler was taking up spirits. I got a lot of recommendations. I also got about seven (secret) messages from friends who are also nondrinkers asking me to let them know (secretly) if I found a wine I could tolerate. I had started a secret society! What followed broke the heart of my man and left him in a heap on the floor, lost me a few friends AND denied me a sweet gig as the "Worthy High Princess of the Secret Southern Baptist Wine Drinkers Society." (I made that up.)

Day 1: Perfect had stopped and picked up a highly recommended bottle of red. After dinner, I went and got a measuring cup and measured out 5 ounces, which I had read was the heart healthy "dose." My hopes were high that I would instantly be healthier and probably drop 50 pounds from my healthy lifestyle change that very night. I took one sip and gagged!!! That is some nasty stuff. I held my nose, and drank the rest even though it took me about 30 minutes, whining and saying "stuff" the whole time. I believe my status on Facebook for my friends said something about it tasting like "mold filtered through dirty miner's socks." How do people drink this on purpose? I was obviously not born to be sophisticated or classy. I thought I could at least fake classy. Nope. Not so much. Perfect was encouraging. It will get easier, he said. You did great (cough lie cough.) My Facebook cheerleaders were encouraging and gave me new recommendations. I concocted a plan for day 2.

Day 2: Perfect had picked up a new bottle of recommended wine because I had clearly rejected bottle one. I had decided that the problem was clearly the glass. I had just used an old plastic cup day one. So I got a glass wine glass for day two. Aren't I smart? Nope. Still tasted worse than anything I've ever had! So, much like day 1, I held my nose, whined, griped, said "stuff" complained and yelled for about 30 minutes until it was done. Perfect was probably wondering how this was helping my health since I was clearly raising my blood pressure. I was hoping it was good for that too. My Facebook friends were concerned that I still wasn't converted after day 2. I had written something like "swine swill fit for zombie mean girls that you hate." I formulated a solution for day 3.

Day 3: New bottle. Recommendation, etc. Y'all are catching on. No problem, I've got the perfect fix for day 3. I need it to be cold and numb my tongue so I poured it over ice. Perfect's face went red. He said some stuff about "how dare I?" He couldn't participate in this and left the room. So, hopeful but alone, I took a sip. OH MY NO!!! Ack, gag, gross! So nasty. Not better. I held my nose, yelled, stomped around and told that glass just what I thought about it for the next 30 minutes! My Facebook post that night said something about "If we took space aliens who were out to destroy us as POWs they still wouldn't deserve this worse than paint thinner junk" ....or something like that. I was un-friended by two of my besties who could hear no more. New idea for day 4, but I was losing hope.

Day 4: Perfect refused to buy me a new bottle. Something about a "waste of good wine" and he was "going to have to handle all my wasted bottles himself" and I'm pretty sure he accused me of driving him to drink. glass. 5 ounces of red nasty. What it needed was some sweetness. So I added sugar lots of it. About equal parts sugar and wine. Perfect LOST it, y'all. He was stomping, yelling, pretty sure he called me undeserving and wasteful! He told me the "wine" didn't deserve me. Whatever! I was about to have some delicious SWEET red wine. Then...DEAR SWEET GRANNY up in Heaven who told me not to take up drinking lest I come to ruin, you were right!!!!!! That was nasty! Not better!!! So yell, stomp, hold nose, 30 minutes, etc. Blood pressure rising, man losing his grip on the will to live. I believe my Facebook post that night was something like: "A spoonful of sugar does not help the wine go down." Also, I'm pretty sure I took to calling the wine some personal names and for that I'm truly sorry. I mean, I never met Mama Grape and I shouldn't have called her ugly. That was my bad. 4 more Facebook friends "disappeared."

Day 5: I got this now. I just need a combo deal. So I grabbed the measuring cup and measured out my 5 ounces of old wine because Perfect still refused to purchase new wine. Poured it in a glass. While Perfect was at this point probably consulting an attorney about having me put away, he was equally curious about what was left for me to do. And he was nervous. Very nervous. He said something about how he couldn't stand to watch it. So...I took my glass of wine, reached for the sugar, stirred in less than the night before. Perfect blew the top of his head right off, y'all! Not to be deterred, I went over to the fridge, added ice to my concoction and... "Perfect, Perfect!! Are you OK?? Wake up! Honey, are you in there? Should I dial 911? Help!" He was in a heap on the floor, twitching like he had been shocked. Eventually I got him back but that was a close one! He almost missed my "nose holding, stomping, 30 minutes, etc ritual." My Facebook post that night said something about "How neither ice nor sugar were still my friend" and that the next night I would be mixing in delicious iced Dr. Pepper." Also, I'm pretty sure I said something rather judgy and not very Christian to all my wine drinking friends about their taste level being lacking. Again, that was my bad. I meant to say OTHER wine drinkers that I didn't know. 7 less friends. Oops.

Day 6. I have a plan. Um, where's the wine? Perfect, barely recovered from the previous evening, sat me down for a talk. An "intervention" if you will. He said he didn't like me when I drank. That we couldn't afford my habit and if I didn't stop, he was pretty sure I was going to die. He didn't say the words exactly, but I distinctly get the feeling he meant he might have a hand in my passing. He said I had to give it up for the sake of our marriage and he couldn't keep "cleaning up" my leftovers. He pointed out that I was obnoxious to my friends and they too were concerned. So, I've given up my drinking habit for the good of my family and my Facebook friend count. I now get fired on Facebook for entirely other reasons. It's been several years now and I think I've been forgiven. I told a friend this story the other day and I had another genius solution. I told her I should get a box of wine, freeze it and then just cut off a chunk every night. I just invented WINESICLES!!!! Let's see if Perfect goes for it. I'm not real hopeful.

Well, I think that's what occurred. I may have embellished a bit. The memory is fuzzy. That's what happens after 5 straight days of drinking...5 ounces a day. It gets you in trouble. So I'm back to delicious Dr. Pepper on the rocks. To those of you who went through this with me and still love me, I thank you. It was a hard period for all of us but we made it through.

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