And no, it’s not because I’m pregnant.
I never thought I would be writing this post, but I’ve come to the personal decision to end my drinking career. It was not a very long one, legally it only lasted about 6 years. Even though my first beer was definitely before I was 21 (sorry, grandma.)
Nothing specific happened to push me toward this decision, it was actually the culmination of a lot of little things that I thought about for long enough. I realized that was actually the exact sign I needed. For me, I don’t need to watch myself become an alcoholic to know that my relationship with alcohol is over.
I come from a long line of very good Irish Catholic drinkers. We are great at what we do and for those exact reasons, I’m ready to walk away from the habit. Most people in my family are done drinking anyway, unfortunately not under the same circumstances as my decision.
I’ve seen what alcoholics looks like and how much drinking can transform the lives of the people it captures. I was fortunate enough to be born into a family with a lot of great examples of the types of relationships I didn’t want to have with alcohol. Sorry to throw you all under the bus, but honestly it’s been through my observations of you and your personal decisions to get clean, or not, that I gained my own clarity on the matter.
I’m done playing out the ingrained family pattern of drinking. I believe heavily that when certain things, like alcoholism, run in families the decision to end it gets pushed down the family line further and further until someone makes the hard decision to end it before it gets to the point of no return. Well, I’m taking the leap and ending it.
If we’re being honest, being drunk isn’t even really that fun in the first place. It’s an expensive habit and one that honestly just makes me do embarrassing things. Sure, I’ve had some really amazing drunken nights and laughs with friends that I will never forget. But I’m also so happy to have so many good memories of drinking that I can walk away with. I don’t need to be the person who gets a DUI, crashes a car, or does something that completely crosses the line to know my time with drinking is up.
All I had to do was realize I actually never want to be that person and the choice was really easy after that.
However, I am allowing myself one exception to the end of my drinking career. So I will not be able to fully claim the teetotaler title unless my one exception never ends up happening again. I am allowing myself to cheers at weddings (or whatever type of commitment ceremony someone wants to have) with a glass of champagne. For me, marriage is one of the best decisions I have ever made and if someone is going to invite me to the celebration of such a special moment, I will raise a glass of bubbles to them. The cups are small, those moments are few, and I’m not going to be above that special moment where I can’t fully participate in the tradition of cheers-ing someone’s happiness.
By giving myself this one exception, I also allow myself to participate in a special moment without thinking, “Oh no, I broke my promise to myself to never drink again” and the guilt that will inevitably accompany that situation. I know full well that I am allowing myself this one thing. This one special moment to enjoy alcohol as I believe it is meant to be enjoyed – in celebrations of health, wealth, and happiness. Not to drown out my thoughts and feelings or compensate for the fact that social situations make me uncomfortable.
I felt it in my gut, it was time to stop and I’m trying to listen to that gut of mine more often. It seems to seldom be wrong when it comes to things like this.
However, I am sad to end my career prematurely. I always envisioned that my drinking career would end for something exciting like pregnancy. I enjoy going to wine tastings with family and friends and my husband and I love going to breweries in the area. Fortunately, there are always non-alcoholic beverages at these types of places and I’m not offended when people drink around me.
So for all my friends continuing their drinking careers, to you I say cheers! I still want to be invited to wine nights and brewery outings. I still want to hear about the delicious beers or ciders or wines or cocktails you drink and I still want you to feel comfortable and not judged for your decision to drink around me.
Drinking just isn’t in the cards for me anymore.