Notes from a reluctant Florence Nightingale

I should be drinking right now.

It's 5PM, six days after my mother had a six-bypass heart surgery, four days since I flew to Florida to support her, two days since she's been released from the hospital that I've spent tending to her (admittedly, very few) needs, sleeping in the living room of her one-bedroom apartment while the TV blares from her bedroom 24/7, Law & Order reruns and cooking shows providing the soundtrack she needs to fall asleep but whose constant background noise has me - on the best of days - wanting to commit a murder of my own. 

But I'm not drinking.

This is the first time in nearly 8 months that I've really wanted a drink. There were some other times I may have felt wistful about it: at the Sierra Nevada Brewery in Asheville, watching my tablemates enjoy flights of my forever-favorite beer; on another business trip to New York when I had nothing to do on my last night, and it seemed insane that I wasn't sipping Chardonnay al fresco under the late-summer light. But even in those situations, whatever desire I felt to drink didn't - by a long shot - outweigh my desire not to do so. 

The to-drink/not-to-drink desire ratio is a bit shorter right now. 

I've been in the supermarket every day, wondering, why aren't I buying wine right now? I have hours in front of me with little to do, hours of sleep I'm not getting that wine could surely help me attain. And yet, I'm not drinking. Whatever stressors are pinging my nervous system, begging me to numb, my desire to be sober, to be present in the situation for both myself and my mom, is greater. 

The last eight months have been like a giant gift to me in so many ways. My mind has cleared, my heart has opened, my relationships have strengthened, and I've felt a peace I've never had in 41 years. None of that is worth risking for a shitty supermarket Chardonnay that's just going to make me feel worse in the morning.

A drink would make so much sense in my hand right now. And yet, amazingly, I'm not drinking.