Even before I stopped drinking I didn’t heed much to the abundance of online memes, shares and cartoons appreciating the need for alcohol in society. This also includes the ‘other ones as well.’ These are the coffee fix, hot body jokes, not-hot body jokes, kitties that are really cute, making sure we say AMEN when Jesus is going to give us something miraculous if he gets lots of Facebook shares, selfies, spiritual reminders and everything else we glance through on our social feeds. Usually a day doesn’t go by when I don’t see something of the following:
Now, this isn’t so bad. I can usually just blow by, chuckle and chuckle some more at other things unrelated. However, something has started to brew inside of me that I cannot let go of. Let me preface what I am going to discuss with the following: when it comes to being sensitive I will say two words, ‘crying puppies.’ What doesn’t make me particularly sensitive is the actual proliferation of alcohol in our society because a) I am desensitized to it first off and b) no one if forcing anyone to drink the alcohol and c) it ain’t going away in my lifetime. Remember ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I CANNOT control…‘
Then I saw this.
Let’s review – line by line.
“Jill like to drink wine most nights” Okay, so if Jill has only one glass of wine a night, she’d be totally fine. If she had 2 glasses a night, 7 days a week then she is about 6 glasses higher than the medical recommendations but maybe not too bad. Her sugar calories would also be WAY high. That’s something that I care about.
“Is Jill an alcoholic? No! ” Okay, Jill probably isn’t an alcoholic after all Jill is a fucking stick figure with angel wings. Remember how I feel about angels? Not cool Jill cartoonist, Jill is not an angel. I can tell. BUT, if we assume Jill isn’t an alcoholic then she can go right ahead and drink her delicious wine. BUT, what if someone reading this cartoon and thinks to self, ‘That is funny. I identify with Jill. Wine is totally fine to drink. Nevermind that I like to drink 2 bottles of wine a night but it’s wine.’ “Jill just likes wine”
It is grapes. GRAPIES!! Grapies are so healthy. (Yes, I am typing the word grape-eeez)
“Jill is real woman” This is where my darkness takes a turn. Jill is a bitch for thinking she is a real woman for drinking wine every night. A real woman is someone who doesn’t have a bottle to hide behind every ache and pain, mommy duties, wifey duties, work, play, being perfect. Also, and this made me laugh when I shared this online with the beautiful women of the online support group, BFB – Jill is not cavewoman. “Jill is real woman” – who talks like that? Is that English?
“Be Like Jill” and the crux of my real ire.
Hear this out. I accepted ‘Mommy’s Time Out’ and ‘Mommy Juice’ and the afternoon teases of the neighborhood ladies having their wine time. Good for them. They can do it. They can have their daily fix, head home and cook dinner, ready themselves for the next day, finish the laundry, read some book club books and tuck their little angels into bed.
Me? Nope. What usually happened looked a lot like this.
- Watch the clock at work to hit a reasonable time to leave. Usually 4:30pm. [this is the countdown we alcoholics all know and love]
- Figure out game plan that had been rattling around my head all day. Will I stop for wine and food or go to dinner, drink and then get more wine.
- Debate with brain for another 30 minutes getting to pick up my son.
- Hit a local restaurant and as fast as possibly can without looking like a lush, get wine into body. Lips quivering, slurp. (okay I didn’t slurp but its funny; I might have slurped once or twice)
- Drink another one, finish dinner.
- Head to liquor store for wine. If not, smuggle beers into house and drink in hiding.
- What is missing from this picture?
- No ladies (isolate), no finishing book club books (drinking) and definitely no tucking of child (drunk). The child would pass out with me dammit and that is the way it worked.
Why do I get unnerved by this particular illustration? Well, it comes down to that last line. “Be like Jill.” I can’t be like Jill. Jill is not an alcoholic. Jill can have her wine and be normal. She can like her wine. Jill is NOT an alcoholic. It is kind of also in your face a bit. That word. Alcoholic. As if being an alcoholic were a bad thing. You see, we call ourselves recovering alcoholics for a reason. We always have that voice in our heads, if we could be like Jill. We will never be like her because we have no power over our disease.
I also don’t want to be like Jill anymore. I am present in my life. I can see whole pictures and sense real and tangible feelings. I don’t have to hide or fear anymore within a bottle. I also don’t have to put up a stereotypical charade that if I drink wine I am a real woman drinking wine. The wine culture hides a lot of a lot of our habits fairly discretely. There is this gentler way about wine that it is more sophisticated and if you learn its secrets you can drink in safety. If you pair it with the right food or dessert then it isn’t as nefarious as maybe bombing fireball shots. But it is. I use to say, I only drink wine. Hell, that was a joke.
Anyway, in conclusion and most importantly – why isn’t Jill an alcoholic? Because she has NO LIPS! Where are her damn lips? She can’t drink anyway!