If you are on any social media platform I assume you are faced with the complexities and duality of alcohol and the human experience. As I scroll through my feed I find plenty of overused one liners about “mommy needing her juice” and filtered images of wine glasses filled to the brim. I continue scrolling to find a post from a newly sober woman; white knuckling her way through holidays and stressful events while manically posting about her latest mocktail obsession. IT ALMOST TASTES LIKE AN APEROL SPRITZ!
I frequently ruminate on my relationship with alcohol. There are typically two times the internal dialog arises. The morning after I imbibe one too many glasses of the red elixir known as Chianti, I usually wake up covered in a thick blanket of anxiety and regret. Even if the evening was spent laughing with my husband on the couch watching a movie, I will wake up feeling as though I sent a nudie pic to my mother-in-law at 3am.
The other time I question my relationship with alcohol is when I’ve abstained for some time. I’ve had a single glass of wine since March 4th. For no other reason then I really just haven’t been in the mood to drink. But that will make me question why? Why do I notice that I’ve gone that long without drinking? Why do I feel somewhat superior to others for not drinking? Does this mean I don’t have the gene? Alcoholism runs deep in my family. My father was a recovering alcoholic the last five years of his life. His father was an alcoholic and I think it’s safe to assume my grandfather’s father, an Irish Bostonian, was one too. I’ve seen what the effects of alcohol abuse can do to relationships, family businesses, and one’s own demise so I’ve needed to be painfully aware of my own urges.
Do we need to have alcoholics in our family to be thoughtful of our relationship with alcohol? Do we need to hit rock bottom to stop? Are the only options abstaining entirely or having a bottle constantly ready for pouring in the fridge? My challenge to you is to be aware of your relationship with alcohol without judging yourself for where you currently sit with it. Having self-compassion and kindness towards your own experience will help you navigate this journey with a clear head. When you look at alcohol as I have for the past 12 years – bitter, resentful, embarrassed, guilt-stricken – you spend more time feeding a narrative of defending your actions with alcohol, rather than forgiving yourself for not knowing better and looking towards a beautiful future with or without alcohol in it.