Tonight was LNO (lady's night out) with my international women's group. Besides 3 Americans, there were women from France, Belgium, the Philippines, and Canada. So of course we went to an Italian restaurant!
Only 2 of the women ordered wine. One was sitting right next to me, with the glass of red wine practically under my nose. The smell was really strong. I couldn't believe what started happening to me with just one whiff. I got transported back to a time when I was heavily into red wine, and I could sense urges beginning to surface.
It got so bad that I had to change seats with one of the other women. I did *not* want to sit there all evening thinking about *not* drinking!
When the woman with the glass of wine asked what was happening, I explained that the smell was too much for me. I also said, casually, that I'd be happy to give a presentation to the group sometime [about alcoholism], if there was enough interest. Even though I've known her for quite some time, she remarked, "Oh, right, I had forgotten," and it was said in a very supportive way.
It was to this group of women that I first "came out" over 3 years ago, and from time to time I make it clear that I can't drink. In fact, I purposely avoided going to last year's Christmas party because it was an all-you-can-drink affair at a restaurant, and I let them know the reason I wasn't going. For me, it was a big deal to make that decision and tell them about it.
However, as I discovered this evening, my not drinking is not a big deal to most in the group. "Oh, that's right, CA doesn't drink." About the same as remembering that a couple of the women are vegetarians, when we choose a restaurant. Just that simple, hardly worth batting an eyelash over.
So the surprise at what just a whiff of red wine could elicit, in addition to the surprise that my alcoholism is something these women are mildly aware of but it's no big deal to them.
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