Alcoholism is largely a coping mechanism. My own thoughts + struggle with alcoholism.
Ever since I was a teenager, I've had this common misconception of what alcoholism is. I viewed alcoholism as getting pissy drunk on a daily/regular basis and not having the power to say no to a drink. The definition of alcoholism is way deeper than that. Being an alcoholic can be more than just getting drunk and passing out or laughing that you can't recall how you got home. Alcoholism is largely a coping mechanism. And, if you need it to get through certain situations, i.e. a glass of wine to sleep, or a shot of vodka at the end of your work day, or Hennessy to deal with your mother in law, you may be an alcoholic. Alcoholism comes in all shapes, sizes and habits.
Growing up, alcohol was prevalent staple in my family and community. My grandfather had a glass of Smirnoff on a nightly basis, my father drunk 40z until he passed out, my uncle also had a drink regularly. I had my first real drink when I was 12. I passed more liquor stores than restaurants on the way home, it just seemed normal. I find myself slipping into certain habits when I'm stressed and it always involves drinking. I make terrible decisions usually to drink more and spend more money than I previously budgeted. A few months ago, my spouse decided that he did not want to drink anymore. Unconsciously, I also made the decision to cut back on my drinking since drinking was an activity we usually did together. This month was the first time in a very long time that I did not feel compelled to pick up a bottle. I walked past the liquor store on several occasions and I even refused an alcoholic beverage with one of my lunches, something that I would never usually do.
A majority of the decisions that involved alcohol developed as a habit; something to do while I'm out getting dinner, brunch or lunch. At times, I didn't even want to drink, it was just something to do. When you get older, you question the way the world works. I question why the West Village doesn't have a liquor store on every corner but my neighborhood of Brownsville, Brooklyn does. I question if the situations put in front of us as a culture, as a people are nothing more than distractions from our greatness.
What are all the things I can accomplish without alcohol? What could I be pouring that money into? Experiences? Retirements?
Bren Murphy discusses his friend "unwinding" while making the same empty promises.
"So when they say “come around for a few drinks” and I just sit there and watch as the husband unwinds and kick starts his coping mechanism of drinking 16 beers over five hours. And I’m supposed to actively engage and keep talking about his dream of starting his own cafe or launching his own line of bbq sauces as he guzzles beer.
Me just sitting there, listening to him throw ideas for logos and potential retail sites and knowing this is all just piss talk like we have done so many other times. What happened to the organic salt business - or the Asian Fusion dumpling house or the 4 hour workweek coffee cart or the other 99 designs you have brainstormed over 16 beers on a weekend?
Umm, Nothing, that’s what. But it all sounds terribly grown up and sophisticated to talk fantasy business whilst you get drunk. I’m not covering up your awkwardness over this anymore. It’s your fantasy - go live it or shut up. Just don’t talk about it when you are drunk all the time. Whatever.
I can do fitness shit now I don’t drink all the time"
I want to take better care of my body so I can be physically healthy for my son. I want to take care better care of my mind so I can go achieve all the goals I have set forth to create a better life. Today is a great day to accomplish something that doesn't involve drinking!