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Boy Did this Little Wine Bottle Take Me Back…

Boy Did this Little Wine Bottle Take Me Back…

Boy Did this Little Wine Bottle Take Me Back…

Day 1: I did a quick run to the drugstore a few mornings ago. My favorite corner Walgreens – I go there almost every day. It’s the place I buy my gassy water and Ice Cubes gum (and benignly yen for sweet-n’-cheap in the wine isle). The go-to where (at the worst of times these days) I skulk, purchase and devour candy alcoholically.


The Scene of the Wine Crime…

I opened my door in the parking lot and boy – did it take me back. An empty, squished Sutter Home wine shooter right at my feet. Is there any scenario under which this little bottle was there for a good reason? It blew off the windowsill of a neighboring house or tipped from a bag of recycling in some innocent’s back seat?


I don’t think so… Someone had gone into the store, bought a 4-pack and drank one sitting in the parking lot. They tossed the contraband out of the window, unscrewed another cap and drove onto a busy street with the familiar sensation of slackening nerve-endings and vinegar settling against the liver like a giant’s thumb.


Not the gutter, but sufficiently suggestive…


And while I’m at it, are those little 4-packs ever purchased for anything other than to be secreted in a winter boot, glove box or side pocket of a purse? A friend of mine says it seems like the packaging of wine is getting more and more “fun”. Encased in juice box sized. cardboard or packaged with complimentary plastic flute. Pocket sized, colorful and geared toward women – the biggest and fastest growing market for wine. 


Looking at this ugly artifact didn’t make me want to drink. There was a flash of memory – all the times I’d stumbled into a drugstore or gas station to grab a pack of shooters for the dry gap between home and the real thing. Or something to hide in a backpack, glove box or purse for a rainy (sunny, foggy) day…


The little wine bottle made me feel sad. As if I were looking at someone else’s dirty secret…


But I went about my sober business, tucking the moment away for a blog post. Pausing to crouch down and take a picture with my phone. 


Day 2: I’m at Walgreens with a hundred dollar bill. Have you noticed that a hundred dollar bill is like having no money at all? It’s what grifters should carry – sorry I just have a hundred – don’t think they take them here… And one of the clerks is going to the bowels of the store to get a manager to help him count out the change.


I DID NOT purchase candy…


Yeah, I’m like Nancy Drew…

So I am standing at the check out, 8:16 AM, when a woman steps up with a four pack of wine shooters. I’m like sober Nancy Drew – side-eyeing the perp with my brain shouting, “It’s her! The wine litterer! The shooter slammer! The parking lot possible suspect…” 


I was discrete. She was normal looking – a bit disheveled as if she’d waited for her significant other to get off to work and threw on a sweatshirt and pants. Her hair was uncombed, she was probably 40 something. She could not have been more nondescript. Just your average woman of a certain age buying booze first thing in the morning. 


Confirming my suspicions…

I finished my transaction and took my time packing up. Stepping back from the counter, cool as a Russian spy. Then I slowly walked to my car. As luck would have it she was parked next to me. In a VW Bug. She got into the car and gave me one of those what-are-you-looking-at-bitch, looks. I acted busy. Then she turned her back and I could see she was unscrewing a bottle and turned toward her driver’s side window she was drinking. 


There was nothing more to do, right? I drove away and left her to her shameful little morning ritual. But I can’t stop thinking about it. And I did drive back to see if she’d tossed another bottle out the window. Jackpot:



What’s a person in recovery to do?

Should I have knocked on her window? Or handed her a Sanford House brochure? Maybe even offered to get coffee and talk about the joys of recovery – and the hazards of driving under the influence? I haven’t seen her since, but if she’s like I was and she thinks the jig is up, she’s moved to a new location where (like the old Cheers song with a twist) nobody knows her name. 


On a Lighter Note, I’ve Been Busy – And this is my Latest for Sanford House ICYDSI:

What is this Thing Called Addiction Recovery?



Today I’m not drinking, because it’s kind of sad


So, how come you’re not drinking?

E2E – I’m thinking of you…

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Comments (12)

  1. Avatar
    Dec 15, 2018

    Nostalgia? I actually buy those little 4 packs to keep in my bedroom refrigerator, for when I only want one glass and don’t want to open up a whole bottle that may sit and get stale. I like white wine cold and can’t imagine drinking it either warm or from the bottle. I can relate to ripping open candy or cookies when I get into the car though. That’s my old downfall.

  2. Avatar
    Linda Pevac
    Dec 15, 2018

    Hi Marilyn, Great to see your post. I live in a state that recently made wine, beer, and other alcohol available at drugstores, grocery stores and gas/convenient stores. My Whole Foods store now offers aisles of wine in the spot I used to be able to shop for other grocery items. It doesn’t make me want to drink, but it does make me sad how much importance we as a society give to alcohol. I’m very grateful that I truly have no desire to drink the juice that almost killed me. I, too, am sad to know that all this availability of alcohol will most certainly claim more and more victims.

  3. Avatar
    Dec 16, 2018

    Damn you are a great writer. Such pleasure to read about such a familiar hell. You see and describe things we think we alone notice. Thanks, marilyn. And thank you for discretely helping me to spell “chute”–as in garbage. You’re a kick.

    • Marilyn
      Dec 17, 2018

      Right back at you. And I did just a little “clean up” spell-check missed, right? Humans are still good for that… You know, the more women in recovery I meet, the more I realize we all have shared experience in noticing these things. And it helps to talk about it. I still feel badly for not asking her if I could help – but you know how it goes if you’re not ready to hear it.

  4. Avatar
    Dec 17, 2018

    I did think I was the only one who carried those little portable bottles everywhere. But our 7-11 sold them warm, meaning I had to also buy a fountain drink, drain it in the parking lot, and pour my wine over a few cubes. Buying a cup of ice was just too obvious.

    Wow, that seems like another lifetime. Thanks for posting!

  5. Avatar
    Natalie crowe
    Dec 19, 2018

    How come you're not drinking?
    I care about my well being.
    Seriously LOVED this post. So many memories with those dang mini wines. Lots of tears and regrets the next morning while they were scattered on the floor. I used to do the same exact thing as the lady you talked about. Ugh mini wines.

    • Marilyn
      Dec 26, 2018

      I have a total hate/hate relationship with those tiny bottles which is why I was so horrified to see one when I opened the door! Yikes… I used to have them in my glove box, rolling around in my purse, in pockets – they are definitely tools of the trade. Life is A LOT less complicated without alcohol.
      Great to hear from you!

  6. Avatar
    Jan 26, 2019

    How come you're not drinking?
    I want to live! .
    5 days sober today! I used to buy the minis in an attempt to control my drinking…always at home…but it was just a perfect glass. Well….perfect 4 glasses. Enjoying this blog…thank you…:)

    • Marilyn
      Feb 11, 2019

      You go girl. Those mini-bottles are dangerous. And when they’re packaged in pretty little four packs… Congratulations and please let me know if I can help in any way.

  7. Avatar
    Jan 30, 2019

    Hi Marylin and everyone,
    I see that all of these posts are from women so I might be stepping out of my boundaries, sorry. I am from Canada and only recently have certain grocery stores and big box stores have started selling alcohol. In relation to the wine bottle mine was either a couple of tall boys of beer or a little bottle of whiskey. I got off the kick of keeping any kind of booze in my vehicle or stashed somewhere that no one would find it so I thought. However I was religious about going to the beer store after work right around the corner and getting 2 tall boys and drinking them while I was driving down the highway to get home which is only about 25 kilometers away (15 miles). Looking back this was one of the worst idea’s I had ever thought of doing, I could have killed someone. I recently gave up everything and wanted to share with everyone on this blog as it seems to help me when I talk about it, even to complete strangers from a different country. I have lots that I would love to share and some that I have already shared with Marylin in a seperate email. I hope to feel welcome by all of you and look forward to adding to this blog.


    • Marilyn
      Feb 11, 2019

      Actually there are equal parts men and women and readers from England, Wales, Puerto Rico, Singapore, etc, and all over the US! I am happy you found me/us and I will try to write more often… keep talking if that helps!

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