My Sobriety Doesn’t Mean I Judge You For Drinking

I would be a hypocrite if I did

Photo by Adam Wilson on Unsplash

Minor warning and this might make you angry but it has to be said: if you are worried about someone else’s sobriety, that says more about you than about them. Phew. Okay. Now that we’ve got that out of the way.

If mine or anyone else’s sobriety makes you uncomfortable, a teeny-tiny bit of introspection about why that is should probably be practiced. There are many reasons why that could be and I can only speak about my personal experience with it. I didn’t like myself sober and I didn’t like myself drunk.

When drunk, I could numb myself to that, at least for a while, but if I were talking to a sober person… well, they saw all the cracks in my personality clearly and at their most obvious. If I spouted off some kind of fresh nonsense or self-hating monologue, there was zero chance they’d wake up the next morning and forget. They’d remember and I wouldn’t.

Us sober folks, we aren’t “boring” because we refuse to get blackout drunk and embarrass ourselves anymore. We’ve done it so many times and it gets really exhausting to do so — mentally and physically. We are, honestly, probably the least boring partiers because of this. We’re just retired, that’s all.

If I could I would but I can’t so I don’t. Do you know what I mean? I wish as much as you do that I could have an old fashioned around a campfire when it’s cold outside or a just-brushed-my-teeth-minty-fresh mojito before kissing a stranger. I am mourning those losses too, my friend.

The fact that I say “no” when you offer me a beverage isn’t an insult or personal attack, I promise. I honestly couldn’t care less if I walked into a party and there was nothing but water… but that’s just me. If you have sober friends, you should at least have seltzer (or ginger ale), but so long as there are gin drinkers afoot there is always tonic water for a bitter bite to plop a lemon wedge into, but I digress.

There is no need for you, o-holy-current-and-possibly-frequent-drinker-of-alcohol, to feel weird around me if you’re still imbibing. Full transparency? It might be hard for me sometimes to be around it, but that’s not your fault nor your problem. And I sincerely appreciate your concern but the repeated jokes of “maybe I’m an alcoholic too ha ha ha” or “I could never quit drinking” makes me worry about you slightly.

You’re probably saying it because you don’t know what to say. You probably haven’t spoken to someone about their sobriety in-depth, or maybe you have and it hurt you. Maybe you had a parent that struggled with substance abuse and you feel guilty that you are repeating the same patterns. If the latter is true, again, no judgment because that is exactly what I used to do.

Once, I sat at a bar with a coworker that didn’t drink. I said something along the lines of “that’s amazing” (I was jealous) and tried to ask her why as kindly as possible. Firstly, she said she just didn’t and has never been a drinker, which again sparked deep and serious feelings of envy. Secondly, she said that her dad had alcohol issues and I, tipsy at this point now, went deep into my family history as well. She entertained my rambles because she was a sweet woman but I felt bad after, unloading on her like that. I was a less-than-ideal drunken companion.

Some sober people, I won’t speak for all, want to talk to others about their sobriety — how everything feels lighter and brighter but it isn’t easy to get there. When you do something and it feels good, it’s only natural. The amount of times I have tried and failed and failed and tried has taken years. There’s no “rush,” necessarily. Don’t feel bad if you aren’t there yet or don’t want to be. No sober person I’ve met is worried about running around and getting other people sober. The second coming of the Prohibition isn’t en route just because there are better tasting nonalcoholic drinks on restaurant menus now.

It’s hard for me to relate to those masters of moderation that can have two drinks, or more, and wake up looking back on the night before as a good one. It literally feels so foreign to me, but I know others can have a drink without constantly thinking about the next one they will have and how many it’ll take to get them nice and blasted. No matter what I did on a night out, I felt instant remorse and insecurity about how I acted the next morning, hot mess, or not.

There is so much going on in my broken brain of mine that I’m not judging you for drinking. How could I?

Do I hate Big Alcohol? Yes, with a fiery and burning passion from hell. Does “mommy wine culture” infuriate me but also hurt my feelings? Mhm. Do I still have respect and admiration for small, family wineries that make experimental and beautiful concoctions that pair well with thoughtful dishes? 5000%. It’s so much more than complex that me and you.

If I judged everyone who drank I would effectively blacklist hundreds of thousands of humans and I don’t want to lose out on anyone. An exception to this rule: is if you brag about drunk driving and endangering yourself and others. That’s an immediate no.

But you know what? I’ve been there, done that, and got the t-shirt. Even driven when I probably shouldn’t have. There isn’t a day that I don’t thank the universe that I didn’t hurt anyone because of my addiction. If I could change anything about my past, it would be that.

So, in conclusion, as long as if you get too drunk to drive you let me drive you home or call you a cab, we’ll get along just fine.

Writer (she/her) of the foodish, bookish, & feminist. Author of Bright Blue (poetry) Dancing Girl Press / Website: www.aliciabanaszewski.com / Twitter: @b___ski

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