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Escaping the Voluntary Suicide of Alcohol Addiction
Navigating Drunken Chaos During Family Get-Togethers
Today we’re talking about dealing with drunk relatives during family functions, with a focus on the broader issue at play, the “suicide” of the sober individual.
When you consume excessive alcohol, it's like embarking on a temporary journey of self-destruction - a voluntary suicide, if you will. As you succumb to "the buzz" your essence transforms, the very nature of what makes you, you leave the mind behind, until sobriety kicks back in.
Remember the classic tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?
This cycle of Sober → Drunk mirrors that alarming transformation, the one from your authentic self to the drug-fueled (Alcohol is a drug), addictive (Alcohol is addictive), cancer-causing (Alcohol is a Type-1 Carcinogen) version of who you become.
Your alter ego takes over until that merciless sun rises again.
What can you do when people around you get too tipsy for their own good?
It's crucial to grasp that each time your friends and family raise that bottle and go all-in on the drink, it's akin to pointing a gun at their heads. While the damage may not be permanent, the consequences are similar - they're gone, lost in the abyss of intoxication.
I've been in situations where I was the sober one amidst a sea of drunken revelers, wondering why I even showed up. It's frustrating because what could have been an incredible time turns into a messy loop of repetitive stories and exaggerated emotions.
I wish there were a way to write this without coming across as a pretentious prick, but there isn’t. I hope you understand; I’m writing about my experience, not from a place of “Holier than thou” but rather from a place of “I barely escaped myself, and now I see these times for what they are”.
I did not surpass three years of sobriety because I had 1-2 drinks a week.
Like millions of others, I went too hard every time, and I/we ruined the nights of many others over the years. There are plenty I owe apologies to because of the way I behaved while drinking, that will never change, but I did make it out, and I have earned my seat at the sober table to look at drinking culture from the position of not just judgment but also understanding.
So, what's my advice?
When things get weird, it's time to make your exit.
That’s it; nothing positive comes from subjecting yourself to such an environment, and I don't mean that just in the sense of compromising your sobriety; I mean realizing that the person you adore, the one you genuinely connect with, vanishes as soon as that poisonous elixir takes hold.
Just like alcohol wears you down, it also erodes a part of your loved ones.
Regrettably, I've left numerous holidays, gatherings, and parties because I didn't want to be around the "other side" of the people I came to see. Their drunk alter egos weren't the ones I sought the time with, so I’ve refused to feel guilty about cutting our time short.
Having an exit strategy is key.
Prepare a valid excuse to dodge any confrontations, but be ready to assert, "I don't want to be here anymore." if push comes to shove. The value of your sobriety and time is a boundary you must defend. Don't sacrifice your well-being to be around their distorted versions; you came for them, not the chaos they've become.
It's okay to be selfish with your time.
Those who choose alcohol over you didn't prioritize you either, so why bother with them? Ignore any guilt trips or insults they throw your way ("You've changed"). It's all part of their ploy to bring you down. Your change has been for the better; it’s allowed you to do and be more than you were, don’t ever feel bad about that.
Alcohol extinguishes the best qualities in most people, leaving behind a pile of undesirable traits. Trust me; nobody wants to be associated with that leftover personality, I did it to those in my circle too many times.
In all my experiences, I've yet to meet someone who becomes more interesting or pleasant to be around once they're drunk or buzzed.
Giving yourself this permission to be selfish and leave is a superpower that will serve you well and have you enjoying your nights more. On several occasions, Jackie and I (both sober) split when the party was getting annoying, only to go out and have a better date together, walking the streets or hitting the town late.
Stay true to yourself, and let others grapple with their own demons.
Enjoy your parties, holidays, and events unapologetically, and before we wrap up, I'd like to express my gratitude for you embarking on this journey with me.
Too few sober folks are willing to stand their ground and challenge society's rampant acceptance of alcohol-infused everything.
Together, we can escape this cycle of micro-suicides before we lose ourselves for good.
- Zachary Small
If you’d like to work together on getting (or remaining) sober:
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