Miss or Miss Out? I miss drinking.   I miss everything about it.   Well, almost everything.  I don’t miss the hangovers.  Or forgetting stuff.  And I don’t miss missing out.

I miss the anticipation of that drink, whether it be a nice cold glass of white wine on a hot summer day, or a warm, silky glass of red on a snowy night in winter.  Or an ice cold beer on the beach or the golf course.  Or a gin and tonic at the end of 18.   Don’t forget the vibrant pink hue and delightful shape of a Cosmo on a night out with the girls.

I miss going to a friend’s house and chatting over a few glasses of wine. I miss going out to dinner and enjoying a bottle of wine that my husband orders.

I miss eating crabs and reaching for a cold beer with my Old Bay-covered fingers.  I miss chasing down spicy Thai food with a lovely, chilled Viognier or Gruner Veltliner.

I really miss the sound of a champagne cork popping and the fizz of the bubbles rising up inside a beautiful crystal flute.

Decaf after dinner is not quite the same as Sambuca and its three floating coffee beans.  Or a velvety glass of vintage port.  Nowhere close to the taste of Sauternes.

I miss coming up from the beach, putting on music and mixing up some yummy concoctions.  The sound of the ice clinking in the glass or being crushed in the blender.  Shots of tequila that are like rapidly-firing burning bullets down the hatch.  The warmth that quickly spreads throughout the body.

Patterns of behavior.   Non-alcoholics may not understand at all the myriad activities that are associated with drinking.   I think about watching a chick flick while my husband is away–I think wine.   I want to take a bath to soak aching muscles –I think wine. I think about a wedding–drinking.  A funeral–drinking.  Theater–pre-theater drinks, intermission drinks, post-theater drinks.   Concerts–of course drinking.

Skiing–après ski.  Bowling–pitchers of beer.  Football–tailgates.  My kids’ lacrosse games–tailgates.   Ice skating–hot toddy.  Sailing–beers in coozies.

Halloween trick-or-treat—road sodas.  Christmas–champagne and egg nog.  Easter–Bloody Marys.  New Years — more champagne.   Hanukkah– Manashevitz.   Mardi Gras–Hurricanes.  The Derby–Mint Juleps.   Cinco de Mayo—Margaritas.

Pretty much if you tried word association with me, I would come up with something alcohol-related for every word.  But I don’t miss missing out on all the things I did when I was drinking.

I missed out on tucking my kids in and telling them bedtime stories many nights because I passed out early after drinking all day.

I missed out on some great relationships and friendships that crumbled because of my drinking.

I missed out on years I could have been enjoying my marriage

I missed out on learning many important life lessons because I wasn’t listening or couldn’t remember them.

I missed out on countless days of just living life because I was too hungover to get out of bed

I missed out on memories because I blacked out.

I missed out on feeling strong and healthy because alcohol was poisoning my body.

I missed out on knowing that I am worthy of so much more than I believed.

I missed out on pride and self-respect because of things I did when I was drunk.

I missed out on sleeping peacefully through the night.

I missed out on serenity.

But I’m done missing out on life. I am now able to wake up with a clear head, not having to struggle to remember the night before, and realize that every day is truly a gift.  I’m missing the drinking less and less with each day of sobriety.   No more miss-takes.