Yes, I know that title probably sounds like the section of a pamphlet you receive during your first week of college, probably followed up by a section on “Why Being A Drunk Female Alone At Night Will Kill You (And How!)” or examples of what “one drink” constitutes in unrealistically tiny containers. But it’s unfortunately something I’ve been thinking quite a bit about lately, as I haven’t been drunk in over a month. Intentionally.
For most people, this isn’t a huge deal. But for me, this is both depressing and out of character. The majority of my friends — and probably a lot of strangers, to be honest — know me as quite the lush. I’ve had a nightcap or seven nearly every evening for the past few years, whether I was partying or out on a date or studying for finals at the library. As long as I didn’t have any driving to do, I was most likely drunk by 8 or 9pm. I had a job, did well in school, had several hobbies and downed about 1.75L of vodka per week.
But, long story short, that’s just not feasible health-wise, work-wise or financially for me anymore, which has resulted in stepping on the booze brakes for the time being. I am also not always a “fun drunk,” so this is likely for the best.
So, I’m trying to do the whole “not drinking” thing (i.e. sobriety) and apparently, I’m not the only boozer temporarily (or permanently, who knows) cutting back, as both Snooki and Mike of Jersey Shore also were shown not drinking on this week’s episode. Of course, the Snooksters was pregnant during shooting, so she had an irrefutable reason to not drink, whereas Mike was out of rehab — which, while also an obviously unquestionable reason not to drink, is often more easily pulled apart by others who “just want you to have a good time.” Saying “no” is sometimes difficult when you’ve always said “hell yes” and then some.
Constant sobriety when so much of my brief adulthood has been structured around alcohol is confusing. I no longer allot money in my grocery budget for alcohol, my acid reflux is finally improving a bit and I watch Netflix at night without a bottle next to my bed — sad, yes, I know — which makes Portlandia considerably less amusing. It’s even resulted in almost never smoking after nearly 5 years of doing so multiple times daily (I knew I wasn’t addicted, dammit!).
But it’s also not always a great feeling: I’ve had to consistently and dishonestly explain away my reasons for not drinking to people at bars and parties, whether it was by saying I had to work in the morning or telling people I was on medication that conflicted. To be fair, I do take prescribed muscle relaxants sometimes which make me extraordinarily drowsy, let alone in combination with alcohol, but they aren’t the reason I’ve stopped (in fact, for a while I stopped taking them simply because I wanted to keep drinking).
I just desperately don’t want to have to explain my actual reasons because, let’s be honest, who wants to be “that girl” everybody’a afraid to drink around for fear she’ll suddenly Hulk out, rip the martini from your hands and start IV-ing it to her veins?
Of course, as I said, it’s worth the cons because of the pros (for now, at least). I’d like to tell my mom, but I don’t want her to feel I’m asking for a delicate pat on the back; after all, I did put myself in this position… but I’ll probably tell her anyway, because she’s my mother. Plus, I’ve lost like 9 pounds, which was unexpected, as I assumed my affinity for 711 nachos would only benefit from being able to drive at night. Then I realized I only liked 711 nachos because I was a fucking drunk.
In any case, I figured I’d do some crowd sourcing and see how anybody else in this situation has dealt with it. Should I be honest, even to non-close friends? Pretend I’m allergic? Lie and say I only drink Diva Vodka? Should I do some sort of pseudo-New Age treatment involving alcohol being poured into my eyes while listening to Kenny G to deflect me from ever even thinking about alcohol again?