Finding Context

In describing a life lived in the company of alcoholism, and is the most important word I have written. It gives context to our story as a couple straddling an ampersand placed to distinguish our experiences, our perspectives, and our points of view. 

And is a hitch that joins our time and space and circumstances, and a hinge that accommodates the comings and goings of that which influences our existence on either side of a corrupted per se. A per se that is becoming increasingly unhinged – again – by alcoholism.

Over the past year, as Swenny has found justification for drinks with co-workers and in his belief about the benefits of beer over vodka, he has misplaced his point of view as a man with alcoholism. Or at least overlooked that for him, drinking is dangerous. Where for others, one beer leads to another and possibly to one or more too many, for him one beer leads to another round of reaching for a bottom from which to reset.

Ironically, a closet beneath our basement stairs was outfitted by the previous owners of our home as a wine cellar. For us, it is simply storage. It holds two bottles of wine received as gifts, holiday decorations, my wedding dress and wrapping paper. The other night, after Swenny emerged from the basement smelling like alcohol, I noticed that one of the bottles was missing. A search for it turned up nothing. But the next day, I found it replaced.

Not long ago, in a conversation about the fate he continues to tempt, Swenny asked me what difference it really makes…his drinking. What is the worst that could happen?

While considering this, I have noticed a softening of the shade of boldness that has colored his drinking of late. While I can’t be certain, I imagine it is because he is less able to satisfy his cravings despite the increasing frequency of his consumption. I imagine that replacing a bottle he polished with one yet unopened in order to keep his drinking unfound from me – a strategy he used more than two decades ago – is concerning to him. I imagine he senses that the answer to his question might rest with a straw that is near final.

What is the worst that could happen? In the context of right now…that Swenny could continue to drink, and that I could begin to care less.