Step One (some closing thoughts)

On vacation, I faced a buffet of many fancy and slightly different foods than what I know and am used to.  Most of the labels, if there were any, were in French, which I studied for nine years in school but do not speak.  I take a hard line on alcohol and I like it that way.  I won’t knowingly ingest anything that contains alcohol, has been cooked with alcohol, tastes like sounds like or has ever been near alcohol.  I see no reason to do so.  I don’t want just the “taste.”  I never wanted just the taste, and the way smelling cigarette smoke makes me want to smoke, I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility that just the “taste” of whatever remains after the alcohol has “cooked off” will make me want to drink it.  To feel the effects, of course.  That is what I wanted from my first drink until my last.  I see absolutely no reason so risk my sobriety or my serenity for such nebulous benefits.  I have complete and total power over alcohol, as long as it remains outside of my body.


Anyway at this buffet, I steered clear of anything that was at all iffy, of which there really wasn’t anything, no problem.  But dessert.  When I went to try a dessert (or three or four), Carole was indisposed.  I looked at them and read them as best as I could and really didn’t see anything suspect.  And I absolutely could have asked the restaurant staff if anything contained alcohol.  I even discussed with Carole whether just asking, or saying I was “allergic” would make the explanations be more thorough but I do so hate to interact with strangers, and to draw attention to myself, and in the end I decided to go for it and see what happened.


There is actually a climax to this long story and it is that when I took into my mouth some white puddingish stuff that had a brown liquid at the bottom of the tiny glass cup, I had a physical reaction to what I perceived could, possibly, be alcohol.  I felt a fear reaction that went from my mouth down my throat and into my stomach.  It was visceral.


I sat kind of paralyzed and when Carole returned, we decided the liquid was, alas, something mapley, not alcoholic at all, not even the “cooked off” kind.


I just marveled and still do that I could change from someone who needed to drink second only to breathing, even though it brought me steadily and quickly toward my destruction, to someone who remembers that fact so deeply that I react physically and mentally to what I think might even just possibly be alcohol.  That is a miracle indeed.


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