Dear Alcohol: You Said You Loved Me. You Lied.
Here we go again.
Spinning round and round in our decades-old, on-again, off-again romance. We have been through a lot, you and me. Together through the best and worst of times. But lately, I feel a sense of guilt and shame after we’ve been together.
I’m not sure where that came from—I’m just telling you how I feel, and it might be best if you leave.
I’ll never forget the first time we met. It was a cold October night in Reno. I was a freshman in high school. Maybe a bit older—it was so long ago, my memory deceives me. My best friend and I went to a party that we heard the older kids talking about. It was late, probably around 9 p.m. We walked from her house wearing jeans, sneakers, long-sleeve sweaters, and puffy snow jackets; it was so cold outside.
We awkwardly moved through the house, trying to act like we belonged there and dismissed glances and whispers of people asking who invited us. We weren’t invited. We crashed the party and wanted to feel what it was like to fit in with the cool kids.
When I first laid eyes on you, I was instantly fascinated. You were the center of everyone’s attention and in the hand of every cute guy. I looked awkward and terribly out of place, and you were so popular dressed in your red, solo cups.
I was curious and wanted to be close to you, but I was shy and a little bit afraid. Everyone else seemed to love and consume you like you were the promise of good things yet to come.
To be honest, I didn’t really like you at first. You were bitter and sharp. But as time went by and we grew closer, I came to crave the taste of you on my lips.
Do you remember that one time when my best friend got a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and we were so excited to have you to ourselves, but we had no idea what to mix you with? And I brought over strawberry soda and we proceeded to drink almost the entire bottle of Jack Daniel’s and all the strawberry soda? Omg, I thought I was going to die and remember how I puked pink into an easter basket before I could even get out of bed. So gross. I don’t think I’ve ever had another sip of Jack Daniel’s again.
Or the time when (yup, me and my bestie) would sneak her mom’s boxed wine out of her fridge (I think it was Franzia or something like that). And we would get so drunk that we would have a butter fight in the kitchen with her brother and sneak her dad’s menthol cigarettes and sit outside with chunks of butter in our hair smoking before we would lay on our backs on the floor, staring up at the vent, giggling because we saw the Littles. Oh man, we were so young and careless.
What started out as silly fun soon blossomed into a relationship that I thought would last forever. I counted on you for so long to pull me out of my shell, to make me feel free to dance, to ease my angst, and to hold me tight when I had pain in my heart. You were everything to me.
I loved how happy I felt when you bubbled and danced in my champagne flute. We toasted, tipped our glasses, and danced in celebration at weddings, births, anniversaries, birthdays, promotions, new homes, holidays. You name it; you were always in my hand and deliriously on my mind.
And I could always count on you to pick me up after a bad day. We had it all.
At least that’s how it seemed. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but our relationship—albeit dysfunctional—started going south a few years ago. It’s not just one thing; it’s a million little things. The magic has worn off, and you linger too long in the morning. Let’s just say that I’m just not the best version of me when you are in my veins.
At first, I made excuses for you and let it go. You would tell me that it really wasn’t all that bad, I didn’t neglect my responsibilities, nor did I drink every day, or all day long. You said that I was being overly emotional and dramatic, that I didn’t have a problem, and that all I needed was another drink. And then another. But more drinks was never the solution; it only made me feel ashamed.
What was once bubbles and giggles has over time become a dark cloud of loneliness. I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I need to find another way to deal with the pain you’ve been helping me hide. I need another way to enjoy a celebration that doesn’t include you. I don’t trust you anymore.
I’m beginning the journey of unraveling you out of my life. Shining a light on all the lies I believed about how much I needed you in my life to have a good time, or to relax after a hard day’s work. I’m realizing that I don’t need you anymore, but there’s still a part of me that’s afraid to let you go. I’m not saying that we’ll never dance again; what I am saying is that we won’t be dancing today.