My Town Went From Moist to Wet

My Town Went From Moist to Wet

By Mary Meehan 02/12/13

Living in a town that only recently began selling liquor, I see a lot of excitement—and quite a bit of confusion—about alcohol. As a sober alcoholic, I know that’s nothing new. 

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The booze has landed Mary Meehan

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The logic actually reminds me of an alcoholic trying to control his or drinking by imposing internal rules that seldom hold (“I'll just have one,” “I'll only drink near beer,” “I won't drink on Tuesdays until Cougar Town is on TV,” whatever). If you’ve ever heard old-timers talk about drinking everything from aftershave to Sterno, you know that making alcohol less accessible barely slows us down. 

Decades worth of efforts to avoid that truth and legislate alcohol use away—whether it is motivated fear or financial greed or the religious conviction that drinking is a sin—seems like a massive waste of time. We as a state have enough other problems that need tending.

Either way, that argument is over for now in Georgetown.

Since I wasn’t buying alcohol, sales in stores didn’t matter to me. But when restaurants first started to serve, it took some getting use to because patrons occasionally got drunk and loud. But that was easy enough to avoid.

Yet, in the weeks we’ve been wet, all has been well here. The anti-alcohol folks sometimes paint a foreboding picture of a wet town—as if it will be like how Bedford Falls went to hell as Pottersville in It's A Wonderful Life. But the truth is that the changes are minimal. Sure, there are a few more beer cans tossed in my neighborhood and the Quick Stop lines sometimes run a little long. And the other day, I witnessed two grown men absolutely giddy at the prospect of spending their collective $6 in the CVS liquor aisle. But those are small things.

In Starbucks last week, I overheard two folks in scrubs talking about the town going wet. The man, who was apparently passing through town, asked a few questions. The barista said she hadn't noticed much difference and the guy's colleague chimed in: "You could always just drive to the county line. So I don't really get it."

Neither do I. But the debate on Prohibition continues here. The other day, Estill County, best known as the birthplace of Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson, had the first wet/dry vote since 1960. 

The dry votes won.

Mary Meehan is a sober writer with nearly 30 years of journalism experience. She is a Feature Writer at the Lexington Herald-Leader, where she wrote an award-winning series about Drug Court in Kentucky. She also wrote about the regrets of an alcoholic mother for The Fix.