Oooooooooooookaaaaaay, that was interesting. It was time for
I remember the good ol' days one year in my youth where I'd wake up and have a scotch and soda and then show up for work at 11 p.m. to spend all night cleaning up after births and dead bodies and stuff. I remember craving rum and coke every morning for three months when I detoxed cold turkey into a completely different lifestyle. I remember the day it hit me I was an alcoholic after I fell off the wagon, and I remember at how shocked I felt at how easily I got away with it, and I remember how sad I felt that not one friend or family member approached me about what was happening to me. It was like I had become invisible.
So you all know how glitchy I get, right? I'm sitting in an insurance office at 9:30 a.m. enveloped in whiskey fumes while this guy leaning over the desk is showing me lists and stats and stuffs, and as difficult a time I was having, it dawned on me he was barely holding it together and that if I wanted to get a good deal, it was up to me to figure out what the heck was going on between three different formulary manuals. And while I was oh so slowly connecting the little dots I needed in my own head, I was watching his head trying to gracefully hide the stumbling around he was doing himself, thinking all he had to do was get me to sign something and dang if I wasn't asking some very interesting questions about one particular med that I have to have every day and how my cost would be affected, because we're talking a possible difference of several hundred dollars over the next year.
It's been a really long time since me and scotch were breakfast buddies, but I remember toward the end how much energy I had to put into passing, and still a coworker here or there would wink at me. This guy was beyond that. On top of the excessive paper rustling and me having to remind him a couple of times with my own glitchy brain where we were with my questions, it got a little bizarre watching him abruptly toss my papers onto the floor as trash and then roll over them in his big chair. I've been in a few nice offices for different things, never saw that happen before.
So while I was holding my own head together, I was watching his fall apart, and I couldn't help wondering if he'd already lost his family or maybe something bad happened, or maybe this just built up over time until he could barely hold his life together and this office had given him a sympathy job, because I've been with them several years and today was the first time I saw him.
After I signed and walked back out the door into the beautiful sunshine, I had a truly lovely drive home appreciating how completely undrunk and virtually unmedicated I am nowadays. I can't even imagine having to deal with alcoholism in midlife, it was hellish enough as a young mother.
The reason I'm writing this is because I haven't had the fresh smell of whiskey on someone's breath bring back so many memories like his did today. After I cleaned up blood and contagion all night long, I would step out into the morning sunshine and go home to a bottle, and for a very long time in my life I really missed that bottle. It was months after going sober before I stopped smelling it in my memory and craving it above everything else in my life.
It smelled disturbingly good on his breath today.
It's been over 20 years now.
What I wanted to say to this guy- Hi, I'm an alcoholic. And I know you are, too. And I hope your life gets better and your sadness gets better, but I also know from experience that it can't while you have that bottle. So I hope you don't have to fall down first to let go of it. Because falling down sucks. I was one of those who had to fall down, so I know. I also know some people don't get back up, because it's really hard to do that. Some of the bravest people I know are alcoholics, and I really hope you become one of the brave ones who lets go of the bottle in time for your life to get better before it's so bad that the bottle is the only thing you have left. And then I would have liked to give him a hug, but it would've been really weird.
Anyway, I basically got my monthly premium cut in half without losing any benefits because I refused to go with the big Humana/Walmart plan being assumed on me by a guy with whiskey on his breath. Humana might be a godsend for some people, but it would've been a nightmare for moi since my health care keeps revolving around emergency allergy response. Epipens are mind blowingly expensive.