This post was originally published on September 23, 2014.
1. “Come over for Alfredo anytime tonight.”
Yes, at one point a friend and I really did use “Alfredo” as phone-code for cocaine. I picked up the nickname from a different, better friend whom I only bought from once. Though I can pinpoint the origin of the moniker (crude cocaine was first precipitated by Peruvian pharmacist Alfredo Bignon in 1885—thanks, Google!), I’d never heard anyone else use it. But somehow it stuck, at least for the few months when I was on copping terms with this guy. Unless I befriend someone who’s especially good at Italian cooking, it’s highly unlikely I’ll hear this phrase again.
2. “I feel like I can’t trust you.”
This was my (now-ex twice removed) boyfriend’s main reason for breaking up with me after my blossoming drug habit had morphed me into a manipulative little sneak. And though the next (also now-ex) boyfriend knew all about my weakness for blow—because it was beyond hiding from him by that point—that didn’t mean he trusted me either. When he tried to share his concern about the frequency of my unannounced bathroom breaks, I swear he used the exact same words as the last guy. Now that I’ve been out of the trenches of daily drug use for several years—and eight months alcohol-free to boot—I seem to have shaken off the aura of suspicion. Not that I, or anybody, can be 100% reliable or honest all the time. But on my long list of relationship obstacles, my trustworthiness doesn’t even crack the top 20. In fact, my difficulties trusting other people are more likely to interfere with my relationships than anybody’s trust of me.
3. “Have you thought about going to a meeting?”
I heard this one more than once after confiding to friends that I’d tried giving up coke and failed, or when I’d drunkenly mock my own drinking because that was the only way I felt comfortable asking for help. To be honest, yeah, I had thought about it, in the same way I’d thought about burning all my possessions and moving to Australia. A chronic overthinker, I spent plenty of time considering going to meetings over the years but somehow managed to never actually set foot in one. Maybe if I’d actually done so the first time I heard these words, I’d be running marathons and writing bestsellers by now.
4. “You good to drive?”
This is one of those questions where, if you have to ask, the answer is probably no. At least in my case, I’m ashamed to say, it was right up there with having read the terms and conditions. The last time someone asked me if I was okay to drive, I was only a couple months sober and had barely dipped my feet into the recovery wading pool. We were wrapping up a night on the town, and he forgot (or barely noticed) that I’d been ordering soda. My answer—“Always”—came out cute and snappy, but it lingered in my mind: it may have been the first time I’d verbalized my commitment to sobriety around my normie friends, and somehow that made it real. Fittingly, nobody’s had to ask me since.
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