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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Some little room in her mind: Dependence on alcohol

From Caroline Knapp's memoir:

Nan Robertson wrote [in Getting Better], "I withdrew in subtle ways. My husband used to say, 'When Nan gets bombed, she goes off into some little room in her mind, and pulls down the shade.'"

That line stuck with me for many years….that image had to do with the places alcohol can take you. It had to do with transportation…taking psychic flight…leaving yourself behind….A liquid makeover, from the inside out.

Alcohol melts down the pieces of us that hurt or feel distress; it makes room for some other self to emerge, a version that's new and improved and decidedly less conflicted. And after a while it becomes central to the development of that version, as integral to forward motion as the accelerator on a car. Without the drink you are version A. With the drink, version B. And you can't get from A to B without the right equipment.

Advice to readers who drink: Find a person who can help you learn to get from version A to version B without alcohol.

Read another story of recovery from alcoholism, or read our source, Caroline Knapp’s memoir, Drinking: A Love Story.

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