I was 9 or 10 years old when I first tasted an alcoholic beverage: a sip of my parents’ red wine at the Black Angus Steakhouse. It’s bitterness was not pleasing to my uncultured taste buds. The next time I drank an alcoholic beverage was in the summer before my junior year of high school (I can no longer drink Coors). After those wild nights I drank occasionally during my senior year when my older friends were home from college. I went to college and spent a good portion of my first semester with Jack Daniels and Coke.
My inability to control alcohol – and myself – ruined my undergrad work and left me on academic probation (it’s really hard to dig out of a 1.7 GPA). Alcohol’s inhibition-relaxing properties led me into questionable circumstances and poor choices. Alcohol wreaked havoc on my body and I’ve spent countless hours on bathroom floors and wasted days afterwards recovering.
Yes, I still drink, though I’m more responsible with it. A glass of red wine with some steak? Yes, please. A cocktail with friends on Friday night? I’m in. A margarita and a chimichanga? Sign me up. Beer and BBQ? Save me a seat. Don’t get me wrong, I still make errors in judgment and am far from having a clean record of sobriety. While I’m not an alcoholic, I know all too well the pain and misery that it can cause. Truthfully, alcohol scares me.
It scares me because it’s held many family members in its grasp and caused untold amounts of pain and grief, and I know it can easily do the same for me. It scares me because as a child I heard my dad spend too many hours helping people sober up in our kitchen late at night.
It scares me because of my addictive personality – if I like something, I’m going to keep doing it, no matter how good or bad it is for me – and alcohol can take me quickly. It scares me because I have friends who can’t conquer alcohol, and all I can do is sit back and wait for them to hit rock bottom before I can do anything.
I’m not opposed to alcohol. I’m opposed to letting it rule one’s life. I’m opposed to using it as a crutch. I’m opposed to using it as a game. I’m opposed to needing it.
As easy as it is to open up a bottle, it’s just as easy to lose control and have it run you over. I get it, I know it, I’ve seen it. Our lives are meant for so much more than what a beverage can give us. We have so much more courage than what we may think we gain with a glass or two. We are much better people than who we perceive we are when we’re drunk. We’re so much more than what alcohol makes us think we are.
May God give us mercy when we over-do and may we learn from our mistakes. May God give us clarity to see when we have a problem and the courage to conquer it. May God give us strength as we love those in the clutches of alcoholism.
much love. sheth.
If you think you need help, talk to a trusted friend, co-worker, pastor, or family member. If that’s too much, check out Alcoholics Anonymous, SMART Recovery, or Women For Sobriety to see how they can help you find a meeting nearby.
If someone you know or someone you love is struggling with alcohol, there are resources out there for you, too. Check out Al Anon or Alcohol.org for more guidance.