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. Cascading over the spoon to create a swirling work of art. It 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 times 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.
In fact, 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 – etched like someone who was in a hurry.
When I got closer, I read the description and examined the canvas. It was an oil painting.
What a trip.
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.
You might be thinking – what are you doing in a bar anyway? – and I get that. I do consider myself an alcoholic.
I’m also grateful that I’ve been able to be in social situations, sober for over seven years, 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 too.
The desire is there, sure.
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.
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 knew.
Deep in my soul. 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.
The club soda with a lime isn’t flashy and doesn’t grab attention. It could even be seen as deception, but upon further investigation – it shouldn’t be a surprise.
It’s simple and if I give it a chance, it’s exactly the right ingredients.