May 2, 2022

Dear Alcohol, I Miss You.

I see you watching me, waiting for me to slip.

Always near and at the ready, like an ex-lover waiting in the wings for the 2 a.m. booty call. I’ve told you I needed a break, and even though you and I both agreed that we are not good for each other…there you are. Photos of you showing up on my SM feed, television shows, movies, restaurants, and almost everywhere I turn, there you are.

Why do you haunt me? Why won’t you just leave me alone?

I think it’s worse during the holiday season. When family and friends gather and cups are filled with your essence. Celebrations are the times when I miss you most. When I long for the way you tickle my nose with your bubbly effervescence and the way the carbonation hits my cheeks and makes my mouth water. Our juices combining in a unity that makes me want more of you. I tell myself that I don’t miss you, but the truth is sometimes I do. I miss you a lot. I want to forget how much I hate myself the next day after I’ve spent the night with you. I crave the good times—or at least what I think were the good times.

The problem is that my memory gets clouded and then I see you in the room and I think to myself, “Maybe just one,” and it’s never just one. It’s usually two or three, and if the music is playing and the people are laughing, I can’t keep you out of my glass. And it’s never the night of imbibing that makes me detest myself and you; it’s always the next day. I know I’m better without you. I know that my mindset and clarity are not as sharp when you are lingering in my body.

It makes me wonder. Why? Why can’t I let you go completely? Why do I miss you when we gather? I have a suspicion that it’s because what I’m really craving is connection. And you are just part of the experience. The ritual that elevates the overall vibe of the get together, the celebration, the family dinner, whatever.

And even though I have spent many a social gathering sober, there’s something a little bit off when you’ve been in the room and you’re not in my body. The jokes get dumber, and the laughter gets louder, and I’m just not in on all the fun. It’s just not as fun for me, and I feel left out. I want to be included, connected, and in on the jokes. That’s when I miss you and wish that I could have all the laughter and merriment and none of the regret.

But that’s not the way it works with us, is it? For us, it’s a little more complicated because something in me wants more than you can offer. I want to be close and connected to all of my family and friends, and I wish that you weren’t invited to the party. I wish that our society didn’t glamorize you and that you weren’t the main attraction for any all social events. How did you become so popular? You know you’re a poison, right? Fuel? Like literally fuel and hand sanitizer. And still you are front and center at every celebration and consumed like you are the elixir of life. I just don’t get it.

But even in my confusion for how you worm your way back into my glass, I know what it feels like when we are apart. And even though we spent most of our time apart, it bothers me that I can’t let you go completely—that I need to continue to rely on heavy doses of willpower to keep you away from me and that sometimes I fail. I think that’s what gets me the most: that I have been able to give up so many things that no longer serve me, including bad relationships, cigarettes, cocaine, and caffeine. And I have had long stretches of time without you, hundreds of days, and then bam, there you are—back in my glass. Back in my bed once again, lingering way too long and clouding my head.

I wonder if there will ever be a time when I can let you go completely. When I won’t miss you sometimes. I know of others who have been able to make the break for good, and I wonder what kind of willpower they must have to let you go without giving you a second thought.

And even though we are not together every day or every week for that matter, the fact that I can go for so long and then eventually take you back is a problem that I can’t seem to figure out. You’re not good for me, my life is better without you, and yet I’m surprised and disappointed whenever you show up again.

I need another break. I need to find something that I love more than my cravings for you.



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