And the Gift of No Longer Trying
Originally posted May 16,, 2023 On The Ultimate Mom Challenge
I don't have a DUI to show you.
Nor a picture from a hospital bed.
I never lost a job from my drinking.
Or faced an intervention by my family.
For a long time, I thought examples like these made my drinking ok; that I was safe to drink alcohol.
I've heard countless stories of people whose drinking stories reached every facet of the addiction spectrum. From divorce to cheating, to DUIs, and even killing people in drunk driving accidents. Liver failure. Ultimatums. Yellow eyes. Homelessness.
The difference between their stories and mine? Just time, maybe some luck. But not much else. Anyone who drinks is on the same road when it comes to alcohol addiction. Perhaps they’re in the slow lane, or maybe they’re on the bullet train. But we're all heading in the same direction. And the only direction that road leads is down.
I thought I was different from those outside the liquor shop asking for spare change. I thought I was different than the folks walking into the church basements on Friday nights. But my drinking problem wasn’t so different. I was on the same road, just a different street corner.
But what about my mom, who can take it or leave it? Or my neighbors who only have an occasional drink? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), no amount of alcohol is safe. Are people like that doomed to addiction? Probably not.
But even the occasional drink isn’t doing them any favors either.
And for my fellow gray area drinkers? People who could sometimes control themselves but lost control completely at other times? Not one of the stories I’ve heard has a happy ending that includes drinking. Not a single person has returned to me and said "I finally found a way to moderate!"
This is not bad news, though. This is the best news. This means there isn’t something wrong with us. We aren’t defective because we can’t drink in moderation. It means we don’t have to keep trying to find any answers in alcohol at all.
There is no safe way to drink alcohol. In the same way, there is no safe way to smoke cigarettes. It’s not about the person, it’s all about substance. So if you are in the same place I once was, finding ways to distinguish yourself from one of “those people” who can’t control their drinking? Take heart. The freedom comes in realizing alcohol was never meant to be controlled.
Freedom comes from living a life where alcohol has no control.