This article has a strong trigger warning. If you are struggling with your sobriety you may want to refrain from reading this post.
I often hear the phrase “There’s nothing good about alcohol” from newly sober people and sometimes long term soberites. Interesting hypothesis- but I think it’s totally bullshit. Alcohol is awesome. From my point of view at least- alcohol is pretty great.
I’ve had many, many good nights on alcohol. I’ve had great laughs with friends on alcohol. I’ve slept with women that were far better looking than me because of alcohol- I can tell you it’s not because of my charming personality. I’ve had some amazing nights in Vegas because of alcohol- and also gambling, cigars and very enthusiastic gogo dancers. Just look at any TV ad for alcohol and they’re not selling you the alcohol- they’re selling you a good time. It’s not bullshit. It is fun and exciting for a good portion of people- those that can handle it.
Fact is, I can’t handle it. You probably can’t either if you’re reading this blog. For all the fun times, there were many more nights of heartbreak, depression, anger, patheticness, desperation and selfishness. There were also many nights in jail and many mornings throwing up my guts. There became a point where the fun times were shadowed by the horrible, degrading, depressing times. So much so that it became a choice of one or the other- and I eventually came to the conclusion that the fun times and the poor times were not in balance. But that doesn’t negate the fact that the fun times still happened! To say that there was nothing good about alcohol would be a complete lie. To say I never had fun experiences with alcohol would be a lie. So why does it matter that I admit this?
Because if I lie to myself and say “There is nothing good about alcohol” there will come a day and time where I start to actually romanticize the fun times I had with alcohol. I will begin to romanticize alcohol. I might even try to romanticize the bad times, or worse, try to persuade myself that they weren’t that bad. But if I can come to the distinction that there were good times and there were things I enjoyed about alcohol then I can come to the conclusion that while these things were fun at the time- alcohol became something that wasn’t fun for me. It is great for those that can responsibly handle it- I am just not one of those people. Nor should I try to be.
For many years I thought I could be a Hunter S. Thompson type- I mean I am a writer, an alcoholic and a fiend. But just as many people glamorized Hunter, I glamorized my own alcoholism and ability to handle alcohol. I wasn’t a fun loving, wild, eccentric guy- I was just a guy that liked to have fun with alcohol- but I could rarely do so. Trying to be anything other than what I was (a struggling alcoholic) just lead me back to my deepest and darkest moments. So while I can recognize that alcohol is fun and exciting- it is not something that I can handle to the point where it is fun and exciting. Trying to convince myself otherwise would only lead me back to what I was- a depressed and penniless drunk. Being able to separate “There’s nothing good about drinking” and “There’s nothing good about my drinking” will ensure a long and fruitful sober life.