As I become more comfortable and encouraged by my decision to remain sober and live an alcohol free life I find myself becoming more and more annoyed by the actions and questions of others who will ask me if I want a drink, why I never want to drink again and how they couldn’t ‘not’ drink!
Don’t get me wrong, I know there is no malice intended by these people but I count family and friends as some of those who have said things to me whilst I’ve been in recovery which makes me wince. I’m not expecting everybody to understand and relate to my struggles with alcohol and the severity my dependency on drinking got to but surely it is just self-awareness when speaking to somebody in recovery to not make them feel like a leper for not drinking poison? Because lets not beat around the bush, alcohol is poison and it harms our body every time we put it inside of us.
I don’t want to become militant about alcohol and be this anti-booze fella because I appreciate it is ingrained in society and our personal lives from a young age. It’s everywhere and marketed as the go to if you want to have fun with friends and family – around a dinner table, in a nightclub or by the pool on holiday. Not even just that – A glass after work, a beer watching the footy, a whisky before bed. It is everywhere and deemed ok and the normal thing to do.
When people quit smoking or drugs – even gambling you don’t get questioned about staying away from those vices and you are certainly not asked if you think you’ll do it again (or not as bluntly as us teetotallers put up with).
“Would you not just have one?”
“Do you not miss getting a bit drunk and worry free?”
“Do you think you’ll never have another drink again?”
“Ever think just f*ck it and have a beer?”
“Your problem was the whisky son, if you just stuck to beer you’d be fine!”
“Couldn’t be arsed with not being able to have another drink again!”
Just some of the genuine questions or comments I’ve had in the last few months. Most of the time these are sandwiched between ‘well dones’ and back pats and as I said earlier, I know there is no malice meant but surely the fact I’m writing about this just shows that society is still very much geared towards drinking and if you don’t, you are the statistical outlier.
I’ve been encouraged during my 400+ days of abstinence with so many aspects of sober living and have read, listened to and watched a lot of material from others in the recovery community who have experienced the same kind of stuff and been left frustrated, yet driven by it all.
My best mates for example, there are a group of us who have been mates since school and since our teens our socialising has been dominated by alcohol and generally being piss-heads whenever our diaries permitted us time from work, relationships and studies to meet up. I was by far the biggest antagonist and heaviest drinker of the group when you look back at what I was doing, consuming and getting myself into again and again. Now that I’m the only teetotaller in this group of school mates I feel on the edge of it all.
For me it has taken a large degree of adapting to a new way of living and I’ve gained so much from this journey I’m on. I’m not prepared to lose what I’ve earned through sobriety to return to something which I thought was impossible to live without but has been absent for over a year.
It isn’t up to me to teach the World about living without alcohol in the same way it isn’t up to others to tell me how to live with alcohol.