On January 6th, after a few unsuccessful stints of trying to quit cold turkey, I found a way to give up alcohol. What finally got me over the hump? It was mainly down to my mindset and how I perceived alcohol. My drinking career spanned 22 years, well over half of my existence. Being Irish, drinking was a huge part of my culture and upbringing. All major milestones and joyous moments in life centered around alcohol. That’s a story for another day. I gave up much like I gave up cigarettes.
In the beginning we were best friends, then over the years the friend just started being an asshole to me and I grew really tired of him until it reached a point where I didn’t want to be around him anymore.
It was that simple. There was no moment where I woke up lying in the gutter with an empty vodka bottle protruding from a brown paper bag, down and out, bottom of the barrel, scratching my head wondering where it all went wrong. However, when I say “simple”; giving up is not at all easy and yes I did have all the warning signs of a serious problem drinker.
With my former friend drink and I, there was no such thing as moderation. Once a drink trouched my lips, it was on my terms as to when I would finish. It didn’t matter who was at the party and who wasn’t, or if there was anyone at the party at all. I wasn’t done drinking until I felt comfortably numb, or whatever feeling I was trying to escape from had left me. I drank because my ego demanded it. I drank to reward myself, I drank because I felt I deserved it. I drank to make excuses for myself, to leave the real world behind and the things I needed to get done, to be done on another day.
I could speak all day and provide all kinds of stories in this article as to the depths of my drinking and where it led me but that isn’t the point of this article. Before I get to the point, I know that there are some that will read this article and finger me for a quack, or dry drunk and call my theories out of line. That is all okay. I have made peace with all of that because I understand my truth and I understand my addiction. The point is that there is currently a health epidemic happening with alcohol that is completely out of control.
Other than its ability throughout history to destroy families, homes and lives, healthwise; alcohol is completely destroying the livers of millennials. Many of them don’t even realize it. We will see the effects of it overwhelmingly in our hospitals in 20 or 30 years when the millennials become senior citizens. (If you want to learn more specifically about this, watch this)
The root cause of this epidemic is this and it is what all drinkers and non-drinkers should take a moment to think about. Why are there more units of alcohol in drinks in this day and age then there was half a century ago? ABV% has risen in wine and beer, especially in recent years. Research the internet and for wine some various reasons are given such as global warming causing more ripened grapes and for beer its because of more refined palettes. Right.
What if there was something more sinister behind it? Considering that the drinks industry is a multi billion dollar industry that a whole host of other industries piggy back off of (sports, transportaion, media and of course pharmaceutical/healthcare to name just a few rather large ones..imagine those industries without alcohol), doesn’t it make sense to keep people drinking this addictive substance and keep them buying more? Perhaps more alcohol content might develop that addiction quicker and further?
A glass of pure alcohol is poison and if put in your body can kill you stone dead. For some reason, the fact that we limit the % and mask the alcohol with various processing and flavoring, the killer drug is socially acceptable to purchase and consume in vast amounts out in public. In fact if you choose not to put the poison into your body, YOU are the one who is usually labeled abnormal.
People get uncomfortable and awkward around you, they do not know how to handle the situation and quickly hurry away to find safer social surroundings.
I am not one to source stats and information on the dangers of alcohol. Its all out there, readily available for anyone who chooses to go after it. My Aunt died alone in her bedroom surrounded by empty bottles of vodka, years of misery, shutting herself in and drinking to the point where she had brain aneurisyms…there’s my source.
However, the fact that we do not have health warnings labels on attractively packaged bottles of poison the same way we do cigarettes is an absolute travesty. Step outside the mousetrap for a bit and take a look objectively at this drinks industry. Recovering alcoholics who manage to free themselves from its grip sit on the fringes of society, most of them shamed into being “Anonymous”. The fact is that alcohol is poison and it is pushed in peoples faces at every turn. Multi billion dollar market. Watch the ads, the friendship, the camaderie, the sexiness that comes with drinking. While in reality, millions of people suffer drinking alone at home, lying to their loved ones, covering up their addictions, going broke, making bad decisions, getting into trouble, nursing hangovers, losing their health then waking up the next morning and doing it all over again.
I don’t talk for everyone but this is the reality of the situation. More people buy alcohol at liqour stores and outlets now than they ever have, pregaming before they go out or drinking alone at home. Most people do not understand the sheer power of the drug that is pushed.
I don’t look down on anybody that drinks. I do encourage them to open their eyes and start talking and start questioning however. Get your liver tested. If you feel like you might have a problem, act on it. Don’t let the mousetrap keep snapping on you. My alcohol free journey has only just begun but I can tell you first hand life is much different for me and there are a whole host of benefits. Does that make me any better or greater than a person who drinks moderately or otherwise?
Absolutley not, I will always be an ex-drinker too. However, those who choose to stop drinking get dumped into another category and many are afraid to speak up to other drinkers about this epidemic that I mention or just talk about drinking to each other in general. The epidemic is real and the epidemic is alcohol and there are so many underlying issues that comes along with it health related and otherwise. I invite and encourage open discussion about this topic.