I had a 16 year love affair with alcohol, and I ended it over a year ago. I’ve had time to process our relationship, to heal, and move on.
Alcohol was an intoxicating lover, but like most on-again-off-again romances, it was toxic AF- literally.
I tried to drink in moderation more times than I woke up and told myself, I’m never drinking again.
I longed to be a classy, take-it-or-leave-it drinker who stopped at two drinks and enjoyed a champagne toast at a wedding. In reality I was the drinker who was already drunk by the time the toasts began.
An open bar was to me what a wind storm is to a forest fire- a disaster.
Ultimately, despite my determination and many tries, moderation, no matter how reasonable it sounded, didn’t work for me. Plus, not drinking was suprisingly easier than moderation, and came with way more upsides.
How it Started
I’d been a heavy drinker (by FDA standards) for over a decade, which according to the CDC, is 8 or more drinks per week for women.
I grew up surrounded by heavy drinkers, and I thought drinking to get drunk was the norm. Wasn’t that the point? Heavy drinking was at the center of family parties, holidays, reunions, Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Chicagoland culture.
In high school I fell in with an older crowd, and we would regularly drink on the weekends- at friends houses, in basements and garages, in forest preserves, etc. We drank to get drunk.
I used alcohol to cope with social anxiety, and the discomfort I felt in my own skin at the time. I would drink fast, eager to silence my insecurities and connect with others. I would get drunk quickly and sometimes black out.
I’d have to recount the events from the night before with my friends, and it would take days, and sometimes weeks, to recover my dignity. I still cringe at some of those stories and memories.
I hated blacking out, and not remembering what happened the night before. It didn’t happen every time, but it was a roll of the dice. Would tonight lead to…