Recidivism A dear friend and fellow alcoholic counseled me recently, advising me to go without drinking for just one week—that's all it would take to remind me just how glorious alcohol really is, to eliminate it from being the humdrum and quotidian experience it is for me currently.
I didn't even try. The last decade in my relationship with alcohol has been magical, a long and storied relationship that has lost none of its fire despite being a cog in my day to day existence. I wouldn't trade a moment of it for anything, even a fully functioning liver (The liver is evil and must be punished!)
But, I must confess, I've been seeing another drug on the side. Sure, I've had affairs before, little dalliances with filthy harlots who simply don't get along with my love. I even spent an evening recently with a strumpet who expressly forbade me to see Booze while we were together; instead, we hung out with her dull and drab friend Water. It was horrible—what is one cheap false night of ecstasy compared to the deeper relationship I have with my baby?
But my affair with Nicotine, that's been more complicated. I met Nicotine through Alcohol, after all, and we struck up an amiable relationship between the three of us. I only saw her in the company of Alcohol for quite some time, and it seemed like we'd be casual friends and nothing more—I'd see her in a party and we'd spend some time together, and then go our separate ways.
But then something changed; maybe it was the opinion of my friends, most of whom had known Nicotine longer than Alcohol, and seemed to hold her in high esteem. And so Nicotine and I started hanging out when Alcohol wasn't around. I'm embarrassed to say, it's probably because I could hang out with her in places I couldn't take Alcohol. As much as I love Alcohol, she can get you into such trouble if you're not careful, and sometimes it's nice to spend time in the park or on the streets in the afternoon and not worry about what others will think.
Oh, sure, I can't always spend time with Nicotine; there are places I can't take her either. I guess I just like the difficult ones.
Still, my greatest joy comes when I can spend time with both of these great loves. It's a complicated bohemian relationship, the three of us, that I never expected to get into growing up in the Midwest. There's no jealousy between the two of them: they know they touch me in different but complimentary ways, and they seem to miss each other when they're apart.
Despite all this, last Saturday I tried to break it off with Nicotine. I was worried about what my relationship with her was doing to me, and, to be honest, our constant trysts were hurting me financially.
She didn't take it well, suffice it to say. She called constantly to remind me of all the good times we had. She didn't plead or anything, just pointed out how empty and bad I felt without her. Three days passed; each day I ached for her a little less. Spending time with my other love, or in the company of friends, didn't help nearly as much as I'd hoped, though, and although the aches subsided, the hole where she'd once been didn't go away.
I began to realize that I didn't just need her in my life, but wanted her there as well. She wasn't just filling a hole that anyone could fill, but helping me become the person I truly am.
So this story has a happy ending. We reconciled last night, and it's like nothing has changed. It's like my friend said: spending a week apart only reinforces why you were together in the first place.