Monday, April 11, 2011

Living Sober On Gossamer Wings

Imagine my shame when I had to tell Dr. Mars that I’d once again failed to fire (fire as in Donald Trump fire) The Cowboy out of my life. Imagine my further chagrin when I told him I was reading (only because The Cowboy, who never reads anything, had suggested I read it) a little booklet called Living Sober.

“It’s supposed to explain why he and I can’t have a relationship,” I told Dr. Mars.

“But you are having a relationship,” he had to point out.

“Well,” I said. “Evidently we’re not.”

Living Sober's pointedly non-aggressive subtitle is: Some methods A.A. members have used for not drinking. One of the myriad methods is going to meetings--which The Cowboy does daily if not sometimes hourly-- another is avoiding emotional entanglements until you are ready to handle them.

There’s a section called “Looking out for overelation” which I misread at first as over-relation, as in Any Relating Puts You In Danger of  Over-Relating Which Is Why You Can’t Risk Having Any Relationship, but later read correctly (and why don’t they hyphenate?) as over-elation. 

Which I took to mean: Do Not Get Too Happy About Anything Lest It Make You Imagine It Is Perfectly Safe to Celebrate With A Martini. 

“Perhaps falling in love with a recovering alcoholic was not the world’s best idea,” I told Dr. Mars.

“And why would that be?” he asked because, well, I pay him.

“Because the problem with me is, I want elation. Not martini elation, romantic elation. And, to tell the truth, I wouldn’t mind feeling a bit of over-elation. Some over-the-rainbow, over-the-top, the-cow-jumped-over-the-damn-moon elation.”

At which point I realized, without any help from the mute and most certainly way overpaid Dr. Mars, why The Cowboy had suggested I read Living Sober. It wasn’t to help me understand him. It was to help me notice that, sober or not, my own brain functions as if it has spent its whole life steeped in cheap gin.

I suppose this realization should have depressed me, but since I think like Ray Milland in Lost Weekend, it actually cheered me—indeed, came dangerously close to over-elating me—as I took it to mean that The Cowboy and I might actually have something in common. 

And commonality leads to relationship, no? 

So maybe some day we’ll get to have one. 

Hope springs eternal in the drunk human breast.


  1. Absolutely wonderful. Over-elating, even.