Alcohol is not your Friend
Friendship with alcohol occurs almost instantaneously for the addict. It is actually quite interesting considering most people do not even like the taste of it at first. "It's an acquired taste," is something you hear proclaimed about the different variants of alcohol. How many of us force ourselves to acquire a taste for an asshole as a friend? We generally don't. Sure, we may have assholes as friends, but there are other factors at play, though I am sure some similarities could be drawn there too. Most of the time, however, we make judgments about people pretty quickly after we meet them. We don't say things like, "Man, that guy is an asshole, I better hang out with him a couple more times to see if he ends up being awesome." With alcohol, that is exactly what we do. Something happens the first time we drink, no matter how awful it tastes or how fucked up we got that tells us we have to do it again. And, we do over and over again.
For some of us, our first drink may have been environmental. We happened to be in a place where alcohol was present, and after witnessing the "joys" we had seen and heard associated with alcohol our entire lives, we decided to give it a try. Others may have taken the first drink due to peer pressure; friends teasing us and prodding us to drink until we finally gave in. Another group of us may have found ourselves at a low point in our lives and after watching movies, reading literature, and listen to music about alcohol tried it in the hopes of feeling anything other than what we were feeling at the time. A whole other group of us may have taken the first drink as a way of trying to fit in with a group of people with whom we desperately wanted to associate. Regardless of why we all took that first drink, we did, and the result was an unknowing and lasting imprint on our psyche we will spend years trying to first acknowledge and finally erase from our minds and physical bodies. I guess, in the end, it is like a bad relationship, after all.
We all associate with people who add to the quality of our lives. Whether it is their positive attitude, their ability to push us past our comfort zone, their awareness to recognize when we are down, their willingness to support us in times of need, or just their way of thinking that resonates with our own, we know and appreciate those people who are close to us. These are the people we lean on in difficult times because we know they will say or do the right thing to help us better deal with a bad situation. They are there for us, and we are there for them, too. It is a symbiotic relationship where both parties benefit from one another. That is the way it is supposed to be with friendships. Look it up. Friendship is a state of mutual trust and support between two or more people.
Alcohol is none of those things. It is not a symbiotic relationship. There is no mutual trust and support. It does not support you when you are down or push you to be better. Alcohol is the exact opposite of friendship. It is an enemy. Let's look that word up too. A thing that harms or weakens something else. Hmmm. Let's see, does alcohol harm or weaken us? Every. Single. Day. In fact, there is not one positive side effect of alcohol. Sure, we think it makes us feel better. We think it is what allows us to be our "true selves." We think it helps us deal with difficult situations. But, is any of this really true? Of course not. The truth is it actually makes us feel nothing, not better. It makes us act in ways we would not normally act. It clouds our ability to make good decisions so we choose not to make any at all, or it takes away our inhibitions so we make poor decisions. The only reason we believe any of these falsities is because one, we have been told these things our entire lives and two, we have told ourselves these things as a way of justifying our actions. Alcohol does not have one quality associated with the word friendship.
With all that said, I do not like to use the word enemy in regard to alcohol or our relationship with alcohol. Technically, it is a correct word to use as it is the polar opposite of friendship, but I believe it gives alcohol too much credit. You see, in order for alcohol to be our enemy, we have to believe it has the ability to take or destroy something we have or want. While this is certainly true about alcohol, does the negative mindset actually help us in our journey toward sobriety? I do not believe it does. I believe, in fact, it actually hinders our ability to foster positive and therefore easier sobriety. Here is why. The more energy we put into something, the more power we give it. If we hate or fear something, we think about that thing all the time. We dwell on it and worry about it. Consequently, we see it around every corner and as a result of every action. It is in our every thought and therefore part of who we are. What would happen if we did not see alcohol as our enemy? What if we did not see it at all?
When do we grieve? Generally, we grieve when we lose something or someone close to us. When that person or thing is absent from our life, we feel intense loss due to our missing their presence. In order for us to miss something though, we have to believe it added quality to our life. We have to believe we were better with it in our life. We have to believe it supported us and our life in a positive way. Raise your hand if you truly believe alcohol adds any true positive quality to your life. I suspect you would not be reading this blog, part of sober groups, taking steps toward sobriety, or posting and asking questions about sobriety if you honestly believed alcohol was your friend. It is not your friend, but you are the only person who can decide that for yourself. You have to let go of any positive mental or physical attachment you have toward alcohol. You have to accept and recognize it for what it really is, an addictive poison. Until you do this, you will miss it, and you will grieve it as a loss.
Grief over the loss of someone close to us never really goes away. We are never cured of the loss of a spouse, parent, child, or friend. We will always miss them because they added some positive quality to our lives and we added the same to theirs. We remember the time we spent together. We remember the struggles we overcame together. We remember all the fun, loving, and caring moments that connected us and made us close. We miss them because they were and still are a part of who we are as a person. Until we let go of the idea of alcohol as a friend, companion, or confidant we will grieve it as a loss. We will forever miss it. We will never truly be free from the pain associated with losing it. We will struggle with sobriety. But, we do not have to.
Instead of grieving the loss of something we thought was our friend. What would happen if we shifted our core beliefs about alcohol and instead recognized it as something we no longer want in our life. We do not want it anymore because we realize it was an awful friend. It added nothing to our life. It caused nothing but pain, heartache, and suffering. It kept us from knowing our true selves. It kept us from achieving our dreams. It ruined our relationships and destroyed our lives. It betrayed us and betrayal is the one thing we cannot ignore or accept in our life any longer. It is time to walk away from that awful friend and start anew. It is time to be the person we always knew we could be. It is time to live up to our potential. it is time to celebrate the loss of something we no longer want or need in our life. It is time to live well and with intention.
Remember! Do not hate or despise alcohol. Do not think of it as our enemy. It does not deserve that much of our attention. Instead, only recognize it for what it is and acknowledge our lack of need for it in our life. We deserve to be free.
We are free.