Why do I need alcohol?

One of my long-time friends recently wrote on this topic and after a few days of musing I thought I’d post something similar.

I’ve decided to stop drinking. Period. Not just a Dry February, not just “holding off to lose weight,” but a Dry For The Rest Of My Life.

I have a complicated relationship with alcohol. I don’t like getting drunk because I hate losing control over myself. But I like beer. Sometimes. Liquor gives me acid reflux, wine give me a headache, but beer is different – it’s something I can tolerate.

I’m not supposed to drink alcohol because of the meds I’m on, but I keep telling myself I can drink as long as I keep it to once a week, or maybe just one or two drinks. My friends drink and I don’t want to be the sober weirdo. I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs, I don’t really have any other vices. But if I want to socialize it feels like I have to do some drinking – I mean, what else am I going to do, right?

But I occasionally let my drinking get out of control. I’ve been in situations where where I’ve had a dude take advantage of my inebriation – not to the point of being assaulted or raped, but being too inebriated to say no. I’ve driven home when I shouldn’t have. And when I drink, I get horrible anxiety attacks that can last a day or more, and I frequently get migraines as well.

I’m not good at saying no, or refusing things, even if they’re not good for me. I don’t like the idea of being rude, even if it’s just setting a necessary boundary. I don’t think it’s peer pressure – no one is forcing me to drink. I’m making that decision for myself. And it’s not the right decision. It’s been one of the worst things for my health.

So I need to stop drinking – not just cutting back, but not drinking at all. Given that my usual weekly socializing is a weekly running group with drinking at the end of the run, and that I work in a profession where mixers and busy season after-parties usually involve copious amounts of alcohol, I know that I’m going to end up being one of few sober people in the crowd. At this point I’m old enough that I don’t care about that. What I do care about is making sure I’m taking care of myself.

So anyway, I’ll be your sober ally if you’ll be mine.

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