My most hated AA term: Normie.
Used to refer to those among us who are “normal” OR those who do not have alcoholism, addiction issues, or mental disorders.
If I may, I’m going to rant here for a second. No one is fucking normal. I don’t care what you drink, smoke, or put up your nose. Humanity is pretty much fucked. Not even two of us that walk on this great planet are alike. So, this term, normie, just makes my skin crawl. Just because a friend of mine doesn’t share my affinity for drugs, alcohol, and severe depression, doesn’t mean he or she isn’t just as bat-shit crazy as I am. And, I could go on, but I won’t.
I bring this up only because tonight I hung out with one of these so-called “normies.” One of my old friends from the restaurant industry. She’s not a drinker. In fact, I’ve seen her take one sip of beer and be through with it. ONE SIP. Whaaaaaat?!?!?!?!!?!?
In any event, we’ve reconnected over the past few weeks. She’s just a bit older than I am, but, we’re very similar in a lot of ways. After a coffee date a week ago, we decided to try and see more of each other. She’s in a new phase of her life too. She split, semi-recently, from her long time boyfriend. She’s living alone, dating, taking a strong hold on her career path as a chef, and recommitted herself to fitness. She looks great and it seems as though she’s feeling great too.
We went out for a fancy dinner at one of Portland’s top restaurants and each ordered the tasting menu. It was nice to be with someone who isn’t in recovery and doesn’t make any and every culinary event about drinking. I’ve been to the restaurant we dined at many times. And, prior to my getting sober, their wine list was enough to set my heart a-flutter. As the former wine curator for a restaurant, I can honestly say that this wine list is epic and gorgeous. I was nervous returning to this restaurant in sobriety. For me, alcoholism aside, pairing a nice wine with dinner was one of my favorite things.
Tonight though, with my friend, wine hardly crossed my mind. She immediately seconded my order of Pellegrino sparkling water with ease. I didn’t feel like I was killing her buzz at all, and in that comfort, I found myself forgetting that there was ever wine involved. We were able to enjoy each other’s company, enjoy the dazzling meal, and remember it all! Go figure!
The thing that’s nice about connecting with people who aren’t in recovery is that it doesn’t have to to be the main topic. I mean, sure, AA and rehab came up. It’s been a big part of my recent life, but, I got to talk about other things too. My boyfriend, my goals, my interests, we got to talk about the mastery of the meal. And, that’s not to say that recovery is the only thing that people in recovery talk about, but, it’s always there, lurking in the shadows. If non-recovery topics come up, they always end up getting roped into how recovery applies to it or effects it or yadda, yadda, yadda.
As a person who takes recovery seriously, I see the value of having most of my friends being in recovery too. It’s a common bond, that’s tight, and it keeps us all on track. But, I think that having a “normie” or two in your life is a great way to reconnect with the person you are, in it’s entirety, not just that recovery-freak part. It’s also a great way to be reminded that regular people don’t center everything they are and do around booze. I forget that. Because most of my friends before getting sober were also alcoholics or drug addicts, I never really got to see what a healthy relationship with either looks like in the real word.
I’m grateful for my “normie.”She may not be a drunkard, but I’m telling you, she’s a freak to the core. Ain’t nothin’ normie about her.