Alcohol was my friend for a very long time. When I was in outpatient rehab 9 years ago, I had to write a letter to my “friend,” explaining why we were no longer compatible with each other. At the time, I was just placating – I really had no intentions of saying good bye forever, I just wanted to be in the good graces of my loved ones again.
It didn’t matter how many times my “friend” alcohol hurt me, I always went back and when I wrote this letter, I truly thought we’d reunite someday. As I read the letter today, I’m baffled at how much I really did know back then but was still unwilling to see it as my actual truth. It took me 5 years as a dry drunk to realize just how sick I really was, and another year to see how my sickness was affecting my life, even though I wasn’t drinking.
Fast forward to today and I’m hungover.
Almost 8 solid years without alcohol and I’m hungover.
Not physically, of course. No, I’m suffering from an emotional hangover because I just said good-bye to my “ride of die bestie” and I’m realizing just how similar my alcoholism was to the toxicity of that 20+ year relationship.
I’m grieving. I’m grieving the loss of my friend I thought would be in my life til death do us part.
I’m angry. I’m angry that I didn’t end the friendship sooner. I’m angry I didn’t get the closure I needed sooner. I’m angry that she seems to have moved on quicker than me. I’m angry because I thought I was over it but I’m crying. Clearly I’m not fully over it and that pisses me off!
I don’t feel good because this feels all too familiar. I feel like I’m right back to where I was 9 years ago when alcohol was removed from my life against my will. Fighting for my right to drink even when I knew it wasn’t good for me. Grieving the loss of a huge part of my identity – the party girl!
Angry at everyone around me because they thought I was an alcoholic and angry at myself because down deep I knew I was too and asking myself “how could you do this again!?!?”
I cannot tell you how many times this friend and I “broke up” since I quit drinking. We’d have a falling out, we’d stop talking, one of us would reach out and then before we knew it, we were “back together,” and healthier than ever.
Until the next shoe dropped and we weren’t speaking again. This went on and on for years.
Just like my alcoholism. Alcohol was the fair weathered friend I needed when I felt like no one else understood. Alcohol comforted me when it seemed that non one else cared. Alcohol also turned on me when I consumed too much, which, at the end of my drinking career, was all the time.
Comparing the two deaths of relationships, I do see one difference that I think is worth mentioning because it shows my growth – growth that would not have happened had I not accepted my alcoholism for what it was 3 years ago – and it is this:
Unlike the end of my drinking career, the demise of my friendship with my former bestie and the feelings that resulted was in my control. I chose not to get closure until 9 months after I knew it was over. That was my choice.
That’s the only difference. The rest is the same. Once again, I did it to myself. I chose not to face what I knew was going to bring me pain and now I’m suffering the consequences.
It’s all good though. I’m free now and so is she. We’re better off without the other. In our last exchange, she told me that her journey is raining gifts and that she can’t look back on areas of life with anger.
For once in our lives, our journeys have aligned, as I too am experiencing a lot of joy amongst a lot of sadness going on around me. I wanted to say “me tooooo! Tell me everything!” but I didn’t. I just “loved” her message and that was that. Then I cried.
I’m okay. I’ve been okay and I will continue to be okay. Life goes on and I gotta say, I am loving life today. It’s not without it’s struggles but as long as I keep the alcohol and toxic people out of my life, I’m ALWAYS going to be okay.