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[ Personal Narratives ]

Beyond the Bottle #11: Do It For Yourself

It’s been awhile since I posted one of these but I realize I have a couple sitting in my drafts so here we go…

If you need to quit drinking, do it for yourself. Not for your girlfriend, or your neighbor, or your teacher, or your parents, or your husband, or your wife, or your children, or your anybody. Do it for yourself. While some of those people may be important to you, the only person that counts when it comes to making this decision is you. It has to be your choice. You may get sent to rehab by some of those people, but it’s your choice to get sober.

If you quit drinking for someone else, you always have an out. You always have a reason to back out, to say fuck it. They piss you off? Cool, spite them with a drink to show them who’s boss. Doing it for yourself is different though because the accountability rests on you, at least that’s what I found.

How though? Well, I once tried to stop drinking for someone else, and here’s a quick summary of how well it went:

I stopped drinking for someone else (I lasted for 27 days — one major two-day hiccup for a bachelorette party — then stopped again for 2 more thanks to a murderous hangover).

Once I re-opened that door though, I started drinking again, always in secret — a few here, a few there. What they can’t see, won’t hurt them!

Once THAT happened, I started doing drugs again — a few here, a few there. They can’t possibly know what i’m getting up to. I’m good at lying!

Well, she knew and she decided she didn’t want to date me and started dating someone else, smart move!

I couldn’t deal so instead to cope, my drinking escalated through the roof. No exclamation point here, this is the sad bullet.

If I could’ve drank around the clock, I would have. It numbs the feelings of pain and rejection but it doesn’t eradicate it — a painful and expensive lesson to re-learn. I rarely share this but that year, in just over 11 months I spent just under 30K on drugs and alcohol (how I know that, I’ll save for another chapter). THAT IS A LOT OF MONEY. WHAT THE FUCK? That money could have bought a lot of things, could have done a lot of things but I try not to think back and regret it too much because it did help me accomplish one thing. It helped me quit for me.

I quit drinking for myself because I (with the help of some friends) recognized my life was turning to shit and I was stuck reliving the same bad dream, day in and day out. Deep down, something helped me see that if I didn’t want to live in non-stop financial peril and/or the fear of eviction, I had to do something to get my shit in order. So I did.

I got sober but I did it for me.