Alcoholic In Iceland.

Alcoholic In Iceland.

I’m not entirely sure what I thought I was going to look like here, but there were a few things I was trying not to be. One, namely, is an alcoholic.

There was a fantasy I had about being someone completely different when I got to Europe. I thought, “You can be whomever you want to be. No one knows you. No one knows where you come from, or what your story is. You can present yourself however you want to.”

I even toyed with the idea of being able to purchase a beer or something while out with new friends. Something I would sip a few times, and never finish. I know how silly that sounds, and frankly, it’s absurd.

In recent months, I have been okay with taking sips of drinks. I really am. I try things at restaurants, or at parties. Never more than a sip, but I taste things. I will continue to taste things if I want. With people I know, and who know my history.

So here I am, in Akureyri, away from anyone who knows what kind of things I do when I drink. What I was, and what I am now. I have moved into a flat with three bedrooms. A Spaniard lives in the room adjacent to mine, but is unwilling to be an active participant in the house. Uninterested. Hesistant to shake my hand even. I smell him making toast sometimes, but that’s it.

After a few days,  the Brits move in. They are my kind of people. Tom is over the top, and loud, and a bit snarky. Judy is up for most anything, and into watching movies and eating. Birds of a feather.

I’m not really sure how it came up, but for the first time here I am questioned about why I don’t drink, and I have an opportunity to lie, and be someone else, or not. I am not a good liar, and I never have been.

I say, “I don’t drink because I used to.”

Tom says that he doesn’t either, and that he is an alcoholic.

I say, “Yes. Me too. I am an alcoholic, too.”

Something that felt surprisingly comfortable. The honesty of it.

He is new in sobriety. Relatively. We had a long talk about the trials and tribulations of it. About how he was through it, and thought that was the end. But he is only 5 months new. And I know that he is wrong.

I realized then that I couldn’t be anything else but who I am. Which has taken all the nervousness out of trying to be someone else. Something I feel like I have been trying to do for a little too long now.

Last Friday, when I went to meet Olivia and Esther out for a drink, Olivia had a boy in tow. I sat next to him at the table, and within 5 minutes he asked me if I didn’t drink and why.

Again, I said something silly. Nervous. “I don’t drink because I drank everything already.” There is clearly a shame there that I need to deal with that keeps me from saying it. But then I said it anyway.

“Me too,” he said. Two weeks new after a relapse. And 21. I wish I had made steps to be new at 21, but 21 was where I sank.

I asked about his ability to be at a bar so new. He said he was anxious. I wish I would have said more to him. I wish that I hadn’t been shy about talking it out in public. He seemed like he needed to. We talked for a bit, though, knowingly exchanging short bursts of sentiment. The work at hand. The sorrow. I wish I had told him to come talk to me if he wanted.Etty was with Olivia when she jumped off the roof, and broke her arm. She was drinking at the time.

Thankfully, however, both Tom and Etty have taught me that I am who I need to be. That there is no need to hide from it, or be ashamed, and that I may be of some help. Maybe.