Are you sure you have to choke me and twist my nose off to stop me from drinking? Okay. I guess that's why it's called "tough love."

Chuck is going to fix Lorna’s drinking problem. Let’s see how that works out…

Chuck had many questions about my drinking. Like a CSI investigator, he had to know the gory details before he could solve the crime. After the Inquisition interrogation information-gathering was over, he assured me that he took his marriage vows seriously and would not leave me even though I lied to him about my drinking. I felt both relief and shamed. To restore his faith in me, I assured him I would do anything he asked of me. Here’s what I had to do:

  1. Stop drinking immediately. Well, I could drink coffee, tea, water, juice, milk, and other crap nonalcoholic beverages.

    Yeah, sure, Christy. Like you never, ever, have a glass, bottle, or box of wine with dinner.

  2. Pour every ounce of alcohol in our apartment down the drain. The glug-glug sound was sad. It swirled clockwise. I remember it well.

    How thoughtless could we have been? All that booze went into to environment and now the blood-alcohol-level of those innocent creatures were on our hands.

  3. Take all the empty bottles to the trash can myself. I think this was symbolic or ritualistic or just lazy on his part.

    Hey, the bag was heavy and, yes, I had a hard time letting go. Oh, look! Someone threw away a perfectly nice lamp. I think I can reach it...

  4. Breathe into his face at random moments to see if he could detect any hint of alcohol or alcohol-cover-up trick (gum, mouth wash, toothpaste). My dental hygiene was the price I paid for my transgressions.

    Okay, Lorna, you passed for now. Was this included in the "For better, for worse" clause?

In a grand show of solidarity, Chuck abstained from his nightly scotch and wine. For two weeks, I didn’t drink a drop of alcohol and, amazingly, didn’t miss it; I think he had a harder time not drinking than I did. The random breath-checks were the worst–like showing your parent your fingernails to make sure you really cleaned your hands. On the plus-side, I got a surprising amount of reading done in the evening. You miss a lot when you’re passed out.

I actually read a book about how to make a cat's-cradle now that I didn't spend my evenings shwasted. See my handiwork?

On November 14, 1983, my 26th birthday, Chuck took me to a nice local restaurant to celebrate both my life and my success with avoiding the drink. He was convinced that I WAS NOT a problem drinker because I had no problem giving up alcohol for two weeks after 10 years of guzzling the stuff like a camel tanking up for a long desert adventure.

He ordered us each a glass of wine. I sipped the wine slowly and didn’t even finish it. The man couldn’t have been happier. I don’t know if he was happy because he didn’t marry a lush or that his plan to cure his lying-lush-wife was so successful. I was happy that I didn’t have to keep breathing into his face, which should never be mistaken for a romantic gesture.

Perhaps a day went by. Maybe it was an hour. The camel got thirsty after that long dry spell. If I’d never had that wine, would the craving to drink have been triggered? I’ll never know. The trigger was pulled and the need to drink shot through me. For two months, I drank more per day than I’d ever drunk before. My two weeks of being cured was down the drain.

That's not really me. I didn't have nearly that much facial hair, a small bottle of vodka wouldn't never have been enough to quench my revved up thirst, and I never drooled.

I quit my job with Piranha Boss; it was too stressful. While looking for another job, I found watching daytime dramas while shellacked made them quite entertaining. Either Chuck was in denial about my relapse or I was obvious because he didn’t confront me or ask me to blow him at him.

On Valentine’s Day, 1984, our first as a married couple, we had the biggest blow-up of our marriage. This time, I moved up Chuck’s Displeasure Meter from a denim skirt fashion faux pas to a culinary cataclysm that involved the much-maligned meatloaf–and I’m not talking about the portly rock star with hits like “Back to Hell,” which is kind of ironic…

Does this look like the face of a happy man? I didn't think so either, but I was fit-shaced, so I wasn't always the best judge back then.

What comes next is Lorna’s miscalculation of a magnitude that would never be forgotten.