Sunday, December 8, 2013

Why Me No Drinky.

I think everyone who knows me, really knows me, knows that I don't drink alcohol. Like not at all. No wine, no fruity mixes, nothing. And it's really fine. I'm old enough now that it doesn't bother me when people ask my what the hell my problem is and come on, it's only one drink and it's super good.

I just always say no and it's fine.

(Confession: I had half a wine cooler at my wedding. I also had two sips of a margarita while in Vegas. Both times it was disgusting.)

When I was younger I will admit it was hard. People couldn't understand it, thought I was being a too-good snob. Then it became kind of a game to see if people could get me to drink without me knowing it. I'd have people order me a soda which obviously had something in it. And that's just offensive. Because while part of me was offended that people thought I needed to get tipsy to have a good time, the other part of me knew I actually had a real reason as to why I didn't drink.

One of my very first memories ever is of a really terrible argument my mom and my biological dad were having. My dad was, and still is, an alcoholic. He was abusive in every way and he was drunk. A lot. You couldn't count on him for anything. For awhile he worked but then he got hurt and it just got worse. My mom would work long hours and we'd go without basic things like utilities, clothes, etc because he would drink it all away. By the time my brother was born it was really terrible. But on this particular night, I remember watching him hurt my mom, yell a lot, and me sitting on the couch as a 3 year old or so with a friend of the family. He held me on his lap because I was scared and I remember stepping on glass that was on the floor. My baby brother was in a different room, seemingly sleeping, and I remember seeing my dad's face.

That was the last night I remember being with him.

As I got older, I saw my dad break promises, not show up when he said he would, try to kidnap us, terrorize my mother, and my mom- bless her heart, always said, "He really was a good guy at one time. But he drinks and it changes a person." I will never forget that. I remember being young knowing that I absolutely never wanted to change like that. That I wouldn't drink and that I would always be in charge of what I say and do. I never saw him again after age 7, that I remember anyways, and I was lucky enough to gain a step dad who was the best ever. He really still is. I am lucky to say both of my parents are really awesome and great. They've always been honest with me about my biological dad, they didn't sugar coat things, but they also never bad mouthed him. It's always been that he was an alcoholic and that's what happens.

So years later, and I'm talking about 6 years ago, my father contacted me out of the blue. At work, no less. It was pretty mortifying considering it was obvious that he was calling me from a bar of all places. But he rambled on and on about how much he loved my brother and I and how our bitch of a mom ruined his life, and just the regular crap you'd hear from a drunk. He mailed me pictures of us as little kids and a letter. the pictures were great because in one of his drinking binges, he managed to set our house on fire and all of our childhood mementos went up with it. So it was nice to see pictures of me and my brother as babies. But in the letter it was literally pages and pages of him ranting like someone who has rotted their brain out. It wasn't coherent, it was just rambling about how I owe him and if I cared about him as my father at all I would help him out.

Never mind he never helped out mom out. Never mind if he cared about us at all he would have gotten us school clothes, came to see us sing in holiday programs, show up sober once in awhile, something.

I packed everything back up and mailed it to him with a short letter saying thanks but no thanks. I said I was sorry that his drinking had caused him to lose family and that he found himself essentially homeless and without anything to his name. I was sorry that he would never get to see how great our mom did raising us and that he would never get to know his grandchildren. There is a consequence to everything but those weren't bad enough to get him to do anything different and I'm not sorry for that. He chose that road.

I haven't heard from him since. And that's OK.

So every time I see people out drinking for a "good time", I shake my head. I'm just glad that I can have a good time without feeling like I have to drink to be social. I know it makes others uncomfortable when I'm not drinking but I'm hanging out with them at a bar. That's not my fault- that's theirs. But while I hear the argument that if I drink in moderation, I'd be OK- I don't believe it. Because can any alcoholic tell you the exact moment they crossed the line from casual drinker to alcoholic? No. And that's not a chance I'm willing to take. Plus, I like knowing I have 100% control over myself. I have never had a drunken one night stand, I have never not remembered what I did the night before, I have never had a hang over, I have never vomited in heels and short skirt outside of a car, etc. And damn proud of all of that because I'm a god damn lady.

But all of this is a lot to explain when I'm out with new people and they ask what I'm drinking and I respond with water or soda. The great thing about age is that it does bring a bit of wisdom and self confidence and I no longer feel weird about it. I no longer feel the social pressure to just give in and have one with the guys. So it's OK. Be OK with it when I'm not drinking. I want to hang out with people, but I don't drink and it's really OK. If you feel weird about it, you should look at yourself and why that it is, because I'm not the problem here.


Michelle aka Naila Moon said...

Kudos to you and telling another alcoholism story from a different perspective.

You are ok in my book!

Kattrina said...

Good for you for staying strong!!

I was never a drinker either - at least the drunk kind. When I was young and lived in Italy we drank wine with our meals (I was like 8-10 years old and they watered down the kids' wine) and now I'll have a glass of wine every once in a while but never more than two. And I never drank in high school or college and I've only been drunk once (about four years ago my parents and I went to their neighbors and they constantly filled my glass before it was empty without me knowing it). Like you, I don't like to lose control and do/say things I might regret. It was much harder as a teenager, but not I don't really notice. And honestly, if I have to choose between a drink and food, I will always order dessert before wine!

Steff said...

I wrote a similar post and one point, so I TOTALLY know how you feel! my mother was the drunk, though. I'll have a drink every once in a while, but even then it's like half of a hard cider, or two sips of wine, then my husband finishes it haha I just hate wasting money on something I don't enjoy as well! The problem I've had is that so many friends go to the bars three nights a week minimum (in college your weekend starts on Thursdays) and then on the weekend when i'm free during the day, they are nursing a hangover. And as much as I like to think the bars are fun sober, they aren't at all and I hate the smell of alcohol anyways, so I've lost a lot of friends, which sucks! i'm stuck in this spot where I'm a college student, but can't have college friends or older friends because they learn I'm 22 and automatically think I'm a young idiot, or learn that I don't have kids and assume we are in two different worlds. Anywaaayyyys, I know how you feel. :)

Ruth said...

I drink very little. I never felt like it made a difference to me having fun. I live near a small town full of heavy drinkers and I still get the occasional "why are you drinking?" It's pretty sad if you think the only way to be cool and have a good time is to get drunk.

Tamara said...

I can relate to your reasoning as why you don't drink, even though I still do. I grew up with a mother who was an alcoholic (still is), where we were taken away from her multiple times (luckily always to a family member) and where it felt her top priority 90% of the time was whatever man was in her life and when she was able to get another beer. It really was/is a disease and while I know she regrets the decisions she's made, her actions also have affected how I live my life and what I'll allow. I'll often stop drinking for weeks at a time simply because I think "Shit, it's happening. I'm becoming a drunk." Even though, I'm clearly not. I think because I grew up that way I'm so much more open with people when they say they don't drink, because like you said, you don't need to drink to have a good time. Most of my favorite memories don't involve alcohol of any kind.

Thanks for sharing your story Sara.