“So… are you ever gonna drink again?”
It’s a question I’ve been asked quite a bit since I announced my decision to stop drinking. I totally understand the curiosity. It’s a question I asked myself when I first embarked on this journey. If I’m being totally honest the answer is… I don’t know.
I’d like to think in the future, through counseling and my past experiences, I will have learned how to handle alcohol. I’d like to think once I’m in a more settled situation and my current triggers are no longer a threat, I’ll be able to have a glass of wine with my dinner or a mixed drink on a girls night out. It’s a nice thought. Really, it is.
I find a lot of people are disappointed to receive an “I don’t know” answer. Either they feel really strongly that I should never drink again, or (more often than not) they hope I will, because it’s nice to share a drink with those you love from time to time. The best answer I can give, other than “I don’t know,” is “not for a long time.”
“It’s not like you were addicted, addicted.”
“My uncle is an alcoholic. You are not an alcoholic.”
“It’s not like you had a real drinking problem. You’re young. We all do it.”
I’ve heard these statements from many people over the last three weeks. While they were meant to make me feel better, they only made me feel worse. Did I make a mistake going public with my decision? Was I blowing everything out of proportion? But then I thought back to not even a full month ago, when I was stumbling around downtown. I was depressed, hopeless, and blackout drunk. My life was a mess.
Ok, maybe when I wasn’t drinking during the week, everything was generally ok. Maybe I didn’t drive drunk and kill anyone. Maybe I didn’t drink every single day. But I did lose respect for myself. I did make my depression worse by putting a copious amount of liquid depressant into my body. I did put a wedge between me and God. I did scare the daylights out of my friends and family when I hadn’t arrived home and I wasn’t answering phone calls at four in the morning. I did use alcohol to run away from emotions I desperately needed to process.
Maybe alcohol and I will find ourselves in a healthy relationship in the future, but right now that isn’t my main goal. Would it be nice to be a responsible drinker? Absolutely. But at this moment in time, that isn’t me. I’m not doing this in an attempt to get back to drinking. I’m trying to build a life I’m proud of and happy to live. Alcohol was hindering me from achieving that goal. A happy, healthy life is a much higher priority for me than whether I can have a glass of wine or not.
So, yeah, maybe I’ll have another hard apple cider in the future. Maybe I’ll learn when and how to say no. But right now, I don’t have that skill. Right now, God has other things for me to focus on. Things that require my full, sober attention.
Maybe one day I’ll drink alcohol again. Then again, maybe I’ll discover I like my life just fine without it.