April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Who knew? Not me.
I am very aware of alcohol. Probably too aware of alcohol. Since I was thirteen years old, I have been aware of alcohol and realized that alcohol would take away my pain. And make me able to talk to people.
Side note: I wrote “make,” not “help” me to talk to people in the last sentence. The words we use matter and are very telling.
I used alcohol for over thirty years to:
- take the edge off my anxiety
- to help me deal with depression
- to deal with the funhouse of C-PTSD symptoms
- to ignore the storm raging within
- to get to and stay asleep
- to numb my pain
- to decrease the volume of the world
Of course, I wasn’t aware of any of that. Not consciously anyway, but our brains know what helps us get through, and my brain was like, “hell yeah, this alcohol thing is da bomb! Let’s do that more!” So then I was drinking it just because I was addicted.
My little “buddy” would help me get through another networking event, another board meeting, and an evening at home to unwind and relax from how much I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone that day. That was my life the ENTIRE DAY. Everything I did pushed me so far outside my comfort zone that I didn’t realize it.
I slipped that much further down that addiction rabbit hole with every drink. I almost didn’t make it out of that hole. I almost buried myself alive.
Even though I no longer drink, I am still very aware of alcohol. So my first thought, when I read that April is alcohol awareness month was to joke (to myself) that it’s impossible NOT to be aware of alcohol. It’s EVERYWHERE.
Alcohol is not a joking matter. I know this all too well. As a recovering alcoholic trying to make it in an alcohol-centric world, I am aware of the dangers of one of the top five most addictive substances.1
This month of April is for alcohol awareness precisely for society to become aware of the dangers of alcohol addiction. It’s supposed to be a conversation starter regarding the slippery slope of alcohol, a very addictive drug that is STILL LEGAL.
Not only is alcohol legal, but it is pushed upon society. The alcohol industry would have you believe that EVERYONE drinks. An event can’t be an event unless there is alcohol. Did I use to buy into that? Oh, hell yes, I did—hook, line, and sinker. That was my core belief.
If you don’t drink? You are a pariah and are not worth the time.
I feel like that every time I sit at a restaurant. Menus have pages dedicated to the alcoholic beverages that are offered. Most times, I have to ask what non-alcoholic options there are. I am THAT PERSON. And you know what? It annoys me that I have to ask; it was hard for me in the early days of my sobriety. The flip side of the annoyance is the realization that alcohol is everywhere. It is also where most bars and restaurants make their money.
Now, I try to think of it as bringing awareness to the masses. I don’t mind saying that I am an alcoholic, and I don’t drink. It’s okay. Sometimes I get annoyed, and I don’t think I should have to say that, but then I remind myself that my presence can be about awareness and education.
IT”S OKAY TO BE SOBER. It is okay. But I also think it is an awareness that restaurants should have and promote.
NOT EVERYONE DRINKS.
My hubs still drinks beer; however, he is not an alcoholic. I support his enjoyment of local breweries. So, when we travel, I still research breweries. I also look for breweries that advertise that they have non-alcoholic options. My favorite options for breweries to have? Root beer that they have brewed there.
I will drink the hell out of brewed root beer. And I have. Siluria Brewing in Alabaster, AL, has brewed root beer. Unfortunately, they did not advertise their super tasty root beer. The night we were there, I got other people drinking their root beer, and we KICKED THE ROOT BEER KEG. That was FANTASTIC!
Many breweries don’t think to advertise that they brew root beer too. Or that they have alternatives to their beer. And they should. And while they are at it, add in some sarsaparilla beer too. Maybe some non-alcoholic kombucha. That shit is amazing!
Breweries should want people that don’t drink to attend their establishments. At the very least, hopefully, that sober person will drive their not-so sober friends home. It’s safer all the way around.
And not just breweries, restaurants too. Don’t make it so goddamn hard for me to find non-alcoholic drinks. And have something besides soda. I enjoy a Shirley Temple but holy sugar, batman!
Before, I worried about my liver failing, and now I have to think about diabetes? C’mon, help a sober, healthy(ish) person out here!