This Alcoholic Isn’t Counting Your Drinks

There are days when I wish I wasn’t open about my sobriety, days when I would prefer to have somewhat of a private recovery. There is beauty in the openness of my life in this respect but also plenty of discomfort because we’re all human.

When we humans are faced with something we can’t relate to we often look down our noses at it. Believe me; I’ve been guilty of it.

When I was drinking and encountered a person who chose not to have a drink with me, a part of me internally sneered at you. It’s ugly but true; I was the person who couldn’t have just one drink, let alone choose none and rather than try to understand you, I opted for judging you as the weaker human.

You must be the weak one. I couldn’t possibly have turned the proverbial mirror upon myself and taken a cold, hard look at myself. Instead for years I smiled indulgently as I prepared you a cup of tea or girly Mocktail while internally wishing you’d just have a bloody drink already!

I Was Busy Sweeping My Alcoholism Under The Rug

If you’re a mother most of us have had the oh-so pleasant experience of trying to enjoy a quiet bath while ignoring our children banging on the door at us. You lie there in the lovely steamy water, doing your best to enjoy this moment while the energy is being sucked out of you by your obnoxious (and quite normal) offspring.ID-10071695

That’s what my life was like when I was sweeping my alcoholism under the rug. Like a mouse on a wheel I struggled to ignore all of my concerns and dove into life as I’d become used to instead of facing the hard work of changing. All of my efforts at ignoring my issues made me irritated when you inadvertently reminded me of them.

It’s not that I didn’t like spending time with you non-drinking friends, it’s that you were the Trojan horse of my inner screaming toddler. You stimulated a wee part of me to ask myself why my relationship with alcohol was so messed up when all I wanted was to relax and have fun.

With the simple popping of the cork, the glug of the wine escaping the bottle into my glass, the aroma greeting my senses…..with these minute observations came relief. I was about to become my better self that accompanied the wine and there you were, reminding me that this behavior wasn’t normal.

This Alcoholic Isn’t Counting Your Drinks

These days I suspect that I am that Trojan horse for many folks I encounter.  I now have the pleasures of whispers, of people becoming outwardly awkward with the drink in their hand, of the almost apologetic nature of someone explaining this is their first drink, of the avoidance…

Somehow my presence can instigate certain people to begin questioning their own relationship with alcohol right at the moment when they’re enjoying their “free” time over bevies. I understand that you may feel I’m cramping your style but want you to know I’m not counting your drinks.

The fact is that it is what it is. I’ve chosen to be open about my alcoholism and for some people this means that I bring the reality with me where I go. I understand this and try to make people comfortable when I can, when that’s not possible I accept that it’s the other person’s baggage not my own.

Few Things Offend Me

These days I don’t offend easily, aside from people who enjoy openly challenging my “alcoholism” while insisting I have a drink, there are very few things which surprise or irritate me. I actually embrace the knowledge that I may be a red flag for some people and I hope that my behavior shows that sobriety doesn’t have to be impossible nor boring.

Perhaps this is a form of egoism but I’d hope that I’m stimulating enough sober for people to actually enjoy time spent with me and if they have questions about alcoholism that I’m approachable and transparent enough for them to ask.

For too long I avoided asking any questions, I turned my head from the frightening thought that I may be an alcoholic because my impression was this meant failure.

Within the past 1,171 days I’ve learned differently. I’ve learned that alcoholism isn’t failure, it’s simply a fact for me and within this reality there is strength and beauty to be found.

If I’m your Trojan horse then dammit let’s chat about it, why don’t we quiet that screaming toddler so we can begin to embrace all that life has to offer….

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18 Responses

  1. Julie,
    Very candid… just the way you roll. I love your last sentence and I hope it will provoke someone to approach this subject without worry. It’s hard to heal when we’re consumed by the idea that what other people think matters so much. Good thing you’ve been able to surrender your pride enough to carry on (and to do so openly). It’s a great testimony… and it helps others.

  2. Great post, Julie!

    While I don’t personally suffer from alcholism, I do have close friends who are recovering. The first while into their recovery was difficult for US, as friends, – as people who did enjoy a ‘bevvie’ – did we NOT invite them out to watch the hockey game with us because we were going to enjoy it over appies and a beer? Do they not get invited to the weekend party because there would be alcohol there…?

    It isn’t that we did not want to be around our newly sober friends or felt guilty ourselves, it was the uncertainty of “would this be awkward? Will this HURT their recovery?”…. It is not that we would ever offer a drink to an alcoholic, but did not want to be a reason why they might fall off the wagon.

    One friend finally said: “They will have to be around it eventually” and invited them – let the choice rest in their laps…. and it’s been fine.

    1. Soozle I completely understand, and it was this way for my friends in the beginning. Finally I actually said something after seeing all their photos on FB and it was like the elephant in the room left. We all ended up comfier because of that open dialogue.

  3. It’s good that you’re open. That means you’re approachable. People will know where they can come when they’re ready. I have never been afflicted with alcoholism, simply because I don’t like alcohol. I am a very obsessive compulsive person though. If I COULD get my hands on Vicodin every day, I would be living on the street. Fortunately (& unfortantely) you can only have so many things removed from your body to get the coveted vicodin in your medicine cabinet & I rarely need anything removed.

  4. I love this post. I love how open you are, how honest you are and how you just don’t care! Everyone should be as brave as you to be so open about their issues. You are an amazing woman!

  5. You should be very proud of what you have accomplished. I have been married to an alcoholic for almost 30 years and he says he likes his beer and will never quit drinking. It’s been a very lonely marriage. But I applaud you and will pray for your continued success.

  6. You are such an inspiration to everyone. I love reading your blog and about how much you have accomplished. I know all too well about alcoholism because my fiancee is a recovering alcoholic. Thank you for sharing your story and I you should be so proud of yourself.

  7. You should be very proud of yourself for being honest with yourself and facing your addiction. Alcoholism can affect many family and friends, not just the alcoholic themselves. Taking the first step and admitting there is a problem is a huge step, congratulations! I hope that your journey continues in the right direction.

  8. I love your candidness and how much control you have over your life. I do know how much of a struggle it must be for you on a daily bases. You go girl and smile on!

  9. There are so many people that aren’t alcoholics but do drink way too much…I am sure you set a wonderful example for them and begin a self-reflection process so they get redirected!

  10. Honestly, if you’re someone’s trojan that just means that they have some things inside of them they know they shouldn’t be doing in the first place. Lol

  11. I have a friend who is an alcoholic. I am basically her only friend. Even her relationships with her family are on and off, but she blames everyone else. It’s her anger that worries me and, yes, she has been abusive to me, not physically though. There have been times that she has quit drinking for up to 5 months, but she uses anything that sets her off for an excuse to start drinking again. She will not go to rehab because she’s afraid of group therapy. I feel if she would just be honest with her doctor and tell him she needs help, he maybe could give her something for the anxiety when she does quit. She says it makes her feel good, but when she gets beyond that point, she turns into a very mean person who can go into a rage about seemingly nothing. I hope I can learn some things here that might help me help her.

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