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. 


5 thoughts on “Finding Context

  1. George McNeill says:

    Hi Cher, I had a very dear friend whom I had known for over thirty years. John had a problem, alcohol. He never could see he had this problem, he just liked “a” drink. We could and did talk about this many times over the years. We were like brother’s which we never had within our families. I would phone him before I would call around to see him, a chance to get rid of the bottle’s into the recycling area. Buy some groceries and a packet of cigarettes on my way there, knowing there would be little to eat in his home. Anyway he was in his mid forties when he was found dead, three and a half empty wine bottles and a wine glass where beside the seat where he died. He had finally drank himself to death.
    Why did I tell you this, well I knew John better that any other person.
    John was like a dripping tap/faucet, it could annoy you hearing the consent drip. You can’t fix it , but over time it can becomes a normal part of life to you. Or you can become addicted to listening for the drip.
    Sometimes in life we have to let things be, they are outside of us. I loved John has a brother, at times he drove me mad. He was who he was. That’s one of the reason’s he was one of the closest people to me in life.
    Love to all.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. George McNeill says:

    I didn’t mourn his death, John lived has he chose to live. I forever celebrate his life. We are born into this world by another’s choice, we don’t have a choice in our departure. We have choices in between those two.
    Take care,
    Love to all.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ceponatia says:

    Your story about the wine bottle reminds me a lot of of my brother. My mother whom we both live with, my brother as an active alcoholic and me as someone in recovery but not recovered enough to be able to afford a house yet, enjoys a glass of wine every now and then. My brother is only employed for about two weeks at a time and then is unemployed for months. During this time he drinks all of his money away until it’s gone and then starts in on my mother’s wine. She’s come up with so many creative places to hide it and he finds it every time. She’s finally resigned herself to the fact that she can probably never have wine in the house again because he’ll never be able to move out and she doesn’t have the spiritual strength to kick him out. Every once in a while he’ll feel bad and buy her some wine to replace hers but naturally it isn’t long before he’s drunk that too.


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