It’s Not Addiction; It’s Alienation

Lately life, with every up and down, kindles in me the desire for a drink.

It’s not as cut and dry as just alcoholism.
It’s not just wanting a drink for the rum’s sake, not just the liberation of carefree numb.

It’s wanting to be normal.

It’s a longing for escape, but not the expected kind involving a hangover; it’s longing for an escape from being different from the rest, from standing out.

It’s not addiction; it’s alienation.
It’s not that I want a drink, it’s that I want to fit in.

Alcohol is everywhere. It is everywhere. It’s not just in store coolers and bar room windows. It’s not just in television commercials. It is in nearly every conversation, in almost every invite. It is in most great stories and in many anticipations. Alcohol is everywhere. It’s out making new friends, buying new clothes, and planning exotic vacations while Alcoholism, well, isn’t.

I remember a different me. It’s possible the me I remember isn’t actually who I was, but I remember a bright crowd of laughing friends, seemingly endless adventures, and anticipation for things to come. I remember, of course, that there were days long hangovers and heart wrenching dramas; near misses and close calls. I remember all of the reasons that I can’t go back there, but I also remember that it wasn’t always a terrible place to be.

I thought the farther away I got from the scene I left behind, the farther removed I’d be from the lifestyles of alcohol. I thought that it was just me that looked intently forward to a drink at the end of the work day. I thought I was the only one who believed life was better with a drink or two, or, at the very least, that I was. I was wrong; it’s not just me, it’s everywhere.

Instead of feeling comforted by this realization, I feel isolated.
It feels like everyone has a comfort food but me.
Where’s my apple pie?

Let me be clear: I don’t want to have a drink, I want to have a substitute.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I do want to have a drink, I don’t want to have a relapse.

While others are making new friends in the comfort of nerves-softening beer, unwinding at the end of a hard day with a warming red wine, or marking celebrations with a risen glass, I… well, I’m at home playing mommy… and remembering who I used to be.

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3 thoughts on “It’s Not Addiction; It’s Alienation

  1. I hear you, loud and clear.

    I have worked damn hard to ‘fill those gaps’ in my life, the ones that opened up after I gave up alcohol. But I miss… not the drinking, exactly, but the companionship of drinking with others. The music in the bar, the smells, the sounds of ice cubes. I miss how beautiful wine looks in an elegant glass. I miss the ease with which I talked to anyone and everyone when I was drunk. I miss how a few glasses of wine transformed me in to someone funnier, wittier, more beautiful.

    It was all a huge lie, of course. An illusion. I know this, and I am not going back. But I do understand the feeling like someone that I used to be – someone who had lovers and freedom and adventure – is dead. I mourn her sometimes.

    And I am also a mother, and sometimes I feel like I’m just ‘playing mommy’ here while ‘real life’ goes on somewhere else. But I had that ‘real life’ once and it almost killed me. So I stay here.

    Recovery is damn hard, and it’s lonely, and it’s isolating. I get it. I do. So, I’m sending you strength and some hugs too, because we need to be gentle with ourselves when we feel this way. It’s OK to feel this way – we are mourning an entire life we had, a whole person we used to be. It’s OK to look back sometimes.

    Thank you so much for the link to my own blog; I’ll be sure to drop in here and see how you’re doing. I just read your ‘My story’ page and was horrified by some of what you wrote, but only because I recognise myself in some of what you said.

    Your sister under the skin,

  2. Being who you are is what is important now, I have often thought that wanting something just for the sake of wanting it is not as great as having it. You have everything you need at this very moment I can assure you that the wants of what might be good now are only
    A margin of what is mearly a passing thought of what you have to have.

    Seana it seems that you have grown up so much more than even you might think. What a beautiful writer and person you have become. Do what you think is right and that will always make the difference

  3. The above link is from a nonpracticing alcoholic. I can relate in so many ways except that I was never who I really am when I was drinking, I was always searching for the real me. And after I reached sobriety I finally found him. I often want a drink, but it is certainly not my comfort food because it makes me extremely uncomfortable just thinking about it. Good luck to all those that still suffer. There is hope, lots of hope!

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