So most of you know that I'm a recovering alcoholic. I may have in the distant past drunk some of you under the table without even trying. And this week I'm celebrating one year sober.
Today, though, I have have some weird feelings about this. I've been out of the closet with my sobriety ever since last spring, when I was pretty sure it was gonna take, but I've never announced it from the treetops. When it comes up in conversation, I mention it, casually, without shame, without drama.
But today I'm going to happy hour with the engineering crew from the company I just got laid off from. And you know what? None of them know I don't drink. They all knew me from the company before that, where I was known as a drinker, as a beer geek, as the guy who was always the last one to leave the quarterly company parties. Not necessarily a drunk, since I managed to surround myself with guys who drank almost as much as me, in order to blend in. They have no idea that by the time I started working at this most recent company, I had already been sober for three months, and it never really came up the whole time I worked there.
So I have to out myself today, because I know that when I show up, the VP of Engineering is going to thrust a margarita or a Shiner Bock into my hand, and I'm going to have to turn it down. Now this VP is a great guy. Funny, smart, talented. He's also kind of macho. Weightlifter. Type A personality. Likes to flirt with the waitresses and make sure that you notice how good he is at it. You know the type. He doesn't really like signs of weakness in people, and though he will joke about your failures and failings in a good-natured-ribbing sort of way, there is always the slightest undercurrent of something else. You know that he's identified the weakness, and you know that he won't forget that it's there.
What this means is that when I out myself, I have to convey not weakness, but strength. I'm not weak because I can't drink any more. I'm stronger. I'm healthier. I'm smarter.
At least I hope I am. I keep telling myself I am, and most days I believe myself.
At any rate, it's a good day to ride the Triumph. Nothing brings out your inner bad-ass like riding up on the same British iron that Steve McQueen rode in "The Great Escape", that Marlon Brando rode in "The Wild One".
We shall see.