I started writing this letter in my head about two years before I started this project and blog. It is basically a plea to the many people I care about to take notice of the role alcohol is playing in their lives- and the potential long-term effects that they are and will be experiencing from it. It is also a letter to myself and the reason I began my year-long journey of sobriety.
If you see something of yourself or someone you love in here, or if something rings true in my own soul-searching journey, I hope you will stop for a moment and consider doing your own examination of your own drinking life as I am doing. I’ll support you however I can. xoxo fb
To my dear friend…
I am worried about you. Specifically I am worried about your health, your future, and your relationship with alcohol. Yes I am a drinker too – or have been – and have spent time enjoying my own generous share of libations with you. Most of them have been fun.
But in the last few years I’ve noticed a disturbing trend or pattern – that our relationship (as well as the ones we have with most of the rest of the friends) andmuch of what we do together seems to be centered around drinking. Sometimes drinking a lot.
When we were younger, this all seemed perfectly normal to me. Getting a little tipsy or even drunk is par for the course in your twenties and thirties, I suppose. But the non-stop partying weekend after weekend (and sometimes more) is something that people outgrow once they get a little older and more mature, right? RIGHT?
But now as we step closer to or past fifty, I am little surprised that so many of our peers – you included – are still drinking so much so often. The stories of bad hangovers; of “I was so drunk last night;” of regrets, blackouts and alcohol fueled arguments roll on and on. It’s hard to believe.
I used to think that eventually something would make an impact – one too many fights with your spouse; getting a DUI (or two); your child acting out because of your ongoing “distractions” or just simply suffering the consequences of the bad decisions made in an alcohol-fueled haze.
I thought the chronic health problems and scares you and/or close family members/friends have had – many of which are at a minimum aggravated by over-consumption of alcohol – would make you stop and think about what you are putting in your body. And if none of that has made an impression, I’d think that the overdoses and life-changing accidents of people we both know have been a little too close to not notice. Perhaps I’m wrong.
Instead alcohol wins out and has become an indelible part of almost all you do – and all those you choose to spend time with. In some cases, alcohol is the friend you choose over all others. I wonder would we still be friends and hang out if it weren’t for our common bond of drinking? Or is it alcohol that actually keeps us together – that makes it “more fun” to be around each other?
I am not judging you or anyone – I am just observing and questioning life and the world around me. In reality I am asking all of these questions about myself more than anyone else. My story is not the same as yours but there are plenty of similarities in terms of how I’ve chosen to spend my time, money and life over the last twenty five years.
But my life is changing. I find myself being less satisfied with the same old pursuits and cocktail party conversations. Talking about sporting events, celebrities, fashion, the weather and even all those fun old memories we’ve shared together has lost some of its’ luster. Spending week after week going to essentially the same social event (albeit a different venue and season) has started to wear on me too.
Rather I am longing for something deeper, more meaningful, and memorable. Likewise I wanted to be remembered for something more than how much we drank together week after week – or what crazy thing I did at that <insert name of a holiday or event> when I over-indulged.
And I am interested in preserving my health so that I look and feel my best more often and for a long time to come.
So I am quitting drinking.
Will it be forever? I don’t know…it’s hard to look beyond today. Just ask anyone who’s been in a 12 step program.
But I know that today I cannot drink because doing so is stealing my vitality, sanity and time. Instead of facing my problems and challenges, alcohol has become a shield and shroud for me to hide behind and pretend that none of it matters too much or is actually bothering me.
Drinking is making me feel bad and less than wonderful more often than not – not just because of a hangover here and there but also because I am losing touch with what matters most in my life.
So I am quitting for today. Tomorrow I plan to do it again and to choose a life that is clearer in perspective, conscience and vitality.
What will you choose?