I'm Ready to Talk About It
I'm Ready to Talk About It
By: Jason Nettle
" So... Why don't you drink", the person asks.
" Just Because", I respond.
" Did you used to drink?", as they grow more suspicious.
" Did you used to have a problem?" , putting a lot of emphasis on the word 'problem' as if they've figured it out and wondered the last time I went to AA.
I don't drink. I drank for two periods of my life. My sophomore and junior year at college and from 2000-2001. That's it. Both of those periods are split up into two years. The first year was fun and in a drunken state and the second year was bad and lost in a deep depression. The first year would be spent drinking with friends and getting drunk and doing crazy things and then I would have that one night where I would drink and wake up in the morning and throw up 5-6 times and not be able to eat for 3 days and get depressed enough to quit life. Everything I write now puts all the emphasis on the last 20 words of the previous sentence. There is nothing in the world that could make me happy enough to choose the consequences of my drinking for.
It's not a hangover. It's more of a panic attack. When I had a panic attack when alcohol was involved the first reaction I had was I needed it out of my system. So throwing up made sense. It was a form of claustrophobia. The same thing happens when I eat something and someone says the food might not be cooked enough or old. I really have to relax myself and not think I need it out of my system. When I've hung out with someone who I later find out has the flu, I have this physical rush inside me that I have it. All of these things deal with vomiting. I'm sorry if this term makes you nauseous, but it's ruined my life on and on for 10 years now. When that action happens, it happens multiple times and and I'll be nauseous for a few days. The worst. Because I dealt with a lot of involuntary depression in high school and college, knowing alcohol is a depressant is like eating a tub of grease when you're on a diet. I will.....I repeat... I WILL DO ANYTHING to keep from going through that ever, ever again!! If I found out that taking pictures did the same thing to me, I would never snap a photo again. Could the alcohol be a form of poison on my stomach? I don't know. Could it be more of a form of hating to give up control? Is it because I live a life of patterns and when I had a couple of awful experiences, I can never visualize drinking that doesn't include the after effects that I hate so much? Most likely. It is sort of a form of a traumatic experience.
That's the medical and psychological explanation. Now the social consequences. First. I'm rich. Not really, but anyone who reads this, please add up every dollar you've spent on alcohol since you were 18 and put it in a box or, 70 boxes and give it to me. Thank God I don't smoke or do drugs either. And the cherry on top is me not drinking coffee either. Ladies and gentleman, if you could give me all of your Starbucks receipts, I would enjoy that money too.
But then there's the friends aspect. The worst problem of all of this is the social problems of not drinking. I lost a lot of friends in college when I stopped drinking. In NY, my personality is pretty straight forward and when I'm with friends who are drinking, I sort of get lost. Some people have said they don't trust people who don't drink because they become the "judger" as the night progresses. When everyone goes out to drink, why would they want to invite a non drinker for a crazy night? This isn't always the case, I have many friends who could care less that I don't drink, but it's not always that easy. Some people have the kind of personality that it doesn't matter if they don't drink, I think I do..... sometimes. There are just some times that I'm not good at being in a crowded bar, with people who won't remember our conversations the next day , and not able to get in "crazy, drunk" games. I'm not judging, I just can't seem to get on the momentum train. So when we're going out, I know how I am that night and can't see myself being a lot of fun and excuse myself. I lose a lot of good hanging out time. I also lose out on a lot of conversations, actions, and networking because I don't have those couple of drinks that get me a little loose and make my inhibitions disappear. How many times have you heard, or sort of heard this statement: Unless you're drinking, it's so boring. I agree with that statement!! How many stories begin with; 1)My friends and I were having sodas one night and things got out of control.... 2) I had a couple glasses of water and felt the nerve to approach her...... 3) Last night was absolutely nuts! I remember everything!
I remember a lot of the things that i did when I was drinking that I never would've done when i was sober, and I know I have 10 years of those situations now. It's very sad. I don't think my great sober moments outweigh those either. If I was out drinking at night, who knows the people I would've met by now and where I'd be? I might be a lot further in my career. Who knows what kind of friends I'd have right now? There are a lot of times my night ends a lot sooner than those drinking because I don't have that fuel to keep me going. Those extra hours added up have people become better friends.
My journey in the last few years is becoming absolutely ok with these situations. I'm a full time bartender and have NEVER NEVER NEVER judged anyone who does drink. I used to drink. It was fun. I hope no one ever thinks that i am judging. I'm jealous. I really am. And the things I deal with are mostly about myself. Think of the things you would never do unless you were drunk- and know that i have to do all of those absolutely sober. Could you stay out until 6 am if you were sober- I have to. Have you ever walked into a stressful situation more relaxed because you've had a couple drinks- I haven't. Have you ever had someone judge you instantly because you don't drink- or heard people say "A life with no alcohol wouldn't be worth living"- or someone think you lack a fun side because you drink a coke? It's a social staple. We live in society that drinking is the norm. It kills, it causes family disfunction, it causes awful decisions, it causes health problems, it causes mental problems, it causes car crashes, and yet I've written all morning on why my life lacks a little bit because it doesn't include these.