Independence Day

It’s July 3rd as I write this. I can’t help but think about how I LOVED the 4th of July.

Poolside cocktails. Beer and volleyball. Shots and sparklers. I reveled in having a holiday where it was socially acceptable to drink. All. Day. Long. I felt like I could let my hair down and be …. myself. So aside from the fun and games there were other things:

Ditching the parade because it was too early and loud and I was hungover. Walking through my then-boss’s screen door and being so wasted that I kept walking, the door on the deck with my foot in the middle pushing it along with a metallic scrrrrrraaaaaaaaape. I stared stupidly at the white metal frame and the broken screen, my sneakered snookered foot in the middle. “Get off of our door!” A voice shouted. I giggled and lifted my foot. I staggered, swayed away.

On another 4th , I got stung by a bee inside my lip . Can you believe it!? I was hot and playing volleyball and stopped to go pound my can of beer. Something wiggled angrily in my mouth and I spit out a bee. My lip swelled WAY out. I was kind of happy. I liked the concern people showed me (I could not get enough booze and I could not get enough sympathy) AND I liked that I was slurring and they knew I wasn’t drunk. That might come in handy later when I’m getting ready to leave.

I remember my first sober 4th of July. I was pregnant. I was relieved. I hated the thought of not being able to drink on the 4th of July. I hated the thought way back in January! Yeah, I was already thinking about that and wondering what I had gotten myself into. But I was glad to be pregnant. I “knew” I wouldn’t drink. Knowing what I know now …… I know that pregnant alcoholics DO sometimes drink. And it was by the grace of God that I didn’t. I went to meetings, but I was bitter. I didn’t “get it.” I think I went to my ex-husband’s family’s cook-out. It was nice. Good food, nice people. I stopped feeling like I was missing out on something. A couple of them had ONE or TWO beers. Some were unfinished. I was perplexed. I knew I couldn’t do that.

I think of the independence I have today. Now it’s a real independence day. I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’ll have enough booze and how late package stores will be open. I don’t have to worry about someone’s silence, wondering if it is in response to something I said or did. I don’t have to worry that I’ll drive home drunk. I won’t have to take “the back way” to ensure I don’t get pulled over. I won’t have to inspect my car for dings ……. or even rush outside first thing to make sure it’s there. I will wake up with someone I love waking up to. I won’t have hazy memories of someone’s horrified face after I blurted out a filthy joke — and feel that remorse and then mold it into anger and bitterness because she was such a freakin’ prude and therefore absolving myself of any and all responsibility. I won’t have to figure out if it’s okay to have coffee on my sloshy stomach. I won’t smack my lips and grimace at my vomit breath. I will be able to look at myself in the bathroom mirror.

There’s a lot to be thankful for. I’m glad I have my dependence on a higher power and my independence. Have a safe and happy 4th.

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