Last night, I gratefully ordered a club soda with lime for what seems to be the 10,000th time.
Twenty minutes later I watched as a Guinness was purposely poured. It cascaded over the spoon to create a swirling work of art. The pint was quickly but carefully brought to a patron waiting patiently at the end of the bar.
Walking around the Milwaukee Art Museum last week, I was in awe of the eclectic collection and refreshing architectural design.
Often I’m drawn to bright colors and vibrant pieces, but linger at simple ones, depressed in tone – they’re the ones that evoke my raw emotions.
At first, this was not one of them.
I walked past it and when I circled back I noticed something – it was in disguise.
I saw a chalkboard, hastily washed, with a small box and a line under it as if it was etched by someone who was in a hurry.
When I got closer, I read the description and examined the canvas. It was an oil painting.
Immediately, my opinion was transformed. From nothing special to wow, just because I knew the ingredients.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, a saving grace of maintaining my sobriety in social situations has been ordering a club soda with a lime.
“What are you doing in a bar anyway?” is a question some might ask as I do consider myself an alcoholic.
I’m grateful that I’ve been able to be in social situations, sober since July 7th 2011, and I haven’t felt an unmanageable desire to drink. Many of my friends, or people I know in recovery, do not share this level of comfort. It’s something I consider a luxury and work very hard at maintaining.
You might be thinking – didn’t he begin by saying he was in awe of a Guinness being poured, I don’t know how comfortable he really is? – I get that, the desire is there, sure, it’s just not unmanageable.
I mean, I went to Ireland, was in Dublin and people in the bar even thought I was Conor McGregor, and wanted to buy me a drink. The desire to indulge was undeniable.
That’s one of the lighter moments where I had to decline, despite wanting to take them up on their offer. There have been some really tough times too.
I’d much rather not have to manage my time at happy hours, depending on how comfortable I’m feeling.
It would be nice to be part of champagne toasts at weddings.
However, if someone told me I could go back, I wouldn’t.
I wouldn’t because before, my life had many moments of chaos, confusion, uneasiness, regret, and despair. Not to belabor a point but, like I’ve said in previous entries, most people would have never known.
Our culture is pretty accepting of alcohol abuse.
But I can’t deny that I knew.
Deep in my soul, I knew I wanted more out of life.
Maybe that explains my taste in art. I appreciate and am drawn to color but I’m in awe of the simple, the honest and the raw. I’m in awe of interior struggle, and I’m committed to maintaining the level of quiet peace that sobriety has given my soul.
My drink isn’t flashy and doesn’t grab attention and ordering it could even be seen as deception, but upon further investigation, it shouldn’t be a surprise.
Club soda with a lime – it’s simple, and if I continue to give it a chance, it’s exactly the right ingredients.