I Who Have Nothing (Oh, Get Over Yourself)…

I’m hung over. It was my birthday yesterday and the darling people I work with brought cupcakes. There were four left, in the baker’s box, for me to take home last night. I won’t disgust you with the details… The sugar settled in my joints and eyelids, and when I got up this morning, I felt puffy and achy.  And I was in a big hurry to get back on track. I made a pot of coffee and plugged my phone into the wall. I have an APP with some Pilates tapes I like to do to punish myself.


Don’t ask me why I used the plug  nearest a Chinese wedding box (made of hand painted rice paper) and a cream silk chair, but I did.  I scurried about tidying things while the phone charged. (The best way to negate a sugar relapse, is to vacuum at 5 AM.) Why can’t I eat a bloody cupcake? One cupcake like a normal human being?

I powerwalked over to the phone with a full coffee cup in my hand, ready to do the Pilates 100. When I yanked the chord, I teetered backwards and the entire cup of hot, brown, liquid spattered the chair. Catastrophically. I screamed an uninhibited, NO!!!” As if my toddler had crawled through a fence and fallen into a gorilla’s cage. But then I remembered I live in an apartment. And even though its pretty soundproof, I can hear my neighbor’s dog bark when I don’t have the TV on.

Poor Little Me

So I toned it down and whimpered, “I have so little.” Sniff, sniff. I upped the poignancy with, “I have nothing. Nothing…” I got out the Perrier and a white bath towel and did my best to fix the problem.  In the old days, I would have had my first glass of wine for the day and thrown a dish rag over the mess. In fact, “throwing a dishrag over the mess” is a great way of describing how I used to handle everything from relationships to car crashes…

Here’s the question: does the above photo look like the apartment of someone with nothing? There’s a live orchid for God’s sake. Artwork. Thirty foot ceilings and Perrier in the refrigerator. But what is the first thing I thought of when my pretty chair was besmirched? Poor little alcoholic me, with nothing. Now, even my chair is ruined…”

 It’s my DISEASE…

I think this is why I have a problem with the disease aspect of  alcoholism. On some level it seems like a cop out. I think about those people in AA meetings (come on, we’ve all seen them) who slump in chairs and talk about the fact they couldn’t help themselves – it was their disease. It makes me wonder where all the ex-alcoholic winners are keeping themselves. And why do I still fall back on woe-is-me-ism, when I should ease up and myself and remember how far I’ve come?

I don’t mean to be snide just because I ate five cupcakes. I actually feel very solid at this milestone. But for this birthday wish (minus any more cake), I want to train my brain to think the way I used to think when I was a prideful boozer (minus the hubris and white wine): Mistakes happen and people eat too much cake on their birthday.

And I have A LOT more of what counts now, than I did in the old, drinking days.

Today I’m not drinking because I probably have to stop on the way home and get upholstery cleaner and deal with the chair I tried to ruin this morning.

How come you’re not drinking?