There is a season…

Drinking has its place. While I don’t drink all the time, I imbibe once in a while. The last time was Memorial Day Weekend at a friend’s nut fry. Yes. Redneck style. But they also had fish they caught from a local pond and pheasant they shot last season. And then there are wedding dances. And let me tell you, big Catholic family weddings are a good time.

Yet I am able to control my need for drinking. Luckily I can do this without hardly any effort. I know alcoholism is serious and I am fortunate enough not to have to deal with this anymore, for myself or second-hand.

Friend #1 (himself a recovering alcoholic for a year now) was telling me on the phone this morning about the previous evening with a mutual friend–we’ll call him Ryan. Ryan had quit drinking recently after losing a wife and a few friends. He chose to stay away from those people and places that encourage mind-numbing drinking. I heard through the phone that Ryan just isn’t as much fun if he’s not drinking so Friend #1 tried to get Ryan to have a beer or two.

I was shocked. Knowing the difficulties Friend #1 had with ignoring peer pressure, changing venues and friends, and the urges he still has after almost a year, I was pretty incredulous that HE would pester someone else into drinking. Fortunately Ryan won that night’s battle.

Then I thought it was kind of sad to be known as fun only when it takes something like alcohol or drugs to really come alive. I wonder if it takes a while after staying sober for their confidence to return once alcohol isn’t a factor anymore. Really funny and intriguing people are confident and comfortable with both their strengths and flaws, similar to how someone who’s drunk is oblivious about the same things. It is possible to have fun–and be fun–as yourself. Just give it time.

I’m not saying it’s terrible to drink a few. As the joke goes, where ever there are four Catholics, there’s a fifth. I can say that because I am Catholic, and I have (gasp) been pretty darn drunk before. I know that alcohol has its place, but it shouldn’t be the only way people remember you.

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