30 November 2016

Are Shot Glasses an Appropriate Gift for Graduation?

Within a certain mindset, shot glasses would make a wonderful Graduation gift, wouldn't they? Bongs and water pipes would be a little too ostentatious, don't you agree? And a syringe would be well beyond the fringe....
Shot glasses embossed "Congratulations Teddy - 2012" were the talk amongst all of Teddy's friends that year, especially with a crisp 100 dollar bill rolled up inside each one of them. Celebrate! Celebrate mostly, mainly and almost always denotes Alcohol.  Does it really matter whether it was a high school or college graduation?
How about a kindergarten graduation? (Teach them to drink before they can think?)
I'm being intentionally ridiculous now.
My point is that alcohol is thoroughly entrenched in our culture. It's legal and it's not going away anytime soon. But I'm not advocating another Prohibition. I am happy for all the social drinkers of the world.
But I am not one of them....
"Alcohol is my poison, my prison. A brick wall, a trap door, a cancer, a bad joke, an empty bottle, an excuse, a leaky faucet, a loan shark, a broken promise, a cracked mirror, an earthquake, an avalanche, a train wreck, a recurring nightmare.
Alcohol is my insanity."
I would have loved a pair of shot glasses as a graduation gift from college in 1972. Especially with the hundred dollars rolled up within each. But the symbol behind the shot glasses would have meant more to me. I would have clutched them more closely. They would represent freedom and flights of fancy. The money would have been gone in a few days, but my grip on the shot glasses would almost be as strong as the grip that alcohol already had on me by then....
"There was a time when I was not there, but I did not know it yet. I would drink to forget, forgetting what I did not know. Not yet. I did not know yet. Where was I then, when I was not there? For years I lived somewhere between myself and the next drink. I would drink to forget what I could not think, halfway to nowhere and another drink. I was grieving and I did not know it. Someone was dying, but I could not feel it, feel my own dying. I could not own it because it owned me. Denial is so hard to feel, yet, there it is, standing next to you. You: Halfway to nowhere and another drink."
I probably would have blushed if I'd been given a pair of shot glasses for my high school graduation, Class of '68. In our basement was a little bar that my father constructed out of an old door as the bar's surface. A table lamp stood on the one corner of the bar. It was shaped to resemble an old-fashioned gas streetlight. A ceramic bum, drunk and clutching a bottle was wrapped around the ceramic lamp pole.
My family possessed two antique shot glasses with hand-painted swallows flying across the miniature surface of each, passed down the generations. Each had a caption that read "Just a Swallow." Oh, how I would have loved them. Twenty years after graduation from high school, "Just a Swallow" was beyond my imagination....
"When I reached a certain level of intoxication, I was at my peak. Not before. Not after. And the duration of my peak performance diminished as my disease progressed. I was a lousy pool player until I had enough drinks in me. I needed so many drinks to function at my physical best. At some point, the new normal was drunk and it was a necessity.
1955: Rosa Parks boards a bus. I'm five years old. Alcohol sits next to me, waiting patiently for me to pick up my first drink."
... Had I been given a gift of two shot glasses with the age-appropriate penny placed on the bottom of each for my graduation from kindergarten, I would have played with them, counting the pennies over and over until they were hot in my hands.
I would have played with them and I would have been burned and I was burned and I am still burning, in my memory at least. Sober today, I am still healing from the burns. I am healing and I continue to heal. Will continue. I live fully in recovery today. Fully.
Teddy is dead. Remember Teddy, class of 2012? Shot glasses and hundred dollar bills, his graduation gift. Death by alcohol and a combination of other drugs. All the money in the world won't bring him back now.
Be careful what you Gift for....
Not everyone is a social drinker.
I'm just saying....

#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
The passages above in quotes are excerpted from All Drinking Aside:  The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal , an Autobiographical Fiction by Jim Anders, linked here: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO
Visit his Niume Recovery page here: https://niume.com/pages/profile/?userID=26056 
& find his Recovery Tweets here: http://twitter.com/JimAnders4

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