I have had this entry on my mind for some time already, actually, just never really found the words.
The other day, I had seen a Tweet which hit the nail on the head. It was the question as to why it is socially MORE acceptable to drink alcohol than it is to stay sober. And I was like, “Yes! THIS!” If you know me and my upbringing, you will also know that I have never really drunk any alcohol, and also, never was drunk out of my mind as well. The question “And how do you get in the mood then?” is really bugging me. Trust me when I say I have come across this very question so often, it shouldn’t annoy me anymore, but it does. Even more so if you’ve known me for years.
I stated that I never really drank any alcohol. That is to say, I tried a sip here and there (we’re talking less than 10), but pretty soon found out that this wasn’t for me AT ALL. Hated the smell and the taste. And to this day, I don’t think I have missed out on anything (spectacular) because I have been sober my entire life.
And to be brutally honest? Although society tends to be rather pro having alcohol induced fun, I strongly disagree with that “norm”. I don’t need any alcohol whatsoever to “get into the mood” for a party, get-together, shindig or whatever else. In fact, it makes me rather sad to see that to have fun, some drugs (because, let’s face it, alcohol IS a drug, and I know from first hand experience HOW addictive it can become – I shall elaborate on that in a moment, bear with me!) have almost become a necessity. Uhm. How about …NO?
So yeah, let’s take a little stroll down Memory Lane, shall we?
Growing up, I was introduced to what abuse can do to someone. Namely, my late Dad. Even if he at times tried to hide it from Mom and me, we always found out. Either due to the slurred speech, the smell or any other tell tale signs. He’d also lie to my Mom on the phone when she was somewhere on vacation, and I was at home with Dad, telling her she didn’t need to worry, when in reality, he already had consumed some alcohol. It made me extremely anxious as well, even more so when he drove me to school or wherever while being intoxicated. (This, my sobriety, was also the main reason why I became the Designated Driver when we went out together.)
At the end of 1996, I was 16 years old at that time, still in school, we had two little pups that needed to be taken care of, my Mom had an accident during a hike with her colleagues and was hospitalized with a complicated leg fracture. What happened next, was one of the most drastic experiences of my whole life. Sure, if you consume some alcohol on NYE, I will not hold it against you. However, my Dad kept drinking. All the way to almost-oblivion. He didn’t recognize anyone – not even me – anymore. I don’t even know where he found some booze when I was sure we didn’t have any anymore.
So, my Mom was in the hospital. I had friends over for a little party in early January 1997, and by then, Dad was already bombed. I was actually pretty ashamed of this. Fortunately, he withdrew to my parents’ bedroom, and that was it. But really, I felt so …uncomfortable. And the more days passed by, the more he’d drift off to oblivion.
My bedroom back then was next to my parents’ bedroom, so at night, I’d hear him whimper because of withdrawal symptoms. The whole damn hallway STANK like a brewery and distillery combined. Mind, I said that I never liked the smell of alcohol – here’s your explanation. It made me feel sick and still does.
Despair kicked in.
I had to go back to school in a couple of days. There were two little dogs. I had to take care of myself as well in regards to food, all that. Plus, Mom was still hospitalized and it was unclear when she’d be back. What to do?
I called my grandma and asked if I could “move in” with her for the time being. My aunt and I grabbed the pups and brought them to the vet where they had some kind of “Dog Hotel”, and I knew they’d be in best hands there. Also, somehow, my aunt in Berlin was informed, and she came down to my old place to take care of my Dad.
Fortunately, the whole issue came to some kind of “happy ending”, but this episode shaped me. Scarred me, even. I still feel extremely uncomfortable when I think back of everything that happened. The alcohol abuse. The withdrawal symptoms. The fucking SMELL. My Dad being so shitfaced it wasn’t even remotely cute. (Fortunately, he never abused me physically in one of his episodes, but still …)
From that moment on, it was clear to me that I’d stay sober for life. No alcohol. No drugs. No smoking. And yes, I am perfectly fine!
Some years ago, when I was still going to the stadium on a regular basis, someone threw down a plastic mug full of beer from the upper stands, and of course I got lucky – I was soaked in beer, and the motherload of it. Great. I had originally intended to grab a bite somewhere after the game, instead, I was now smelling of beer, my clothes were sticky, too, and I only wanted to go home, wash my clothes, take a shower or a bath, and be done. It totally ruined that evening and the win.
Now you probably will also understand why I am kinda up in arms when asked THE question – “But how do you get in the mood then, if you don’t drink?” Even more so from people who know my backstory. I am equally frustrated when you place a beer in front of me and ask me to drink to whatever with you. I *WILL* decline. Plain and simple. Politely, yes, but still – that’s a Nope! from me.
If you still insist on me accepting the beer, it actually hurts a bit because “No” means “No”, and you have ZERO business making me drink alcohol. Just accept it and move on. And don’t be like, “Oh come ON! It’s just one beer!” Maybe, but it’s already one too many.
I have chosen this Path of Sobriety for myself, not because anyone asked me to. It’s entirely my decision, and because I was shaped in a way by witnessing what alcohol can do if you allow it. I only wish that staying sober was as accepted within society as is the opposite … and that I wouldn’t have to justify being sober every. single. time. an incident like that happens. *sigh*