I used to drink almost no water.
Before I got sober, water was the beverage you had one cup of for every two glasses of alcohol you consumed, if you wanted to avoid being hung-over the next day — a fact I was usually too drunk to remember. Thus, in the morning, it was what I poured down my chalky and charred throat so zealously that anything trying to make its way up my esophagus at that moment wouldn’t stand a fighting chance.
When I first went to rehab and endured the humility of being watched while I peed into a cup — in rehab terms, this is called a U.A., or urine analysis — I was horrified when the tech overseeing the process shrieked and declared my pee “practically orange.”
“So?” I’d shrugged, still trying not to be thoroughly depressed by the fact that my life had become one where I’d pee in front of relative strangers who would then judge its color.
“So?” she’d asked, the very picture of sober sanctimoniousness (or so I’d thought at the time). “So you must be thoroughly dehydrated.”
“Really?” I’d asked, glancing down. How come no one had ever mentioned this to me before? How had my world gotten so small that I could be dehydrated and not know it until someone in Birkenstocks and a t-shirt declared as much while her eyes crinkled with concern?
While I acted mildly indifferent to her declaration, I became secretly obsessed with transforming my pee into a color that could be deemed not only appropriate but also healthy. I’d chug entire bottles before making my way over to the rehab and smile proudly when I managed to produce liquid that was practically clear.
Now I’m that girl who doesn’t go anywhere, even just to take the trash out, without her trusty Arrowhead bottle, the one who has those 5-gallon jugs delivered every other week, and the one who can tell the difference between the different kinds (Volvic certainly is delicious).
But the surest sign that I’ve changed is that I don’t feel even a smidgen of pride over the (clear) color of my pee; I just accept it as the way it should be.