Vegan Deli

Vegan Deli  by Jo Stepaniak

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Raising Vegetarian Children
by Jo Stepaniak, M.S.Ed., & Vesanto Melina M.S., R.D.

Raising Vegetarian Children

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I have a drinking problem. In the past few months I've come to terms with the scope of it, and I know in my gut that I need to change. I've been effectively sober (I've had a beer with dinner on a couple of occasions) for about two months now, but I'm at the point where I'm afraid of drinking again and afraid not to.

I have never really understood the point of having one drink, and except for rare occasions (eating with family, etc), I drink to get wasted. I don't understand the point of it otherwise. Beer and wine are a waste of my time, as well. I prefer mixed drinks, or shots, or liquor straight from the bottle. These are all big fat warning signs. There have been more.

During my period of most intense drinking, I quit my job, because I knew it was a matter of time before I got fired for failing to show up or showing up too hung-over to function. I started having periods of insomnia and stopped being able to really digest food. In a pinch, I would pay for alcohol rather than food.

I woke up some mornings and would have to ask my roommate how I got there and what all I did the night before. I woke up once in the wrong bed, and realized that the previous evening I had cheated on my boyfriend with a virtual stranger that I didn't even like.

My alcohol tolerance was through the roof during my heaviest drinking period. It takes several shots (or beers, but as I said, I rarely bother with beer) for me to even begin to feel the alcohol's effects. It takes several more before I start slurring my speech. If I don't get the opportunity to drink that much in a sitting, I get disappointed and irritable.

I know I am on a dangerous path, but it's extremely difficult to turn around or to choose another path altogether. The above description makes it sound like I'm one step away from being the stereotypical drunken bum, from ruining my life and health. I left a few things out, though. I'm nineteen years old and have several merit scholarships to a well established and regarded liberal arts college. The time period in question was the fall 2000-2001 semester. My lowest final grade in any class was a C, and I got A's in several other classes. I wrote for the school newsmagazine and was somewhat active in several clubs.

I took the spring semester off, and only a very few people know why. I'm ashamed to tell my parents that leaving was, in many ways, a life and death decision. It's easier to have them believe that I flaked out and had to "find myself" by travelling around the country and resting at home than to have to tell them that if I'm not an alcoholic, I'm damn close. Both of my parents' fathers were alcoholics, and both of them, especially my mother, regard alcoholics with a mixture of contempt and pity. I don't want them to think I'm stupid or that I can't handle myself. My best friend is much the same as my mother in that respect, and it's a wedge between us. I hate talking about drinking with any of them.

I'm going to have to talk about it soon though, in some meaningful way. My sobriety is not going to hold if I keep feeling the way I do. I feel like my problem wasn't bad enough for me to ask for help, though. On paper, that looks ridiculous, but nobody wants to run to the ER for a paper cut. I feel like I got off too easy. On the other hand, I don't want to ruin my life to prove to myself that I'm ruining my life.

I hate the idea, though, that by my excessive behavior last semester I somehow flipped a switch inside my head and that I will never be able to "handle" alcohol again. I don't want to think about going through the rest of my life sober, and in a way, that's been the deciding factor in my deciding to dry out.

I'm going to AA this week. I had to convince a friend of mine to come along for moral support. My hopes for it aren't that high, frankly, or rather, I don't believe that sitting through a meeting or two will make me not want to drink anymore. I'm also not sure that I will choose to abstain from all alcohol for the rest of my life. If that's what it takes, though, it's what I'll do.

I want to make it clear that although I'm feeling pretty lost and frightened right now, I have hope. I'll get through this, and continue my journey towards a healthy and compassionate lifestyle.

Cara K.

- n e x t   e s s a y -


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