Picking your battles, aka, a victory cigar

Last night I spent some time with my lovely and fun sister. We had no real plans other than to spend some time together because I was in a self-imposed exile from the house. My parents were having a party and hosting 20 or so of their friends for lawn games, cocktails and other things well to do sexa/septuagenarians do (thought I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that my mother has yet to reach that milestone). It’s not that I wasn’t welcome to be a part of the festivities, but it just wasn’t up my alley.

I wrote on this blog earlier that part of my treatment is being open about the process of dealing with depression, anxiety and depression. Part of that treatment is picking your battles, and staying at the party would have meant answering questions (all well-meaning of course) about living at home, maybe a question or two about the not drinking, etc. Those types of conversations can be a trigger for my anxiety, and while I want to be open about what’s going on, I don’t need to subject myself to it needlessly either. I’ve told my parents that they are free to be as open with their friends about my situation as they think is appropriate and I trust their discretion. As I said, picking battles is important, and last night I didn’t feel like having those conversations.

So after work I spent the evening with my sister at her house and out running some errands with her and grabbing a bite to eat. On my way to her place I swung by Rocky’s Cigars and picked up a few Romeo y Julieta 1875’s. After I stopped drinking though I had a cigar one night and it was great. Why? Because in a lot of ways it reminded me of one of my favorite drinks- scotch. The right cigar has flavors that, like scotch, can be delicate and subtle or robust and complex. Like scotch you can find cigars that are very smooth. The aromas of cigars can be like peaty smokey scotch. There’s a tactile appeal when you hold a glass of scotch, and the same can be said for the cigar. It’s scotch without scotch. It’s something to taste, smell and touch. So when I got to my sister’s house, I lit a cigar and she made herself a drink and we sat on the patio for about an hour, talking about work, summer plans, and just bullshitting. Then we went to dinner and ran some errands, It was a great alternative to the party going on at the house.

You may have noted above that my sister made herself a drink. Am I uncomfortable around drinking? It depends. Last night I had my “equivalent,” in the cigar (not to mention what must be the official drink of alcoholics everywhere, club soda with lime). The other night I sat around a bonfire with friends, and a few were drinking beer. Did I want a beer? Yes. Did I have one? No. Because I wasn’t the only one not drinking. I find that helps. I haven’t hung out in a bar where everyone but me is drinking yet. That’s a battle that’s probably coming sooner than later, but I’ll worry about fighting it later.

When I came home my parents were cleaning up from the party. On the middle of the kitchen table was a collection of liquor from the party. Centered in among the vodka and gin, almost as if it had a spotlight on it, was the scotch. It looked good. It looked like it wanted me to try it. I looked at it for a few seconds, then turned away and started to help my mom cover leftovers with plastic wrap.

Last night I picked my battle and I earned my victory cigar.

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Managing my #depression and #anxiety. Sober for one year and counting. #Mentalhealth advocate. Black cat wrangler. Son. Brother. Uncle. Mad man with a blog.

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