You’re Not Bored; You’re an Addict. - OC87 Recovery Diaries

You’re Not Bored; You’re an Addict.

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I just drink because I get bored. It’s fun! You work hard all day, so it’s nice to come home and have a glass or two of wine to relax. I like to de-stress on weekends. I don’t do clubs anymore, but dinner parties with good food and wine—only good wine—they’re the best. Hangovers after thirty are the worst! I can’t drink like I used to—I mean, I try! Hahaha. I’ve done Sober October. I don’t have to drink, I just really enjoy it. Wine is one of life’s pleasures. Like chocolate. I’m not nearly as bad as my friend. She’s got a problem. I always drink more when I’m under her influence. I love ‘Absolutely Fabulous’! It’s so funny—so me / my friend! I don’t do shooters or anything hard. No, I don’t drink on weeknights. Not every night. I take nights off. I could totally stop if I wanted to, I just… don’t.

Why would I want to stop doing something that’s not even a problem? Take away the pleasures of drinking for the boredom of sobriety? Never having a drink again? How dull! Sobriety seems so… extreme. Imagine; being fully present all the time? No thanks. It’s good to get out of your head every now and again; to not be… yourself, all the time. It’s incessant, being stuck with you. Alcohol alleviates that. The great escape. A holiday in a glass. You get to go somewhere outside yourself. Maybe it’s a little bit of a crutch. A little way to cope with the daily drudgery of everyday; an addition to mundane nature of reality, not an addiction. Everything in moderation! And I need some self moderation, some feeling regulation. Self medicated moderation in a bottle. Some extra to the ordinary… and why the hell not? Life’s short! YOLO! It’s not worth it if you can’t enjoy the moment. And you can’t enjoy the moment, fully, especially, without… alcohol.

Right?

Do I want to be talking to this person? This banal, anal, boring to the bone, dry conversation with this wet. I need some liquid inspiration, some magical stimulation that takes me up and away. Float me high as a kite. With one glass, two, three, I’m finally free, looking down at the me that nods and listens. I’m treading wine in my head—and I’m craving my bed, but I’m handling this social situation by being not quiet there.

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I don’t want to be in this place so I go somewhere else through the portal wine provides. I’m not really here and this isn’t me, but when I’m watered down to less of me, I can fit in with more of you. Right sizing myself to smaller, dimmer, dumber, diluted me. I’m too much for the moment so I lift the level of intoxication until I’m appropriately submerged.

What’s a little poison to people please?

It’s how I socialize, with wine disguise. I can stand you, when I can barely stand. I’m just leveling out.

If you can’t truly enjoy a moment without heightening the moment, if it’s really that much better with than without, is it still a choice?

Do you think you’re choosing if you don’t want to imagine a life without a mind-altering substance? You’re in control, or is it controlling you? And if you really just don’t want to—do you have another reason other than the excuses I used to give myself? I’d love to hear it. Really, I would. Anything to keep drinking.

Because I’ve said them all. And I didn’t have a problem. Did I? Sure, I wondered if it was a problem from time to time—that’s normal, everyone does and everyone is doing it. If I had a problem, so did everyone around me because we all drank the same—some, even more than me. Is it any wonder that recovering alcoholics lose all their friends when they start recovery? Would my friends still be my friends if they weren’t my drinking buddies? Did I even like my friends? Did conversation matter or did the alcohol consumption make it easier to keep chatting, repeating, forgetting? Mind-numbing, fun times on repeat. Plan ‘fun times’—drink to create ‘fun times’, discuss past ‘fun times’. On a loop. So cool being a party girl. Always invited to things. Things that I’d forget. All the good stuff that came with it—the dance moves, the greasy hangover food, the men. How many times did I have sober sex for the first time? How many times did it matter to me? But it was all a conscious choice—while I was just-drunk. So it was okay when it wasn’t okay. Just drunk, not you, doesn’t matter, everyone does, forget it, have a drink. The blanket excuses alcohol provides.

Tonight I’m going to my first support group meeting.

Walking in feels like coming home to heaven. A room full of alcoholic men. So many Dads back from the dead. I want to be here. It feels good with the others.

“I may not be alcoholic,” I say.

“And that’s okay. Only you can decide. Do you have a desire to stop drinking?”

“I’ve got that.”

“Well, you never have to pick up again.”

My system floods with sweet, delicious relief. I receive the present of the present. Right here, right now, I have the possibility of a fresh start. A new way. No more poison and it’s allowed! It’s okay.

My journey into peer support started that day.

Maybe I’m not an alcoholic. Maybe I am. Does it matter? The only requirement is the desire to stop drinking.

I’m just sober because it’s more fun. Because drinking became boring. I work hard all day, so it’s nice to come home and have the ability to relax without relying on substances. I like to de-stress on weekends so hangovers don’t serve me. I got tired of the anxiety and regrets. I don’t do clubs anymore, but dinner parties with good conversation are my best. Only good quality people. Waking up without a hangover is a relief! I choose not to drink like I used to—I mean, I tried it for 15 years with the same results. It’s boring being stuck in a cycle that repeats and repeats…I don’t have to drink, and so I really enjoy not drinking. Breathing is one of life’s pleasures. Like my health. I don’t judge others’ problems to make me feel better about my own. I’m focused on my own recovery. I see how normalized alcohol addiction is.

Every home I’ve ever lived in had a bar. We renovated our homes to build rooms dedicated to drinking. Shouting, “Let’s christen the bar!” at family and friends.

Morning coffee and 5 o’clock wine. It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere! Or brunch time, or lunch time or early morning game drive time or holidays, birthdays, daily celebrations. Feeling down? Drink to feel up! Feeling good—celebrate further.

Mimosas for brunch, wines for lunch, GnT’s all afternoon, and anything goes when you’re out late at night—but remember the rules of certain types for certain times. Drunks drink from paper bags in the morning, but you’ve really made it when you’re sipping Moet on a boat in the day.

It’s not morning drinking cheap tac from a bottle, it’s got orange juice in it silly! You’re high society at a spa day, baby shower, kitchen tea, taking a flight, corporate function—it’s in plain sight so put it out of your mind. There’s nothing wrong as long as others are doing it too!

As long as it’s not just you—although, it’s nice to admit when she says, sometimes I have wine in bed and you laugh and say “Me too!” She’s a mother so she needs it to get through and you’ve just had a break up—so it’s red to relieve blue.

“Be careful, you don’t want to become an alcoholic like your father was.”

“I promise I won’t! I’ll practice. I’ll be a really good drinker.”

If you got wasted, there was always a reason: line your stomach with more food, water between glasses, don’t mix drinks, maybe just no shooters, it’s white wine that makes you crazy, red that gives you headaches, just keep swapping out, trying something new – whatever you do, don’t stop. Don’t not drink. What are you? Anti-social or something? Drinking is a sport—practice makes perfuct. You don’t want to become an alcoholic! And only they actually stop!

I choose not to participate just because society is. I stopped because I wanted to. Because I was able to.

I choose to live without the affliction of alcohol. I don’t need, just one more, one for the road, for a good-times’ sake. I have different priorities now. I’m focused on creation, connection, and clarity of mind. Life’s short. IOLO. I want to be in it and remember it the next day. It’s not worth it if you can’t enjoy the moment, with yourself.

I don’t drink because I’ve stopped making excuses.

EDITOR IN CHIEF / EDITOR: Gabriel Nathan | DESIGN: Leah Alexandra Goldstein | PUBLISHER: Bud Clayman

See Related Recovery Stories: Addiction, Anxiety, Mental Health First Person Essays

Creatress Lauren Wallett is an author, coach, and creative strategist at Malva Academy. Connect with her on Instagram.

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