I get a lot of strange looks when I tell them I don’t drink anymore. They think I’m crazy or I’m pulling their leg. They stare for a few seconds and then launch into an endless array of questions. They’re either curious to know why I quit drinking or they want to convince me to have “just one” because “it won’t hurt”.
To those that are curious, I am honest. I have no issue explaining why I chose to stop drinking and how much better I feel. But those people that think one drink isn’t harmful? Well, they can shove that one drink up their ass and leave me the hell alone.
I’m guessing all of you reading are wondering why the hell I stopped drinking. What could be so bad that this young woman would make such a decision? I will gladly explain.
As soon as I turned 21 the flood gates opened. I could legally buy alcohol and drink all I wanted. And I did. Of course there was underage drinking before that. I got drunk for the first time when I was 17 at a friend’s New Year’s Eve party. I drank Malibu and pineapple juice. Then I found the wonders of Jack and coke and I was hooked.
I was in college when I turned 21. I was a Jack Daniels girl. Most of the time I drank it straight from the bottle. No chaser and no cup. That was for pussies and I wasn’t a pussy. I had a high tolerance and could hold my own with the best of ’em. I wasn’t a sloppy drunk either. I laughed constantly and danced all the time. I was also the drunk that called her ex and talked shit I wouldn’t remember in the morning.
I was also a black out drunk. Drinking slowly became more than just fun. It became my escape. My coping method for the anxiety and depression. I didn’t want to feel so I chose to be numb. I would drink during the week and then get wasted on the weekends. Sometimes alone in my apartment or at a bar with friends. I drank til I fogged out. I drank til someone had to drag me to my house and put me to bed. It was blissful.
Graduating college and moving back how slowed me down. Yes I still drank, but it wasn’t as much. I was going crazy. The chances I did get to go totally ape shit crazy I made sure to chug my Jack and get obliterated. There are some nights that I honestly don’t remember at all. Not one detail. It scared me, but not enough to stop.
What made me stop was what happened one New Year’s Eve and hearing about it the next day. I was mortified. I cried. I hated myself. I wished to go back and not drink that much. I had fucked up and couldn’t take it back. It made me so sick that I threw up.
I stared at myself in the mirror that day and made a promise. No more alcohol. Not one sip. Not one drink. No shots. NOTHING! Completely alcohol free. It was so hard at first. My friends would ask to go to the bar and they’d ask me if I wanted a drink. I wanted to feel that burn. I wanted to taste that fire again. But I refused. I’ve been refusing those drinks for over a year.
I am proud of myself.
I feel so good.
I’ve learned healthier coping methods.
I don’t mind the questions at all. I understand how strange it is for someone my age to say that. I get it. My only sticking point are those people that try to shove a drink at me and get me to drink with them. Why is it so hard to respect someone’s choice? I’m not sure I’ll ever understand that one
I will close with a little PSA. If you’re going to drink, do it for the right reasons. Celebrating something. Let loose with your friends after a tough week. Relax at home with a cold beer. Thirsty Thursday at your fav bar. Don’t use alcohol to self-medicate. It will tear you apart and make things worse. Take it from someone who knows.