Don’t tell me people can’t change. They can. I am living proof of that.
I am ashamed to admit that I used to be one of those people who would “poo-poo” sober folk. Not the ones who were alcoholics, THAT at least I thought I understood. I have family members who are alcoholics so while I was deep in denial I was comfortable acknowledging that, of course, they couldn’t drink. But people who were sober by choice? Now that I didn’t get.
To me, the world is black and white. I have always had trouble with shades of grey. So to Past Me, either you were an alcoholic and you couldn’t drink, or you were just lame and didn’t drink. I couldn’t comprehend why anyone would want to avoid something that made you feel free, bubbly, brave. I thought people who claimed to dislike booze just needed to find “their drink” and soon they’d be just like me. I could not fathom people who were sober by choice, or who could either take or leave alcohol. Who the fuck doesn’t want to drink all the time??
Turns out, a shitload of people.
Obviously there were glaringly bright signs that I had a drinking problem, but the point is that I never, ever, in a million years thought I would one day be sober. Past Me would have been horrified and embarrassed to see the stuff that Present Me posts on Instagram.
“What the fuck is she doing?” she would have cried out. “Why is she airing all her dirty laundry? Why is she so angry about the alcohol industry? Why is she being such a wet blanket? She’s a fun suck! Who cares if we party? Who cares if we drink! She’s being boring. She’s being aggressive. She’s being LAME.”
But people can change.
And here’s the thing: all the positive things you might think alcohol is doing for you will actually increase tenfold if you stop drinking altogether. It took me so long to learn that alcohol wasn’t making me free; it was enslaving me by making me dependent on it as a social crutch. Alcohol wasn’t making me bubbly; it was impairing my brain so that I THOUGHT I was being charming and lively instead of sloppy and cringey. Alcohol wasn’t making me brave; it was encouraging me to be impulsive and irrational, leaving me scrambling to figure out what I’d done the next morning.
The truth is, there’s no such thing as a “good” drink. Alcohol is bad for you, in every way. Past Me would have snorted and stamped and Googled a bunch of shit to try to prove Present Me wrong, but confirmation bias is a real thing and you can’t make someone see the truth if they don’t want to. And booze is bad. That’s the truth. No amount of huffing and puffing about how you’re being a buzzkill is going to change that.
But you know what CAN change? You.
You can change. It might not be fun or easy, but it’s worth it. And it’s possible. I went from alcohol’s biggest fan to slowly seeing the truth. I realized that I had a drinking problem and I now also truly believe the majority of people in this world would be happier and healthier without booze in their lives.
If that makes you uncomfortable, or angry, or defensive, maybe you should ask yourself why. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your own relationship with alcohol. You just have to be honest and open-minded. And remember: change is possible.