Quite often when you tell someone you are not drinking at the moment, the response will probably be ‘Why? What happened?’
You tell someone you are taking a break from alcohol and they immediatly assume that you must be an Alcoholic, that you have a problem with drinking.
It is a label slapped right on your forehead and you immediately hang your head and let them tut tut you. Rolling their critical assumptions all over you in waves of judgement.
When you tell someone you have quit smoking its all pats on the back and high fives all around, but alcohol, yet another legal drug is completely taboo. You must have done something baaaaad.
Well sometimes this maybe true, but I am here to say that when a person has acknowledged their own need to have a break from drinking, they are already their own worst enemy anyways, with self judgement and loathing to spare!
Me personally? I find myself in a very unflattering grey area of this ‘Alcoholic’ label.
Am I depended on Alcohol? Well yes and no.
Do I need a drink when I wake up to stop the shakes? Well no (although there have been shaky days I tell you now!)
But do I depend on alcohol? Well yes, I thought that I needed it to have fun, to de-stress, to celebrate, to grieve.
As it turns out I was not in fact depended on the drug, just the illusion that I needed it to reach those emotions. I had convinced myself that alcohol was the only way I could get that dopamine and feel those feels.
But even then, I think that is somewhat manageable, even to a degree, acceptable behaviour. It is in fact what most people who drink alcohol do so to feel the feels.
But no, my ‘grey area’ of alcoholism was the lack of an ‘off’ switch.
I am the type of drinker that once the sweet nectar hits these ever quivering white girl lips, my pupils dilate, I slick back my party hair do and it is on like donkey kong.
With all good intentions out the window along with my common sense and boundaries, I pull up my britches and get absolutely tanked.
Every. Single. Time.
I can swear black and blue and have full intentions to have a quite few, just a drink with dinner or only my allocation. But you can bet your bottom dolla that I will get wasted. Either by discretely (or so i thought) sneaking as much in as possible should it not be an occasion others were indulging OR come home and get myself next levelled in the dark by myself afterward.
Or more often then not, surround myself with other like minded ferals where we can all get blind rotten drunk with no judgement and sit around congratulating ourselves in our ignorance and convincing each other that it is everyone else with the problem.
Telling myself I’d had a hard day and deserved these two cans of cider. Whats a third, who is counting. Geez that feels good, I sculled that one, still not bed time I will have another. 10 cans down and work tomorrow. On repeat.
In my early twenties, I didn’t recognise this.
I had the ‘I am king and will drink everyone under the table’ hat on.
The ugly reality of this was that while I thought this hat would bring me friends and respect, all it did was close off opportunities and killed off brain cells.
However being in that age, around the ever popular party scene, these qualities are often mistaken for just a girl who likes to have a good time.
As life went on, the stronghold of these drinking behaviours started to show itself. The effect alcohol had over me was starting to manifest itself into actions. Into big problems.
I wish I could say that I learnt my lesson quickly, that I pulled by shit together and started to live a quality life. But it simply isnt true.
Alcohol has taken from me years of my life, relationships, careers, adventures, self love, dignity.
I have been fired from jobs, lost my drivers licence TWICE from Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, lost precious friendships, created unhealthy relationships, done a shit load of dangerous drugs, put myself in dangerous situations, been sexually abused – more times than I even know.
I write this and still feel the need to reiterate – I AM NOT A BAD PERSON.
I am frightened of your judgement, yet here I am, standing tall brave and SOBER.
Am I an Alcoholic? I really don’t know.
What I do know is that I am giving this sober life a red hot crack, here on this very public platform!!!
So next time someone tells you they are on hiatus from alcohol, tell them that they are fucking legendary.