It feels easy now.
A girlfriend recently announced that she was quitting drinking. She had lost another job, unable to cope with her hangovers she’d begun drinking before work just to get through the day and her whole world collapsed one afternoon. She works in a bar.
Her plan was to leave the bar, get sober, and spend a month figuring out what to do next. Announcing her milestones on social media, telling friends and gathering resources, going to meetings (I took her to one) and getting a doctor.
It had been two weeks, and my enthusiasm for her sobriety the last time I saw her, unfortunately wasn’t shared. She was miserable. She hates being sober, it’s so boring. The days are long and uneventful and life’s not fair.
I don’t want to judge too harshly, but it looks so bratty and ungrateful on this side.
Although I remember that feeling well. I felt that way right before I caved and went back to drinking.
So I feel discouraged for her. I feel like she will go back.
Now how do I explain that the time I finally kicked it for good – felt different somehow? How did I make it stick this time?I guess I changed my way of thinking from the above, to a more realistic and permanent view.
Drinking was never going to be fun again. I had to make that clear to myself. The way it danced into my summers and twirled me around on patios and made me believe things were lovely and hilarious and wonderful. That was over. So just put that to rest.
What drinking had become was much less glamorous. It became blurry 2am conversations, full ashtrays, slammed doors and confusing arguments, broken windows and crying on the curb waiting for a $50 cab. It became overdrawn transactions at ATMs at midnight on a Tuesday, going home from work early after too many beers at lunch, headaches and apology texts and hangovers disguised as sick days from work. Going to events with $12 lidded beers in each hand, unable to get the booze into my system fast enough before losing the buzz. Learning that the place I was at doesn’t serve liquor and having a terrible time because of it. Balancing my meals strategically around when I “start” drinking so I don’t blackout too early at my own party.
These were the realities I was contending with. These were the realities that made my sobriety somehow stick this time. I stopped glamorizing it and started to remember what life was like before things got this way. There was no way to go back, only forward.
It took 4 months for my mind to clear, my body to follow suit. I don’t trust anyone sober for less than 4 months.
I’m not sure what to say to my friend. I cannot convince her of anything – she will believe whatever she wants to believe – and she will keep drinking if she believes life sucks without it. It’s such an irritating victimized attitude and not at all reality.
Until she changes her way of thinking, she will always be the victim when she’s sober. But if she learns that it’s a choice, and that drinking does not make you better, happier, more fun, braver, more social, popular, or more interesting – only then will she learn.
Until she realizes it’s a drug, just like the kind you shoot into your veins or snort – making you want more and more and more – only then will she see her urges as just that – an addiction.
I haven’t asked her lately how it’s going, because I don’t want to be disappointed. In the same way I was disappointed with my mother’s fall back into addiction. I can only control my own actions, and write about what worked for me.