How I Became a Normal Drinker
I wanted to be a normal drinker.
I really did.
I tried very hard to keep myself in check.
Sometimes I could even play by the rules I set up for myself.
You know the rules.
No more than 3 drinks.
One an hour, wait an hour.
Drink one glass of water for every glass of booze.
Only drink on the weekends.
Weekends can start on Thursday and officially end on Monday.
Don’t start drinking until 5 pm.
Maybe 4 pm.
Never drink before 3 pm.
Unless you are with someone else and they decide to drink before 3 pm.
Try to find someone who suggests you drink before 3 pm.
Never drink too much.
Don’t be hungover.
Don’t act drunk.
From my very first taste of alcohol, I knew I loved it.
It turned me into the person I wanted to be.
In high school, it gave me the courage to be bold.
It allowed me to be silly with friends.
It made for funny stories.
It gave me an identity as a fun loving party girl, which is a big piece of who I am.
In college, it gave me some where to go, people to meet, and something to do.
I recognized some of my responsible roommates wanted to take a break from our nights out.
I never did.
I always wanted to keep going.`
I never wanted to miss out.
I was extremely extroverted.
I always has a case of FOMO.
I said yes to every invitation.
I noticed not everyone was like this.
I knew there was something different about me.
I had a constant longing for more.
Nothing was ever enough.
Alcohol was part of every social gathering I have ever been part of.
I loved being social.
My drinking wasn’t always a problem.
It took years of drinking, increased dependence, and tragic grief to get to the point of seriously questioning my relationship with alcohol.
Most of my drinking was a typical coming of age story,
Especially, being from Wisconsin.
There was nothing that would appear abnormal about my drinking for decades.
I knew I liked alcohol more than most, but I liked everything with more enthusiasm than most.
I watched with a curious eye how some people would turn down drinks.
I witnessed people say “I’ve had enough.”
I've seen others decide to stop drinking for the night.
Not order more.
(how could they?)
Be content when the bottle was empty.
Experience a feeling of having their fill.
(never experienced this)
I was never this person.
I never had my fill.
I always wanted MORE.
Until I wanted NONE.
The way I became a normal drinker was to quit drinking.
I now drink alcohol free beverages when I go out.
I usually have one and then I'm done.
I get it now.
I enjoy the taste, the experience, and the treat of a special drink.
I don’t have to keep going anymore.
For the first time in my life, I can have a beer, or a glass of wine.
This isn't immediately followed by needing twelve more.
It's so refreshing!
I do not become obsessed with how I am going to get more drinks, after one sip.
I can just enjoy the sip.
Followed by content and a feeling of inner peace vs madness.
I can have a drink while playing cards with friends, and then go to bed.
I no longer always feel like I am missing out.
I can drink a glass of NA wine while making dinner.
The night no longer end in a drunken heap.
I have a beer with my burger on a date with my husband.
We come home and watch a movie.
I don't start plotting my escape to get more drinks.
I go out for happy hour drinks with girlfriends.
I am safe to carpool my kids home from practice later that evening.
It is such a relief to be the normal drinker.
I was always wanted to have a healthy relationship with alcohol.
I didn't always know the way for me to be a normal drinker was to quit drinking.
I finally have found the right amount for me.
No alcohol suits me better than drinking ever did.