I grew up watching the TV show Cheers. It is one of my mom’s favorite shows and there is something magical about the moment that Norm walks into the bar and they all greet him. As one who ponders people and behavior, I have realized that much of my appreciation for the moments in that bar come from the diversity of characters. Diane. Sam. Carla. Cliff. There is a common ground of life and understanding around the bar.
As a young adult I often aimed for that mark. I would find myself longing for the connection of friendship and acceptance around a common drink. Unfortunately for me, my wiring for alcohol meant that I was less like Rebecca and more like the mean ass that Woody would have to throw out for over indulgence. Often, my attempts to create a comedic and warm drinking environment ended with me alone and miserable. As a newly sober person, I found myself with an overwhelming nervousness in the face of social situations. With few exceptions, walking into a party or restaurant or even a friend’s house was cause for anxiety over the “norm” of beverage offerings.
I found that as friends became homeowners and host, one of the first entertaining pieces in their home was the assembly and perfection of a quality bar. Whether it was great high ball glasses or a selection nice of wines from trips and travels, part of modern adult-ing seems to focus on being able to ask your guest, “What can I get you to drink?” While I am introverted in my energy source, I have always loved having people in my house. I grew up in a home that was a gathering place. I desire for people to know that my doors are open and safe. As I tried to find a way to welcome friends, I found myself constantly struggling with my lack of a celebratory beverage station.
When I put down my life sucking beverages, I immediately picked up extra doses of caffeine. This is a common reality for many of us in recovery. Walk into a meeting anywhere and you will find a coffee pot. Coffee and soda and energy drinks are the staple of those trying to work out the shakes and the pains of sobriety. Some tend to moderate their caffeine better than others, but like all things in my life, I know no moderation. None. A decade later, I start the day with hot caffeine and about noon I switch to cold caffeine. All day.
Let’s just pause for a second. I know this is not healthy. I know I should drink water. I know all of these things and yet my Hydro Flask carrying family still cannot change my evil ways. Let’s just leave this discussion for another day. Thanks.
In 2010, a life altering event took place. One that has changed my ways of entertaining and my love for all things drinking. I purchased my first Keurig brewing system. With this purchase, I created a corner in my kitchen that is appreciated much like non-alcoholics choose a fine bar set. In the original spacial design, I searched for my assorted cups like a treasure hunter. I made a game of the collection, choosing a $2 limit for each mug and in the process obtaining the must hilarious finds. Over the years, friends have added to the collection from their humor and travels.
Picking a mug to drink from became a game in personal taste and mood. I could tell the emotions of my friends by the day’s cup. If inspiration was on tap, a mug exclaiming sparkle or positivity was chosen. If the tone was spicy and instigating trouble, the choice was the “proud to be a bleeding heart liberal” or “introverts unite in their own separate spaces” drinking accessory. Whatever the mood of the morning, evening or late night, my coffee bar became a place that I found comfort. I knew it was safe. I had treats for all – cocoa, tea and even cider. I have even been known to offer a cup with floating glitter on the surface. We meet all the needs at this bar. This little corner is a gathering post of my home. I don’t like to cook. I often pretend that I don’t know how to use the other kitchen machinery. But the Keurig’s, volumes 1,2 & 3, are my absolute favorite.
The simple act of finding a new bar was a resurrection moment. Many small groups, card games and back porch chats have been fueled by this corner. Many hard conversations, celebratory moments and comfort have been brewed in my Keurig. For all of those that have picked your mug and all of those that will find their way to our home in the future, I raise my glass and give you my best Norm like welcome. Pull up a seat. All are welcome at this bar.