Tag Archives: third glass

Going for Eleven! My Third Glass Story


This morning is a typical. I’ve had my two cups of coffee and a small bowl of yogurt. I got plenty of sleep last night. And generally, things are fine. But I want Uber-Fine! I want Rocket-Fuel-Fine! I want my third cup of coffee. [brief pause while I brew up a cup of decaf.]

But I’m not going to have my third cup and here’s why.

  • My enthusiasm will become overpowering.
  • I will miss nuance in most conversations, since I’m planning rather than listening.
  • I will shoot for the moon and be exhausted by noon.
  • The warm fuzzies may become the cold jitters.

That does not prevent me from WANTING the third cup, but I see the benefit of staying feet-on-the-ground real and having decaf instead. [BTW: this decaf with a little organic coconut oil is delicious, and my body doesn’t know it’s 98% caff free.] I’m going to have to deal with the normal problems of a normal day with non-heroic energy and strength. The third glass (coffee or wine) is a reach for something other than what is real.

The wine tends to release some inhibitions and stress while giving me a somewhat blunted view of reality.

For me, coffee is more of a draw than wine because I often am hoping to fire up the creative juices rather than shut them down. But wine is also a draw as the day winds down and I’m contemplating more coffee, so I can create more during the evening, or wine, so I can unplug and get to sleep, unaided, at a reasonable hour. Of course, some of my greatest creations were born of insomnia, so… Every now and then I go for the full-caff past 2pm and I hope for inspiration.

The thing about wine, for me, is it loosens up some parts of my inhibition. Now, in reality I need to learn to loosen those worries, anxieties, stresses without alcohol, but a single glass of wine does the trick nicely. And if I’m going for escape, for me, the second glass is all I need to trend towards bed rather than the writing desk. Usually, I’m in the mood for the writing desk. It’s what I do for fun as well as for money. [Well, more on that later.] It’s what I do for entertainment, at this point.

The third glass for me ALWAYS sounds like a great idea. My brain and my heart want that extra boost. My spirit and mind knows that it’s not such a great idea for me.

The wine tends to release some inhibitions and stress while giving me a somewhat blunted view of reality. That’s okay. And on Saturday night, it’s a perfect time to unplug the laptop and kick back for some SNL or House of Cards. No problem. But during the course of my normal weekly routine, there are very few evenings where I choose to disconnect rather than remain lucid. I don’t want to miss a minute of this wonderful life, and alcohol takes some of my observational acuity away.

Back to the racy side of the third glass. This morning, the third cup lacks the rocket fuel I was hoping for, while giving me the comfort of another warm and tasty beverage. Still, I want something more. I want some creative burst of energy to unhinge my morning, set me alight, get me going. Alas, I think I am stuck with my normal routine and my normal, earthbound self, to tap through this post and get on to my day-job at the factory.

The third glass for me ALWAYS sounds like a great idea. My brain and my heart want that extra boost. My spirit and mind knows that it’s not such a great idea for me. Sometimes, sure, but often, no. I need my powers of observation and wit to be sharp and pointed. Anything that blunts or amps-up those powers is not serving me in the long run. So, I’ll sip my decaf this morning, and dream of the stratosphere, but I’ll remain here in my seat with typical human powers.

John McElhenney

back to Dating After Divorce

Other posts in The Third Glass series:

image: my decaf takes the fun out of life, john mcelhenney, creative commons usage

The Third Glass is an Anti-Aphrodisiac for Me


A wine rack does not an alcoholic make, a wine lover does not a problem reveal, drinking is not the devil’s work, prohibition has never solved anything.

I’ll admit, drinking from time to time is fun. Last night for example, we had a round of margaritas at a nice restaurant. And the happy hour appetizers made the accidental outing more like dinner than the spontaneous happy hour it actually was. And as I was the driver, I waved off the second round for me as I was nodding for my sweetheart to have another. It was a warm fuzzy of an evening at that point. All sparkle ponies and grinning selfies from the comfy couch.

We were both feeling fine when we left before the real dinner crowd arrived. We’d missed the major 5 o’clock traffic jam and arrived home in 20 minutes. In the kitchen we discussed what movie or show we were going to watch.

“Well, I think we’re going to need a short format show,” I said, as she poured a glass of wine. Sure there was a moment of disappointment as I acknowledged her eventual departure, but I was okay with the idea. I had things I could do after she fell asleep.

“I want to be able to remember these great moments too. I want to be present for the love we’re sharing at all times.”

And that’s really part of the deal. If the third glass becomes routine we will be spending a lot less quality time, lovey dovey time in bed, a lot less deep explorations of our thoughts, aspirations, and plans. When the third glass enters the equation I begin to clamp down on the inspired discussions about plans, hopes, and dreams. There’s some pause on my part, when the smooth and slippery tone enters her voice. It’s cute. I’m not angry about it. I just begin to plan what else I’m going to do after she falls asleep.

The night before, as she put her empty wine glass on the kitchen table, saying, “Might leave this out for a bit more.” We smiled at each other as we did the dishes and generally cleaned up the kitchen together.

As we were down to the finishing bits I picked up the empty wine glass and said, “Would you like me to wash this?” I smiled. I was not being passive aggressive, she knew exactly what I was asking. She picked up the glass, smiled at me and proceeded to fill it with ice chips. Both options were still available to her. She poured the glass full of bubbly water. A new smile crossed her face. The smile that acknowledged that she would rather stay close, connected, and beside me for the night.

“Because I’m fine either way,” I said, before she had decided. “It’s just that if your going to have another one you’ll probably be pretty sleepy. Maybe we’ll skip the show all together.”

Her decision was towards me. Later in bed we talked a bit more about it.

“I hope my hint wasn’t to over the top or irritating to you,” I said.

“No, it’s good. I want to stay close. You’re a good influence on me.”

“I just don’t want you to miss a minute of this live between us. I’m so enthralled and in love that any distraction takes me away from being 100% aware and present for you.”

“I don’t want to miss any of you either.”

“So I didn’t hurt your feelings?” I asked, reaching out to take her hand. I wanted to get this moment crystal clear between us.

“Nope,” she said. “I want to be able to remember these great moments too. I want to be present for the love we’re sharing at all times.”

“Well, not all times,” I said. “It’s okay to imbibe a bit. It’s even okay to go for glass four and five if that’s what you want to do.”

“I like that you don’t really drink that much. It makes me more conscious of my drinking. And I know less is better for me, and better for us to stay close.”

The relationship is not all about me. The balance is about how we dance through all of the issues we face.

I took her in my arms and kissed her deeply. “There isn’t enough time in the rest of our days together for me to tell you and show you how much I love you. I’m going to express it as often as I can, and the more you receive the more we both grow.”

It’s hard, sometimes, being the light drinker. I occasionally feel sorry for myself, wishing I had an easier way to eliminate the drinks for the evening. It has crossed my mind at various times to make some demands, to set a challenge in place, but that’s also my child of an alcoholic talking, rather than a compassionate and loving partner.

Let me get this straight. She’s not an alcoholic. She likes to drink. Occasionally she likes to drink more than she likes to be with me. Together, when we are drinking, there’s a warm fuzzy glow. Most of the time, I turn back to water and clarity of purpose so I can get on with some of my aspirations. I’m not against letting one rip, but I don’t ever aspire to have a hangover. And that’s enough for me. A buzz is fun. Intoxication is not. For me.

The navigation and negotiation around drinking or not drinking is an on-going discussion in many relationships. Often it’s a struggle within an individual to make the choice away from that third glass. But my dry-drunk mentality is no healthier than the alcoholic’s. I am in my own fantasy/nightmare that has very little to do with her and her third or fourth glass.

Had I allowed the knee-jerk asshole to pass judgement on her and *any* drinking, I could’ve easily passed on the love of my life. I believe we have a lasting partnership. I also know we’ll have plenty future conversations about drinking, not drinking, wine or beer, or in my case, more often than not, bubbly water.

Our worlds have collided and in some ways merged. For the better. I’m enjoying a bit more downtime. She’s enjoying a bit more ON time as we head into the evening’s entertainment with clarity of focus and intention. And then we can reverse the mode as well. Alcohol is certainly not the only inebriant. Stress, lack of sleep, lack of healthy food, all produce altered states of mental health. Even a sleeping pill I love has the potential to give me a buzz rather than kicking off a good night’s sleep when I’ve had a bit too much afternoon coffee.

We are on this journey together. She is open to my questions and suggestions  and desire for her to be more present when we make love, for example. She is okay with dancing her dance and meeting me halfway in the discussion about what WE want. The relationship is not all about me. The balance is about how we dance through all of the issues we face. She confronted and accepted my depressive episode. She laughed and applauded my recent job loss from the mean dysfunctional corporate gig.

Here we are.

I may cross over to the realm of the third glass and beyond from time to time, when we don’t have to drive anywhere. But the choice to be come less conscious is conscious. Decide consciously when are about to fill up your third glass. Talk about the evening with your significant other. If your plans have different trajectories, don’t judge or complain about. Take responsibility to say what you want and what makes you happy. Every night is a new conversation. Less and less about alcohol.

We’re just beginning our journey together. I cannot assume my ideas are correct and her’s are flawed. She is not flawed or damaged. She is strong and leaning in to all the aspects of me. I am learning to let go of my own baggage and lean into her, and all her facets as well.

The journey is marvelous and it continues.

This post is a continuation of the Third Glass idea:
The Trouble with Alcohol: She Likes To Drink, I Don’t

Always Love,

John McElhenney

The “Third Glass” series:

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image: cork’d in pictures, ben and kas askins, creative commons usage