We’ve been together for many years now – 30 to be exact. I instantly fell in love with you and from our first proper encounter in a field in Dorset swigging from a bottle of Cinzano with school friends, I have been completely devoted to you. From day one you instantly put me at ease, gave me confidence and made me feel better about being me. As a teenager you made me feel less awkward, less worthless and able to compete with my cooler, more attractive and wittier friends. With you by my side I could stand out and be noticed too and be the person I wanted to be. However, even in those early days of our relationship you always controlled me more than I could ever control you and a little bit of you was never enough.
By the time I left school, I was utterly obsessed with you. I couldn’t get enough of you. You were constantly by my side. We created some amazing memories together, particularly during my first taste of real freedom and independence at Art College in Canterbury, during my hedonistic summers spent in Greece and in my early days in London. However, before long you also coerced me into making dangerous decisions like provoking fights, getting into dodgy minicabs on my own and going home with strangers. Your pervasiveness resulted in trips to A&E for x-rays and stitches and you also started to erase some of my memories leaving me feeling paranoid, ashamed and disgusted with myself. However, I brushed this under the carpet and I stuck with you, pretending our relationship was fine.
During my difficult times, like family bereavements, the break-down of friendships, the break-up of relationships, my four miscarriages and the cancer scares, I’ve leant on you more heavily. When my job felt crushingly stressful and my life felt unmanageable, I’ve relied on you as a crutch. Nevertheless, the more I’ve needed you, the more you’ve let me down. Rather than wrapping me in your comforting security blanket like you used to, you’ve increasingly left me feeling anxious, fearful, incapable and overwhelmed with self-loathing and shame. Our relationship has started to feel toxic and I need out before I slip down a more self-destructive path.
So alcohol, we’ve had some wild times together and I am walking away from this relationship with many good memories as well as the bad. However, recently the bad have outweighed the good and it’s time to move on. You have been with me for all of my adult life and I am scared of the future without you. I’m scared my husband won’t want to be with a teetotal wife having married a lush, I’m scared friends will find me boring, I’m scared I’ll never have the confidence to dance on a table or belt out karaoke again, I’m scared no one will choose to hang out with me… the list goes on. However, I am also hopeful of a future without hangovers, without waking up with limited memory of the night before and without the paralysing remorse. I am hopeful that I can find ways to like myself more and develop coping strategies that don’t involve opening a bottle. I am hopeful that I can navigate my way to finding a bit of peace and calm without your presence in my life. So, thank you alcohol for the fun times but after 30 years, it’s finally time to move on.
Lots of love
Adrienne writes a blog called Dream Scheming, which follows her adventures as a Brit living in Hong Kong embracing a new alcohol free way of life.