April 22, 2020

Dear Alcohol: I Didn’t Have to Hate you to Let you Go.

Dear Alcohol,

When we first met, I fell in love with you.

You were there for me every weekend when I was going out with my friends, trying to be outgoing, trying to talk to boys, trying to fit in. You helped me feel more relaxed and secure in situations I thought I couldn’t handle. I reached for you whenever I felt uncomfortable.

Remember when I got my first job at the radio station? I was so young and felt like I had to act like I knew what I was doing at fancy parties and when I entertained clients. Thank goodness you were there. I would have been so scared! I believed that you made me funny and interesting and witty.

Work hard, play hard, right? I would bounce into work, on time of course, weekday mornings. Saturdays we would sleep in. Ahhhh. Those were the days.

My confidence would escalate, and I liked myself more when you were with me. “Why can’t I be this way when I am sober?” I learned quickly that I needed you.

You and me….for birthdays and weddings and Super Bowls and World Series Playoffs. Oh, and funerals too. Thank you for making those less painful and sad for me. Can’t forget the baby showers; you know how I feel about baby showers.

You tried so hard to get me through all the things I didn’t really want to do. I didn’t have to cope with any feelings when you held my hand.

But then something started change with us. My feelings toward you changed, and I can’t even remember when it started to happen. Maybe it was around the first time I changed Sean’s diaper and I was drunk. I remember feeling shame for the first time—like the two didn’t fit.

I stopped and stared at his wiggling little body on the changing table as the room spun so much that I couldn’t make eye contact with him. Ugh. I didn’t like that feeling at all.

My hangovers started to get really, really bad. I had a voice in my head that would talk so mean to me all the time, and I would have feelings of guilt and remorse after we were together.

Sometimes I would beat myself up for days: Why did I say that!? Did she think I was stupid? I shouldn’t have said anything. I wonder if they don’t like me anymore. I was too loud, too obnoxious. Ugh…I think the kids were up when I got home last night. Did they see me drunk? I can’t even remember. I’m a horrible mother.

I worried a lot. I worried so much I would wake up in the middle of the night sweating, hashing, and rehashing all of my past failures and regrets. I was tired all of the time.

For the few hours of pleasure we shared, the consequences in the hours and days that followed became too great. I was losing more than I was gaining with you, and the more that we stayed together, the more I thought I couldn’t live without you—and you and I both know, I could never have just one.

Do you realize how much time I have wasted thinking about you and trying to control you?

Our relationship became a toxic cycle. Instead of being what I thought was a positive in my life, you become a negative and a burden. You were no longer serving me.

I didn’t have to hate you to let you go. All I needed to do was ask for help.



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