The Liquor Store

I read a story a few days ago on Crying Out Now. An alcoholic, sharing her tale of drunken days and her path to sobriety. There was a line in there that made me cringe, something about “telling the grocery store cashier we were hosting a party again.” It made me think about how, for a time, I would go to different grocery stores and liquor stores to try to hide that I bought alcohol every day. Apparently, this is a common behavior among us. It makes me laugh, in that “oh wow” kind of way. I never knew. We all like to think we’re so unique.

Anyway, there was one place I went to very consistently in the last six years, and that was the liquor store a few blocks from my apartment. A sweet Korean husband and wife run the store now, and have for about half the time I’ve been buying from there. And they knew I wasn’t okay. They knew for a long time.

So I went home that day for lunch and on my way back to work, I stopped for cigarettes and bottled water. It’s the closest place for such items and, at least currently, I have no issue with going into a place with bottles of alcohol on the shelves.

Upon seeing me, the woman exclaimed “Melissa! Long time no see!” I was about to say something about why that was the case when she added “I heard you’ve been a good girl.”

I suddenly recalled that two weeks prior when I went in for smokes, another cashier (a relative also) said something similar about me not coming in. I had told him at the time that I was a month sober and that’s why they hadn’t seen me. The husband was there that day as well and I guess he informed the wife.

I smiled and told her yes, it’s been six weeks. I grabbed my waters out of the refrigerated case and approached the register. Our conversation continued.

“How about Steve? How is he?”

“Oh he’s fine. He drinks maybe once a week now.”

“Good, that’s how it should be.”

She commented how I was probably saving a lot of money. I added that my health was much better, my hair, my skin, my weight. I laughingly apologized for not spending money in their store like I used to and even the husband, who speaks much less English than his wife and usually let’s her do the talking, said “no, that’s very good.” She enthusiastically agreed and was very happy for me.

The couple who owns the liquor store is happy for me that I stopped drinking. Yep.

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