It’s 7:00 on a Wednesday night and I’m sitting alone in a hotel bar. On weeknights, guests of this hotel get 3 free drinks between the hours of 5 and 11. My wife and daughter are upstairs, changing out of their swimsuits. I’m sitting off by myself in the far corner writing this, headphones on, enjoying my complimentary Sprite.
Also, complimentary pizza will be served at 7:30, and for some reason, free crappy food is one of the strongest pulls there is for this alcoholic. Free crappy anything, really. That’s why I’m here early, eyeing the loud, fat families fresh from the hot tub with suspicion and resentment.
Step 2: came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
I watch the people drink their free drinks. I watch them spill, laugh, not clean up, get another. I watch another loner, a pizza scout same as me, sit at the adjacent table, jockeying for position. Oh, it’s on all right. Judgment. Worry.
Did I mention I locked the glass door that separates the pool from the bar? Yeah, sorry, you’re going to have to go around if you expect to get any ‘za, Jack.
See, I’m afraid I’ll miss out. I’m afraid I won’t get my fair share. Honestly, I’d have preferred no free pizza at all; I’d have preferred ordering one to our room, instead of sitting in and soaking up this whole “Black Friday Pizza” vibe.
And a big part of me is surprised at just how much I want to drink my 3 complimentary beers. Can I get all of them at once? Is it alright if I take them out into the parking lot and sit in my car alone and drink them out there, or is that against hotel policy? I’ll bring back the empties, if that’s required.
I hadn’t been thinking about drinking at all, until I was told they were just giving it away. I don’t know why that was the trigger, but the notion has been bouncing around my head ever since we checked in. Thankfully, I told my wife about my wanting while we were swimming with our daughter. Because before telling her, a thousand different plans ran through my mind regarding getting those free drinks in me without anyone being the wiser. And if it’s too risky, then maybe I’ll just drive to the gas station down the street and get a couple tall boys there. I mean, I already decided to drink, right? And it’s a vacation, after all, and all this unfamiliarity is getting me a little wound up, and isn’t the objective of a vacation to unwind and cool down, chill out, relax? So why not a little bit of the ol’ leveling off?
Now all the people are gone. Beyond a couple guys at the bar watching the Madness, the place is empty. And there’s still pizza left over. And I’ve had more than my fill, thank you very much. So what was with all the hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth?
Understand the pressure I’m putting on myself: I’m nanny to the world. Apparently, I’m the last man on earth that knows how to wait his turn. I seriously believe that. It’s also my belief that when I’m in control, when I take things over, things run right.
It’s a false belief, to be sure, but that doesn’t make it feel any less real, any less clingy. It’s also immensely tiring, being in charge of all things.
That’s the main miracle of this program: trusting I don’t have to be. Leaving it alone and turning it over. Recognize that there is a power greater than myself at work here, and that I can set down my pick and shovel.