There’s a lot of things that changed when I got sober.
I stopped waking up hungover.
I stopped eating whole cloves of garlic to mask the booze on my breath before my husband got home from work.
I stopped ignoring my kids.
I stopped feeling hopeless and helpless and like the only thing I was really good at was hurting the people that loved me over and over again.
I stopped avoiding myself in the mirror.
I stopped watching the news first thing in the morning, looking for any signs of the destruction I may have caused during a blackout.
Eventually, I even stopped smoking.
But some things have stayed the same.
This morning, I reached for my bottled water, unscrewed the cap, and before I took a sip, I cautiously sniffed the contents.
During the very last leg of my drinking days, I began using water bottles to hide the crystal clear vodka I had started to rely on, proud of myself at the time for coming up with such a brilliant plan.
(They don’t call the brutal cycle of active alcoholism insanity for nothing you know).
Now, so many years later, I still cannot bring myself to trust the contents of my water bottles, regardless of where they may have come from. Straight from the shelf of my local grocery store; fresh out of the package of my Costco-sized case; directly from the hands of my 10-year-old son. It doesn’t matter; I uncap and check them all.
It sounds crazy, I know.
After all, it’s been over 7.5 years since I last replaced the water in my bottles with vodka.
But if you’ve been where I’ve been, you never want to go back there again.
I imagine this little serving of paranoia is here to stay, for the duration of my lifetime.
I welcome it with open arms, my life no longer filled with empty promises and shallow apologies.
Just tiny doses of potentially socially awkward “better safe than sorry’s” instead.
I’ll take it.