Someone said to me at my 90 day mark, “Wow, you haven’t drank in 90 days? I haven’t even gone 9 hours without a drink.” I think he was being a little overdramatic, but the point here is that we live in an alcohol centric society.
Alcohol has become so ingrained in our lives, that the thought of abstaining for many is unthinkable.
Let me rephrase that….. the thought of NOT consuming a poisonous substance has become unbearable for many of us.
Am I being too harsh?
Alcohol IS a poison. So many of us forget this very fact. According to a recent CDC finding, an average of 6 people die per day in the U.S. due to alcohol poisoning. This statistic does not include alcohol related deaths, but rather the amount of people dying from POISONING due to overconsumption of alcohol at one given point in time. And what’s even more disturbing is that the majority of these deaths were among middle aged individuals and not binge drinking college students.
According to this CDC study, 9 in 10 adults who drink excessively are not alcohol dependent. Furthermore, two thirds of those that reported they binge drink, do it 10 or more times a month. David Jernigan, director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, commented on this study saying, “We have normalized alcohol use. It’s impossible to think of a sporting event at this point without thinking about alcohol … that’s not how it was 40 years ago.”
I wont continue to bore you with statistics, you can do your own research and determine what classifies overconsumption or binge drinking. I can assure you that I far exceeded this threshold on too many occasions. I am perplexed at the very fact that I am not a statistic at this point. Scary Shit.
And yet we continue to ignore the alcohol problem that we have in the U.S.
Is it acceptable to socialize without alcohol?
How often do we engage in social situations that don’t involve alcohol? Ask yourself this question and I bet you can’t remember a time alcohol wasn’t present at a social function. Jernigan had a valid point didn’t he?!?!
And what about those individuals that decide they don’t want to partake in drinking an alcoholic beverage? What are your thoughts about them?
I was not even two weeks into my sober experiment and a “friend” tried to persuade me to drink with her. When I refused I was later told, “It’s like you are in a cult now.” I find it strange that when one tries to quit alcohol people are shoving it in your face, yet if one was trying to quit smoking I don’t think they would shove a cigarette there.
Another friend, who had participated in Dry January, said it was easy and he felt great but started drinking again because….guess? “Everyone else around me drinks.” The question begs to be answered: Do we drink out of fear of being labeled as someone that’s boring or weird or has a problem? Do we drink to fit in?
I will admit, I have been on the other end myself and always found it strange when someone wasn’t drinking. I would think, what the heck is wrong with them- why would you not want to drink?? There is something grossly wrong with that.
Why can’t we go out to a bar and have a mocktail? Who says you need to drink wine at a work function? Why can’t you go out to a friends house for dinner and be the only one drinking a non-alcoholic beverage besides the kids? There is nothing and no one saying you can’t except YOU. So what if people think you are weird or have a problem. Fuck it. My mental and physical health have become more important than how I think others might perceive me. If someone thinks I have a problem, or I am no longer fun Nicole, oh fucking well. That’s their problem, certainly not mine.
During these past 100 days I HAVE gone to a bar without consuming alcohol. I HAVE done dinner dates with friends that are drinking and have abstained. I HAVE been to a work wine mixer- A WINE MIXER….and have had water…in a wine glass, but water, not wine.
My point here, is that, we can still do the things we did before but without the alcohol. I am still the fun Nicole I was with a glass of wine, bust just a little sharper and hangover free the next morning. I know….I know– and this is key- that I am a better person without the alcohol. At the end of the day what matters most is what YOU think of yourself and not what others think.
Did I really have a problem?
This is something I was obviously questioning for some time and continue to question as I remain AF. Was my drinking really a problem? Is it possible to have a glass of wine every once in a while?
If you are starting to question if you have a problem, then its very likely that you do or that it will become a problem if you don’t make a change.
Aside from my past experience with alcohol and anti-depressants (discussed in a prior post) and some random “episodes” there was nothing out of the ordinary. It never affected my work, my ability to take care of my kids or maintain a home. I was not putting alcohol in my coffee nor was I physically dependent on it, but I was definitely emotionally dependent on it. I craved that wine glass at 5 pm like no other. And once I started it was hard to stop.
I would classify myself as someone who was somewhere in the middle. Some drink more than what I was consuming, some drink less….way less. The problem with being in the middle though, is the question becomes not if, but rather when, you teeter over the edge down that slippery slope.