Quitting drinking means I’d have a problem with drinking, right? I don’t want to admit that I have a drinking problem. I will admit that I want to lose weight, gain mental clarity, become healthy, not have hangovers, not listen to people accuse me of having a drinking problem, avoid the looks given to me when I confess to having drank the night before and feel like I’m truly being the best version of myself for my boys, family and friends.
The last request alone should be enough to make me want to stop drinking. And it does. Is alcohol truly making me unhappy? Is it keeping me from achieving goals? Is it keeping me from being successful? Quite possibly all of the above. Then you have to ask yourself the questions you know the answers to but you don’t want to ask because saying them aloud is so fucking hard. Is alcohol keeping me from being the best mother I could be? The best friend I could be? The best daughter I could be? Am I hurting myself?
The truth is, I’d love to stop. I just can’t. At least, not easily. And while I’m already not up for admitting I have a problem I really don’t want to go through the struggle of stopping. Why am I so afraid? What am I scared of? I’ve sat down to write the reasons why I find it so hard to stop drinking.
If you can’t stop for eternity why not stop for a week? Thirty days? Three months?
Have you ever been in a bad relationship but you fear being alone? You want to break up with him but you have one excuse after another. His birthday is a month away, I couldn’t do that to him. Christmas is coming. Who wants to be alone on Christmas? His mother is very sick right now, I couldn’t be that cold-hearted. I’ll hang on for another month, then another, then another. Of course, some of you probably haven’t been in the abusive and codependent relationships I’ve been in, but you get the point.
I’m afraid to quit drinking for a week because of Friday and Saturday. I’m afraid I’ll want that drink after work. I’m afraid of not being able to drink if I go on a date. I’m afraid of bonfires without alcohol. After hours work functions without alcohol. I’m afraid of Sunday afternoons watching football without alcohol. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to make it 7 damn days and if I didn’t that means I’d have to admit to having a problem. Actually, just thinking this way produces animosity with myself. After all, aren’t I already admitting I have a problem?
I’m afraid of what it will do to my friendships and relationships. I’m afraid no one will like boring, sober Christina. I’m assuming sober Christina is boring because I think I’m awesome drunk and who doesn’t like feeling awesome? *This of course is not true, I know this. I’m afraid no one will want to hang out with me while I go through the stage of quitting when you can’t be around it. I’m afraid no one will want to hang out on Friday and Saturday nights doing things that don’t involve drinking. I don’t even know what the fuck that would be since I’ve been dependent on it socially for years. How does one go to dinner and not have a drink? What am I supposed to do? Go bowling? Beer goes with bowling!
Does this mean I can’t go camping anymore? Can’t go to New Year’s Eve parties? Does this mean the friendships I have that are centered around meeting at bars after work or on weekends would cease to exist? What if I find I no longer like the people I drank with? What if I’m sober and I start to loose interest in the people around me? Will I become sober and judgmental like a reformed smoker or born again Christian?
What if I quit and lose friends? What if I quit and lose myself? What if I quit and I’m unhappy…ok that one might be stretching it but I’m trying to think of more negatives but can’t. But I can think of the positives (Ding! Ding! Ding! There’s a sign, Christina!) What if I quit and lose weight, gain confidence, my anxiety and depression decrease, I have more free time, I find true friends, I save money, I become happy?
I think I have all the reasons I need to quit drinking it just boils down to support. I think I’m most afraid of losing people I care dearly about. And the thought of that alone will make me want to drink again. I need friends to get my mind off drinking. I need friends that won’t take me out drinking. I need friends that won’t want to meet for a drink. I need friends that won’t bring alcohol to my house, serve me alcohol at their’s. I need friends to suggest other things to do on Friday nights when I don’t have my kids.
I realize I’ll also have to find new coping mechanisms. Occupy my time in other ways. Celebrate in other ways. I see myself celebrating with food and getting fat….I need to stop this. But chocolate cake or beautiful dessert does almost make me just as happy as alcohol.
Having said all of this I guess my next step would be to have a talk with some people. It would be making it one day. Making it through a work week. Making it through a Friday night. Then a Saturday. Grr, that sounds so hard and eternity sounds like such a long time? But I’ll only drink on weekends, I’ll only drink beer, I’ll only have 3 at a time. The truth is I can’t. Because I’ve tried all of these methods. And I haven’t succeeded at those either.
Here’s to friendship! Here’s to tomorrow!