If you exist in our society at all, you have heard the phrase “This is why I drink” after any sort of difficulty, setback, or even celebration.
It was a hard day. This is why I drink.
My kid is not listening. This is why I drink.
I had to have a heavy conversation today. This is why I drink.
My presentation went really well. This is why I drink.
I am an adult. This is why I drink.
It is my birthday. This is why I drink.
Our society also says things like, “You deserve a drink.” and “Your earned a drink.”
All of these are really okay. Seriously. Life is to be felt, commiserated, and celebrated.
It just gets out of control when it becomes, today is Tuesday. This is why I drink. Followed by today is Wednesday. This is why I drink.
But, for me, there is one reason not to drink and it is a powerful one. I do not like me when I am drinking.
I lose sight of my values, my family, how I want to handle situations, and how I want to live my life when I am drinking.
A drink is not a problem. A fun night is not the problem. The problem is when you lose yourself in the drinks.
It is of no surprise to anyone that this has been a really hard year. Reasons why one would drink are stacking up high. So high. There are a lot of reason to drink.
According to Hartford Healthcare, women have seen a 41% increase in binge drinking since the beginning of Covid 19. Read that again. 41% of women have seen an increase in binge drinking.
Binge drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 g/dl or above.Center for Disease Control
Binge drinking and social drinking are very different.
I found myself binge drinking a lot before Covid. I am so grateful that God worked hard in my life to pull me away from my alcohol addiction before Covid started because He knew if I was still drinking when Covid got heavy, it would crush me. Completely crush me.
I now sit on the other side of this mountain at seven months sober and have not had a drinking night that left me heavy with shame in over fifteen months.
The reasons I created to have a drink when I was drinking were really small reasons. It had gotten to the point that I was turning to alcohol because it was evening, because it was there, because I could, because… because… because.
And when I was turning to alcohol it was not for one drink. It was not even for two drinks. Even being this vulnerable and sharing this much with you, I am not okay with sharing how much I was drinking. Lets just leave it at more than I should have.
I was turning to alcohol to get away from anything and everything. And guess what, I missed out on anything and everything. Two years, gone. Gone. I was looking through my phone trying to get rid of random pictures to free up space <ugh> and I hit that time of my life and I was full of ick. I could see in my face that I had been drinking in that picture and I dreaded looking at the next one. Then I was surprised to discover that I have very few pictures from this season because I was not present enough to capture it. This fact, on the other side of this dark season, causes me a lot of sadness. A lot. So much missed in my young children’s lives and I cannot go back and fix it. I can’t and that stinks. A lot.
The other day I was obviously frustrated with a situation and ran into someone else who was also obviously frustrated with the same situation. She smiled at me and said, “This is why I drink.” I laughed… because it did make me laugh, as I did not expect this comment from her reserved demeanor and the situation we were in was a ridiculous one. But then, as I walked away I was struck by the fact that yes, this is a reason I would have had a drink in the past. Yet, instead, I went home and had a hot bath and some tea…and the emotions I would have numbed instead, worked through me and we moved on.
I drink a lot of tea these days.
Things are hard right now. If you are stuck in the hard and feeling like it is just piling on by adding a drink into it all…can I encourage you to reach out to someone you trust. Let them in. Let yourself say no. Let yourself find a new path for coping and healing.
There are a lot of reasons to drink.
But if it is not serving you well, that is enough of a reason to stop.
If you are losing yourself to it. If you are waking up with more regret and sorrow than you had the night before. If you are find yourself constantly reaching for another one. It may be time to reevaluate your situation.
I did not think summer would be summer without a Summer Shandy. Turns out, the season still comes, the sun is still hot, and the nights I do remember.
Christmas can be Christmas without the Blue Moons, red wines, or fancy cocktails.
The drinks do not make the season. Really, they don’t. And we can get through Covid without numbing it all away or creating a hard habit in the middle of isolation that would stay with you long after it is over.
This is a hard season. Don’t make it harder on yourself by adding in a new hard.
Addiction is real. Numbing is real. Avoidance is real. But… healing is real too.
If you are losing yourself in your drinking, that is reason enough to stop.
I would love to have a cup of tea with you and talk it through.