Well, I didn't intend to....but that's the very essence of making mistakes at times it seems. I'm every so peeved at myself right now.

Husband's company is very tight, very close knit as the crews often move together from state to state, and hence only know each other. Family is extremely important, so they try very hard to keep the group together and functioning with as little drama as possible.

So, last night, they planned a Birthday part for one of the supervisors down at our pool. Low key, about a dozen of us all together....there's only three children including ours, and they play together well....swimming and giggling which is great. All the wives came, and although we don't associate together daily, we tend to follow the same attitude as the company: family first.

I knew they would be drinking, probably beer, and I haven't drank in two years. I truly didn't think of it, as it's now been a non-issue for McK for quite a bit now. Additionally: I hate beer. BUT, I knew that the manager had sent a bottle of Tequila for the party. I did know that I would be tempted, and thought just for a moment: one drink won't hurt.

As the group was doing their thing...... I happened to meet a new and interesting person. There was a lovely older woman who felt very alone, and we struck up a conversation. She wasn't part of our group, but I invited her to join us since she has lived in this apartment complex for 8 months and has yet to meet anyone. As she was born in Belgium in 1946 we had the most fascinating conversation throughout the evening. To my delight, she had studied philosophy, was one of the first feminist in Belgium, and had so many intriguing ideas that through our conversation we discovered we both shared many ideologies. As my background is highly sociological with a strong basis in history I could have lept for joy to meet a fellow humanist. To actually be able to talk with someone about Locke and Hume, let alone Kurkengaard......it was wonderful! Some of the other wives joined in, although it was apparent that many of them weren't as well read.....still there developed a commonality. We discovered that one of the wives father was Swiss, and mother lives in Valencia, Spain. Oh, the stories and the information that poured forth once people realized what intelligent conversation is really all about. Even husband began to talk about his ancestry, the Birthday boy (just turned 60) began to share his "reflections" from earlier in the morning. I truly don't think these subjects would have even come up without the addition of this fascinating lady from Belgium.

However, someone handed us both margaritas, and I was so actively involved in conversation (like the "old days") that the habit of reaching for it just seemed natural. What's one drink, while enjoying an evening of conversation? We continued to dissectdifferent philosophies, sharing viewpoints, and discussing subjects that one normally does not find in this group setting. And there I was: cigarette in one hand, margarita in another, laughing and challenging arguments right and left with people who finally began to open up about ideas and concepts, not just "concrete and work". We ended up discussing such varied topics as mental illness, politics, the social structure of America, history through WWII and Vietnam, Geography, philosophy, religion, attitudes, critical thinking, and what humanity is all about. The men of the crew were very eager for the wives to grow closer, and for me: this was the most comfortable way to do so. I truly love fascinating dialog, with a diverse group of people. I also discovered things about the other wives I never knew before.......the children weaved in and out, and occasionally would have a thought to add......everyone truly became engaged in discussing deeper topics of conversation. 

And then I got home. You know the little labels on the side of your prescription(s) that say: "May cause dizziness", "Don't operate machinery", "Don't take while pregnant", "Alcohol may intensify the effects of this medication"? Well they aren't placed there because the pharmacists likes to play with stickers. I take THREE meds, and all three have the warning labels.

I have never been hit so hard by alcohol before. I drank before, always a few shots, and have been drunk. I have honestly not been sick....never, sick. Last night? I had not only the spins, but was actually throwing up. Poor husband, he had to take care of me, and here I could barely stand and kept thinking: "I don't want the boys to see this." Husband told them the truth: Momma is sick because of the alcohol. I thought I had one drink.......apparently I had several.

I know logically that my meds have been changed so much recently, it was extremely hot, I was probably dehydrated already, I haven't drank in 2 years, I hadn't eaten, etc......but I have never been made SICK from alcohol ever.

So, I blew it......lost focus, and didn't even think of the consequences. Boy, if I never smell tequila again it will still be too soon. I guess that's one thing, the very idea of going through last night again is (right now) enough to ask for a "virgin" next time. What was I thinking? Well, I wasn't.....and what little I did think was that it would do no harm. We weren't driving, the group was small and safe, and truly: it was like old times. I've always been enchanted by meeting people, especially educated people who are open to new ideas, and yet willing to share their own. Whiskey was, and will always be my weakness.....but Tequila? It just seemed like a harmless glass of a cooling, strawberry slushy.

So, for me: this was the first time falling "off the old wagon". I didn't even consider it a serious thing prior to going....but the consequences certainly weren't worth it. My stomach is still upset with me.....but I did learn something that I won't ever forget. My original reasons for quitting drinking was that McK often made poor choices (sexually) when doing so, and I was beginning to use alcohol as a crutch to avoid memories. That was growing more and more out of control.

Last night showed me that I can't even have one drink. Perhaps it's the medications, perhaps I have lost all tolerance for it. I don't know....but I don't want to feel that way ever again. 

So the point for the day is: that even when things are moving along smoothly, it's important to pay attention. I didn't......and now I regret what seemed so small and unimportant at the time.


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    Shelly Dowen-Johnson

    I am currently traveling with my husband across the United States, due to the nature of the work he does. 

    I am the mother of two boys, one who has recently been diagnosed with Early Onset Childhood Schizophrenia (Schizoaffective Disorder). 

    It appears the Dowen family gene sequencing contributes much more than the darling dimples both boys have inherited!  But, as always, with love, tender care and support....we will thrive! 


    June 2012
    May 2012
    April 2012