When I was trying to stop drinking, I never thought about what NOT drinking would be like. We live in a culture that glorifies alcohol use. I am a woman and as I scroll my social media timelines today – I see all sorts of women posting meme’s about how fun drinking is – calling wine “Mommy Juice” and seeing posts about Beer Yoga. I even see jokes about pill use – companies selling pillows and shirts with the word “Xanax and Chill.”
by Lara Frazier
When I was deep into my addiction, I would have thought this was funny. And it would have helped normalize my addiction. See, everyone is doing it? Everyone is getting black out drunk, waking up naked in a bed with a person they don’t recognize and having no idea where they placed their wallet or parked their car. I would think that swallowing a Xanax and drinking 4 glasses of wine before a date was normal and not only was it normal, it was the cool thing to do. I’m here to say that alcohol and prescription pill abuse isn’t cool and it’s also not cool as to how much we glorify the use of these drugs. Alcohol is a drug, period.
So as the world continues to glorify booze and help the addicted stay addicted, I am going to talk about what I don’t miss about drinking.
1. I don’t miss waking up with a hangover.
This is the easiest one to not miss, but it’s also the one that will never get old. I am not dying of thirst in the middle of the night, drinking gallons of Gatorade and Pedialyte, only to find myself searching for 3 Advils to get me through the day. I don’t miss that. I don’t miss feeling sick and not being able to move after a night of binge drinking. I do not miss those nasty hangovers. Not one bit.
2. I don’t miss blacking out and not knowing what I did the night before.
I was a binge drinker. I wasn’t even a daily drinker, but when I drank, I drank hard. I drank to black out, to pass out, to rage. It wasn’t cute and it wasn’t fun. The only way I would start feeling comfortable at a club or at a bar was if I was hammered. Even when I was drinking, I didn’t look forward to being around a bunch of people who weren’t present – I didn’t enjoy how dressed up I had to get or how high my heels had to be. I didn’t enjoy the inability to converse. And yet, I would say yes to invitations and I knew that if I said yes, this would mean that I would have to drink, just like everyone else did. Because, if I wasn’t drinking – it wasn’t fun. So, I would drink and I would black out and I wouldn’t remember who I talked to or what we did. My memory would only resurface when I saw pictures the next night. I was all – we saw them? We talked to them? So, on one hand – I didn’t miss doing something stupid and not remembering it. But on the other hand – I didn’t miss seeing someone I loved and not remembering it. When you are blacking out constantly, you miss out on your life. You miss out on living.
3. I don’t miss driving drunk and the fear of being caught.
I can’t even count the number of times I drove home drunk. I was warned not to do this by my responsible friends who would call cabs, but me? No, I wanted to be able to leave whenever I wanted, at the exact time I wanted – so I would drive my own car to the bar. I know that I would swerve and miss exits and drive irrationally. I never got caught. This makes me feel lucky, but it also makes me wonder what would have happened with my addiction if I had gotten in trouble. Would I have sought help earlier? Would my addiction not have led to homelessness and complete devastation? I don’t know. However, I do know that I could have killed someone and/or myself. It’s completely dangerous to be black out drunk and drive, but I did it at least once a week. I don’t miss that.
4. I don’t miss what alcohol did to my body.
When I was drinking heavily, I was overweight and my skin was a disaster. Besides the amount of calories that are found in some of the drinks I drank – I would eat the crappiest, unhealthiest food when I was drunk. I would forget to take care of my skin and I would go to bed with piles of make-up still on. Alcohol made me miss yoga classes, and gym time. It made me stop caring about what I ate or what alcohol was doing to my body. Alcohol is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Even without thinking of the disastrous effects of alcohol on my overall health, vanity plays a part. I have much clearer skin. I take care of myself. I eat healthy and I look much younger. If you see a side by side of a person who has stopped drinking, you will often notice how much younger they look in their “after” picture. I don’t miss what alcohol did to my body.
5. I don’t miss being so addicted that I had to have a drink in the morning.
When you are heavily addicted, the one thing that is on your mind – is how will I get drunk or high? That is the thought that would run through my mind as soon as I woke up. It’s kind of sad that I thought about drinking so much. I don’t miss waiting to get home to open a wine bottle and pass out on my couch watching reality TV. I don’t miss dying to have alcohol. I don’t miss the way it ran my life and I don’t miss not thinking about it daily. Alcohol is a soul sucker and a time stealer and I don’t miss it at all.
Lara Frazier is a truth-teller, a sobriety warrior and a writer. She is a FIERCE believer in the power of owning our stories and is a strong advocate for addiction recovery. Lara shares a story of healing: in sobriety, through addiction, in life and love, and in all the other big huge moments of fear and magic that we rarely talk about, but we should. Find more of Lara’s work on her website at www.larafrazier.com or follow her on Instagram @sillylara.