There is no question that I have had my fair share of experience with alcohol. Tons of high school parties with cheap beer and vodka and 2 cases of alcohol poisoning! Well, maybe not a great deal of experience, but at least enough to know that my addiction extends to alcohol. However, one unique thing about my experience with alcohol is that all my drinking was done illegally. I have never had a drink over the legal age of 21. Finding recovery at the young age of 19 has presented me with a unique set of challenges in life. One of the most prevalent challenges I have been facing lately is that I am completely uneducated when it comes to alcohol. Alcohol is such an integral part of society and conversations about it seem to pop up everywhere, and whenever I find myself in one of these conversations I am completely lost!
I work in marketing for a technology company and this means lots of invitations to happy hours, lunch events, and conferences. I also work with a group of 20 something ladies who like to chat a lot about their weekend drinking habits. The conversation seems turns to alcohol at least a few times a week when they chat about a fun cocktail they had a club, or a wine they liked at some new restaurant they tried. It doesn’t bother me or make me want to use when they talk about alcohol, but I do feel very left out of the conversation. I have never had a glass of wine or a martini. I have no idea what these different kinds of wine are that they talk about sometimes like chardonnay? WTF is that? When I attend happy hours or other work related social events people don’t seem to care that I don’t drink, but they still seem to assume I have general knowledge about social drinking, as most adults do. Many times people will use the drink they ordered as a conversation starter. It’s an easy way to break the ice “Oo what drink do you have there? That looks good!” or “Man their wheat beer is great!” The conversation easily turns to what other drinks they all like such as different types of wine or beers or fancy drinks they have had as restaurants. I feel uncomfortable in these situations because I have no idea what they are talking about and I lose all ability to participate in the conversation. I can somewhat understand when they say a beer or wine, but like what is Crown Royal? Is Southern Comfort a wine or is it like a hard lemonade thing? For that matter what is in a hard lemonade? Whats the difference between whisky and bourbon and gin and scotch and omg there are so many! To put it simply, I am dumb when it comes to drinking!
At 25 this is going to be a unique challenge that I am going to face for the rest of my life. Sometimes I wonder if I am missing out on some sort of life experience having not tried all of these different drinks. However, I can easily remind myself of my experiences with alcohol poisoning in active addiction and know that is not a path I want to venture anywhere near at all ever again! My lack of knowledge can definitely be comical at times and even interesting to others. For example I have never had a margherita virgin or otherwise! Nor have I ever had champagne, but somehow I feel like sparkling cider tastes better anyways! As a youth addict and as a youth in recovery I know that I will encounter more unusual experiences and “issues” in life. What are some unusual things you have encountered being in recovery?