I Wish it Was Easier to Say “I Can’t Drink”

The words alcoholic and teetotaler both make me cringe.  My favorite term for myself is Alcohol Free. AF! It’s not that I don’t accept that I cannot drink – I get that- it’s just that the word alcoholic and the baggage it carries does not belong to me.

I’m the one at the bar nervously looking around if the server isn’t there right away to offer me my first drink or a refill.

I’m the one who will have a glass before I go out to eat and drink.

I’m the one who’s glass is always empty before everyone else’s.

I’m the one who will swig the last bit of my partner’s unfinished glass as we leave the table so it doesn’t go to waste.

I’m the one who will go home after dinner and crack another bottle.

I’m the one who will rarely re-cork a bottle.

And if I do, it’s only got about a couple inches left at the bottom and I did it to proclaim the next day that I have self-control.

I’m the one who exceeds the recommended weekly alcohol intake in a day.

I recently had to explain to my wife why I could not drink like her. Explaining why I am fighting to stay alcohol free without using the word alcoholic has been a game changer for me!

Dear Wife,

I have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.  Much of this I have hidden from you because I don’t want you to perceive me as weak, or flawed.  Much of this I’ve hidden because the drinking voice in me works really hard to survive and doesn’t want you to know too much and intervene.

I think about drinking all the time.  When are we going out?  What time is it, so I can have my first drink of the day?  What flavor do I want to drink today?

 I hide my drinks from you.  I’ll sneak a beer or two out in the yard mid-afternoon.  I take the empties to the recycle bin so you don’t see how much I’ve been drinking.  I’ve bought my own bottles and hid them in the garage.  I’ve actually added water to a partial wine bottle to make it look like I didn’t drink so much.  I’ll wait until you’re asleep before I drink more….

So, you see, even though I don’t use the word alcoholic, I can’t drink a couple like you and be done.  If I feed the drinking voice just one drink, it will take over and demand more and more. I’ve tried to control it and train it to be like you, but it never works.  The only way I can beat this drinking voice is to not feed it anything.

I hope you can understand this.  I strive to be a better version of myself for all of us.  For me to do that, I need to rid myself of this parasite.  I still want to enjoy our happy hour together.  For me though, it’s going to have to be AF.  Alcohol Free

All my love.

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