Smoking is fairly taboo these days, but I remember being able to smoke in the mall. This was the pre-foodcourt mall, before those oversized, low-to-the-ground soft play structures for toddlers to climb over without getting hurt cropped up next to Sears. Where’s the fun in that? The mall used to be a dangerous, badass place.
Older people tell me they remember being able to smoke at work and even school, but this makes me dizzy as if from second-hand smoke. I don’t smoke anymore, so I’m glad it was banished. This will sound hypocritical and dismissive to smokers and even a little bit to me.
In the early days of sobriety, I wished for the same ban on drunkenness. I wished that I wasn’t the only sober person in the room and wanted everyone else to see how much fun I was having, damnit. I thought this often and hard, with determined frown lines burrowed deep. I bristled when my husband said “I don’t even think about you not-drinking anymore. It’s a non-issue.” I thought about it all the time.
Yesterday I was thumbing through an issue of Food and Wine, which probably seems an odd thing for a sober person to read except that wine never was my bag. And I love food. I saw this line from a vegetarian cookbook author who visits Hungary every year for two weeks.
That everyone in this country is a carnivore is no deterrent to our mostly vegetarian lifestyle.
Yes. This is lately how I feel about not drinking while the rest of the world does. I feel set apart but enjoying all the fruits of sober life. I am thinking of others, but not worrying what they think of me not drinking. Probably because I learned how little they are thinking of that at all.
Vegetarians sacrifice ease and convenience for a larger goal. They deal with the same dense but well-meaning dinner party hosts. (“I know you don’t eat meat so I hope it’s okay that I cooked everything in chicken broth.”) Often they do it for health reasons and they don’t expect everyone to jump on their bandwagon, though maybe they feel a bit lonely riding for long stretches all alone.
I’m not comparing alcoholism to vegetarianism. Both are hard to spell, but obviously an alcoholic on a binge is more dangerous than a relapsed vegetarian. I’ll end the comparison there, it just struck me that sometimes it’s really hard to do the right thing when it’s not the right thing for everyone else.
We should not be deterred by popular opinion on alcohol but instead find the things we love about sobriety and make new, delicious things out of them.