Letting Go of the Bottle

Letting Go of the Bottle
Have you ever noticed any undesirable effects that alcohol has had on your body, mind, wallet, or relationships?

I didn’t think I had a problem
I only drank as much as the people around me do: my beloved family and friends
I learned it from those I trust and admire most, those I look up to as role models and peers. My peers have a fondness for cocktails and beers.

I learned that alcohol was used as the pinnacle of fun, the ceremony of celebration. I am trying to un-learn that lesson now.

We drink so much, too much for our own good
Without ever stopping to realize or question it
Drinking the recommended daily maximum amount (one drink for females, two drinks for males per day) on only the lightest of nights, but usually much more

Today I remind myself that just because the drink is offered doesn’t mean I have to drink it
If it ‘bothers’ people that I don’t drink, they only bother themselves with their complicated relationship with the substance, and would probably benefit from contemplating these words I write
They would benefit from looking deep into themselves
Visualizing their ideal life
And asking what role alcohol plays in that life

As much as I enjoy how alcohol helps me feel relaxed, I don’t want the side-effects:
The dependency and toxicity
How it makes me feel weak, self-abusive, and magnifies my sadness
Keeps me down in a rut, spiraling emotionally
Each time I use it, it probably gets harder to stop
I don’t know because I’ve yet to stop using it indefinitely

Too much to drink in one night can kill a healthy person.

Taking one sip puts me on the same track towards death as the young men who die while pledging to their college fraternities by binge drinking.
Are you strong enough to say no?
You don’t have to say anything, just stop

I don’t want a life with the bottle; that third wheel that gets unhealthy relationships rolling
That slippery slope that dopes me into apathy
The every-day date-rape drug
The bottle numbs my senses
I deftly let men undress me
And pleasure themselves using my body
My most traumatic relationships began with booze, and ended with booze, as I was horrified to see who my partners were when they were drunk, how undeveloped their capacity for self-control, how lacking in self-awareness and empathy.
Their insecurities would come to the surface, and they were so mean to me then,
Repetitively, because they had forgotten what had just happened, so we had to have the same conversations over and over and over again…
Few things frustrate me more than not being heard
Especially because expressing myself is so damn hard

My family never let me be myself
If I was anything other than ready to serve their needs with an energetic smile on my face, they gave me hell
They still do; ‘Why did you look tired? Why did you have that serious look on your face?’ ‘Uh-oh, you don’t have your happy face on.’
Mother-fuck you! I don’t want to look fucking happy because I’m not fucking happy (I shout in my head as I crumble inside)
I got that grief from my parents today, with the familiar accusing, intolerant tone.
Mind you, both comments were made after they watched me without my knowing that I was being watched
Rather than attempting to listen to or talk with me, they only mandate commands so that I fit their picture of what they want me to be.
Is it wrong for me to ever let my true feelings be seen, even when I think I am alone?
No, it is not a crime to be myself, and I will not live my whole life hiding my feelings, although at this moment I don’t yet know how to feel safe enough to share my feelings with anyone else, even myself.
I only know how to be what my family trained me to be: a loyal servant to everyone but myself.
After decades of this mental conditioning, my mother once commanded, ‘Respect yourself!’, as if self-respect is something that one can suddenly do after never having done it before. She commanded self-respect after learning that I was a sex-worker, which did not fit her pre-determined vision of what my life should look like. I realize now how much her own vanity, rather than sincerely caring for me, lead her to tell me to respect myself. She only wanted to keep up with the Joneses, which is probably why she only yelled at me that I was ‘fine’ after I told a friend that I wanted to kill myself in seventh grade. I’d like to think that if my daughter ever did that, I would meet her with concern, empathy, and get her the help she needs.
That same mother killed my self-respect when she pimped me out to play with abusive children throughout my childhood, and discouraged any sort of truth telling through her emotional explosions anytime I showed signs of how I really felt.

I learned to act cheerful in order to keep the peace at home. I still do.
Obediently, I did whatever was desired of me.
What has been ‘wrong’ throughout my life was that everything was wrong and I had no safe place to express that. No safe place to go to when I felt unsafe, which was all of the time, and still is.
I’ve spent my life in fear of displeasing others.
That fear makes it so easy to enjoy alcohol
Because it lets me taste something similar to relaxation

I’m so tired of having sex in the name of ‘keeping the peace’. It wages war within me. Oftentimes men cease to communicate with me once I withdraw the possibility of sex from them. Was I merely a potential place to put their penis? I guess so. Perhaps their ego is all wrapped in that one small piece of their anatomy.

I want a life where I am able to relax by relying on my innate ability to calm my body and mind
I want a life where I start and end each day lucid, ready to welcome each moment with all my senses,
Instead of desperately dulling my senses in order to ‘get through’ or ‘deal with’ situations
Drinking does not deal with anything

I want to feel safe to express my golden truth, to look tired or serious when I feel tired or serious
I want to feel safe to have sex when my partner and I want to, instead of every time only they want to

I want to process the past, present and future experiences of my life in mature, conscious ways, instead of throwing a substance, legal or not, into my body
I want to surround myself with people who feel the same way

Knowing how our ancestors, through their genetics and parenting techniques (inflicting childhood trauma) have predisposed us to develop dependency on alcohol and other drugs, I say:

Let us beat the odds, let it stop with us
Let us rise up to meet ourselves with open eyes, fully aware, and break the multi-generational habit of abusing substances, ourselves and each other
Let us care for ourselves using our inner resources
Instead of weakening our innate power by dulling it with drugs

Let’s raise children who don’t die of overdoses or drunk driving accidents, who don’t abuse substances, their partners or their children
Let’s let go of the bottle and ask ourselves, what have we got to lose?
Let’s look beyond the bottle and envision everything we have to gain: our ideal life, our real life, our best life



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