I was pondering this morning a memory of something I had shared, that surprised me, with a couple of very close friends. What I had shared was the realization that I would be willing to give up (forever!) drinking alcohol for a man I dearly love, if he were to choose to give up booze, in order to have a sober relationship together. This is a man with whom I have been in relationship on and off over recent years, a man with whom I share a deep heart connection. I admire, respect, and adore this person, we have amazing chemistry together, he is brilliant in more ways than I can number, and he is heavily addicted to alcohol, a self described “high functioning alcoholic.”
Funny that this memory came up for me this morning. He comes to mind often with nostalgic fondness for the love and joy we shared in the best of times, along with sadness I felt when his drinking brought a very dark cloud over our relationship. His life centers around wine, it is his career, and for awhile that was absolutely delightful. Until it wasn’t. I was drinking more than ever when we were together, and because I was deliriously in love, it really didn’t matter to me. Until it did.
What came to mind in remembering that I was sure I would be able to say goodbye forever to booze in order to have a beautiful relationship with this man, when booze was still an enormous part of my life that I equated with fun, joy, celebration, pleasure, de-stressing – all the keys- was that I had pondered sobriety for the wrong reasons. I had to choose sobriety for ME. I had to realize that I deserve this for my own happiness, not as something I need to sacrifice for another person. How full of martyrdom is that?! Sobriety is something I am doing for myself, and already it is bringing boundless blessings to my life.
I have been married twice to two wonderful men, in two long marriages, with whom I am close today. Booze was a common denominator of each. We drank and danced, played a lot, laughed a lot, traveled to many fantastic locations, enjoyed delightful romance and love, suffered the pain of losses, supported one another, and had great lives while raising children. We also avoided a lot of difficult, truly intimate subjects that probably would have made our marriage healthy and enduring. I can’t help but wonder what kind of relationships we might have had if we had not focused so much of our leisure time around booze.
In my twenties and thirties, booze wasn’t really an issue. It was my social lubrication, and being part of a roaring party was fun, and pretty normal. Once my forties hit, booze started to cause some problems in my life and in my marriage. I was too dependent on the pleasure I thought I was getting from my favorite alcoholic beverages, when really what was happening was my increased skill at avoiding what was uncomfortable. It is just now, all these many years later, that I am truly learning to accept discomfort, question its origin, delve deeper, and allow healing to take place. I always ran away from conflict before, it terrified me. There were definitely some childhood traumas that triggered my inability to confront those fears head on, and some adult traumas that accentuated the difficulties. Booze was always there to smooth everything over and allow me to avoid the reality of my / our problems. I am actually excited about the healing that is taking place within me now that booze is not numbing me. I am single, outrageously happy for the most part, and developing a deeper self love than I have ever experienced before. I am quitting booze, slaying the booze bitch!, for myself, not for anyone else, because I am worth it.