I was just meeting with a friend who is newer on the sober journey. She hasn’t had dire consequences from her drinking. She has her drinking war stories for sure, but she hasn’t lost her relationships or her home. She still has her husband and her daughter. Her financial situation is still OK. But she’s irritated and resentful that she “has to” give up drinking.
That was me, all the way. I spent a lot of my life, especially in the later years, either drinking or hungover, and I kept thinking “this sh*t has got to stop, and bargaining with myself to cut back. That just made me more crazy. I vowed constantly to just quit, but it didn’t stick (my car kept driving itself to the liquor store after work).
What it took for me to break up with booze for good was my daughter telling me she was concerned about me stumbling into furniture. It broke my heart. And she was so brave, confronting me like that. It’s like when you slap someone’s face to pull them out of shock. She snapped me right out of denial that my drinking didn’t really affect anyone else but me.
I asked my friend what she missed about drinking and mainly it had to do with social anxiety and numbing uncomfortable situations. I could totally relate. I deluded myself into thinking booze was my true blue bestie, the one that always made things smoother and easier. That was true for awhile.
And then it turned on me (who’d have guessed!). Looking back, I realize alcohol was a fake friend. It was always with me when I was at my worst. It was with me when I stumbled around in the middle of the night, when I was neglecting my kids. It lured me deeper into isolation, pulling me away from real relationships. It didn’t give a f*ck what happened to me or anyone around me.
If I’m uncomfortable now I can either deal with my feelings and learn to adapt, or I can just leave. Once I freed myself from that toxic relationship, I was free to rebuild my healthy relationships. I got rid of the self-destructive impulse and the attitude of “I’ll do whatever the f*ck I want.”
I’d rather have an ememy that is honest than a friend who stabs me in the back.