Carrie pointed out this week that she did not want me to become a "Dry Straight”. We are familiar with dry drunks around here – Carrie’s mother was one, my best friend is working on joining the club. As we understand it a dry drunk gives up drinking without resolving any underlying issues. It can only lead to bitterness, a deep seated unhappiness. Giving up something meaningful – and drinking is presumably meaningful to an alcoholic - requires a reason, an understanding, to balance the equation..
So Carrie is concerned – are our lives better for my not sleeping with men if it is a forced denial, an override of natural instinct. And where is the line – if one gives up sleeping with men but goes on CL – just looking – is that really any different on a psychological level. She is absolutely correct – if I give up men I will be a dry straight. And that scares us both.
Yesterday the schedule unexpectedly worked out leaving time to see Sam, my FWB (friend with benefits). Sam reads my Blog so he is “in the loop”. We have not seen each other recently – work, illness, life: I send him an e-mail and he responds – he has felt my ambivalence and has kept a respectful distance. I go back and forth in my brain – should I see him, maybe a real lunch or maybe a fabled “lunch”.
Of course I have not cornered the market on ambivalence: Carrie has redefined it with her tacit permission, but I do not believe her. She is protecting herself from what she considers the inevitable, my continuing to sleep with men
Carrie may have ambivalence but I fear that it is the wrong word for my disease. I want to be ambivalent: it sounds so much better than the truth. One is ambivalent whether to choose the soup or salad in a restaurant, about running an errand of little import. Ambivalence to me implies a lack of investment in the decision – an item of no particular import.
But I have no ambivalence here - this is not soup or salad. This is looking at that desert, the one with all the cream and cholesterol – I want the desert. But I know it comes with consequences. I may pass up that desert – the consequences may outweigh the pleasure of eating it, but make no mistake – I do want it.
In the end the schedule did not work as well as hoped and given an “out”, well I jumped on it – no lunch, no “lunch.” I had risen above my instincts, honored my marriage, not hooked up. This is not the first time I walked away from the moment. The guilt and fear, and the love and respect, have gotten me over this hump before and presumably will in the future.
I would love to end this post by telling you how good I felt about myself, about the wonderful view of the Promised Land. It is a feeling I have known and it is a good feeling. I really would love to end this post that way, end the Blog that way, but I am afraid that as much as I want to jump to the end, the struggles are far from over. And as I write this I realize that there is a little more to the Dry Straight analogy: the struggle in reality may end, but the struggle in my brain is here to stay, for the moment here to stay on a daily basis.