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Tell me again how sorry you are that I am not drinking.
I see it in your eyes.
You think: “Poor her. Such a shame. The terrible consequence for having an alcohol problem is that now she can’t drink at all.”
You see not drinking as a lifelong punishment. You think I can’t drink now because I have somehow overdone it. I used up all the drink coupons. There are no more drinks left for me. The good times are over.
Do you really think I can’t pour liquor down my throat anymore?
I am capable of opening a bottle and pouring. It takes no skill at all. I did it for years! No one is stopping me. I don’t wear handcuffs. I do not have a medical diagnosis that warns against it. I am not on medication that results in negative side effects from it.
Could you entertain the possibility that not drinking is, perhaps, a choice?
A person and a world that doesn’t drink is a person and a world with fewer accidents, a decrease in abuse and trauma, plus crime reduction, decreased hospitalizations, and significant increases in overall health of the person, the community, and society at large. Not drinking positively improves all 10 of the biggest health problems affecting Americans, which includes cancer reduction, improved heart health, and lower levels of depression and anxiety.
Removing alcohol instantly improved performance in all areas of my life. I do significantly better as an employer, neighbor, friend, daughter, wife, and, perhaps most importantly, as a mother, when I don’t drink. These benefits are in addition to raising my level of self-esteem, confidence, and personal trust, not to mention improved coordination, memory, focus, sleep, and finances.
I am choosing these benefits over hangovers. Wouldn’t you?
You think I am different than you. I drank more than you. It doesn’t effect you the way it affects me. You might be right. It’s true I have a sensitivity to alcohol. Maybe you don’t have the same reaction.
You feel sad for me—I don’t. I feel pretty lucky to have a body and brain that know what is best for me. I feel at peace and in alignment when I listen to what my body and brain are telling me.
Why do you pity me? Do you feel sorry for yourself when you put your hand in the fire and your body and brain tell you it’s too hot and you are getting burned? I didn’t think so.
You don’t have to feel sorry for me either when my body and brain tell me that ingesting alcohol poisons and hurts me.
Tell me again why you think it’s too bad that I don’t drink anymore. Tell me again how my choice to not drink is a bit of a problem for you. Tell me how it makes you feel bad for me—I can see it in your face. Tell me how you would be more comfortable if I had a few drinks with you. Tell me how you suggest I spend my time moderating. Tell me how I should just have a few, but not too many. Why do you suggest the solution to my alcohol sensitivity is simply to count my drinks or hours or alcohol content or whatever it is that people do to ensure moderation?
Counting sheep is what I do to put myself to sleep. It’s a mind trick. Why do you think counting would be fun for me? It’s not fun; it’s literally how I bore myself to sleep. You want me to go out and party and let loose…by counting? The same activity that I use to soothe myself to sleep will be a fun party game?
You are afraid I will be boring if I don’t drink. You think I’ll add to a good time by internally counting and watching the clock? This doesn’t sound like fun to me at all. You suggest I drink some, but less than what you think I really want to. This sounds like absolute torture to me. I don’t want any.
But tell me again, how much drinking is the right amount of drinking again? What is the right amount of time, days, or hours between drinking? Tell me again. How do you do it right? Tell me what you think would be best for me.
Could you consider the possibility that it might it be easier for me to just not drink at all? Do you see that I am not truly free when I am counting drinks or minutes until the next drink? I am not free when my head space is busy counting and evaluating how much drinking is the right amount of drinking. It is a waste of my energy.
Can you see that it’s a choice not to drink? Not drinking is my choice.
I welcome the opportunity to remove alcohol completely from my life. You don’t need to feel sad for me. Drinking was a heavy load to carry and I just decided to set it down and walk away. It was baggage I didn’t need anymore. It was a big relief to just set it down, leave it behind, and move forward—each day, farther and farther away from it.
It’s not sad. It’s not a consequence. It’s not a punishment. It’s the happiest, healthiest choice on Earth.
It might surprise you to know that nothing bad has happened to me because I decided to quit drinking. If you think I had a drinking problem, I can tell you that not drinking is not a problem. If you didn’t think I had a drinking problem, I can still tell you that not drinking is not a problem.
But go ahead—tell me again how you think I should have just one.
Only on Fridays.
Because it’s the weekend.
We’re on a boat.
Alcoholic root beer float?
No thanks, I think…I just won’t.