Alcohol vs. friendship did I ever have a choice?
In the last thirteen years I have been to Nashville three times. Two of the trips are a blur and the third trip I flat out barely remember. To jog my memory I powered up my old cell phone, retrieved some old photos, and took a stroll down memory lane.
After review of endless photos while mourning some old friendships I noted a common theme in my photographic memories: alcohol induced friendships. Over the years alcohol and friendship went hand in hand. The sad fact is the majority of my memories with friends include alcohol as if I was never given the option to choose. And if I had to choose how would I? My relationships were built upon a fellowship with friends and the liquid spirits pulsing through our veins united us.
Alcohol vs. friendship the choice is yours.
At the end of my thirty-day duration at rehab I was warned some of my friends may not accept the new me. I didn’t understand how “a friend” would choose to dissolve a friendship over sobriety.
Most of my friends leaned in to offer support and encouragement while very few of my friendships were not able to withstand my lifestyle changes, choosing to distance themselves.
Was it because I no longer chose to embrace their lifestyle? Or simply my actions were that egregious it was difficult to get past my behavior?
“They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you.”1 Peter 4:4 NIV
Why do our friends want us to drink and dislike it when we don’t? https://www.sbs.com.au/topics/voices/culture/article/2017/01/09/why-do-our-friends-want-us-drink-and-dislike-it-when-we-dont
Alcohol vs. friendship the choice is mine.
Throughout the early stages of sobriety I was warned to stay away from friends who abuse alcohol. It is best to avoid temptation. My approach would need to be different. I need to embrace a culture that finds alcohol socially acceptable and treat my personal problems. I will need to eliminate my triggers and find a substitute for the spirit in the bottle.
Many of my sober friends have shunned their alcohol induced friendships and I understand their choices. For many the addiction is so powerful that if they consume one beverage they would be off to the races. A phenomenon of craving would set in and they would become powerless. At least until they are secure in their sobriety it is best to isolate.
I made a choice March 18, 2021 I would not allow alcohol to control my life. I didn’t know at the time if that would entail abstinence but I would do whatever was needed to live a life free from being a slave to alcohol.
“In the same way instruct the older women to behave as women should who live a holy life. They must not be slanderers or slaves to wine…”Titus 2:3 GNT
In a culture that worships and thrives on alcohol realistically I would need to learn to live with alcohol. My choice is clear, accept my friends and family for who they are and what they consume. Essentially, I would need to do me and each friend would need to do them.
Traveling to Nashville as a conflicted woman.
As I prepare for my fourth trip to Nashville my mind has been focused on alcohol. Once again I feel like a slave to alcohol. It isn’t the craving to have a drink or worry that I can’t go without, but questioning myself, “should I have one drink?”
My obsession with sobriety is causing me grief, stealing my peace.
The other evening at the conclusion of a recovery meeting I mentioned to a friend I was going to make a personal choice and abstain from alcohol on my trip. Having to choose to abstain vs. consideration to be a “one and doner” has been causing undo anxiety.
Another worry I have is how to deal with the personality changes of my friends as they consume their alcohol. Most of my girlfriends do not have a problem with over indulging, but at least I will be emotionally stable if I need to deal with a friend’s instability.
Going into this trip I already know what to expect. Each of my friends have a unique personality and we each react to alcohol differently. Most often we are all happy and extremely affectionate drunks. The best kind you can be. That is why we could sustain our friendships throughout the years.
What kind of drunks are you and your friends? https://riahealth.com/blog/7-types-of-drunks/
It isn’t my job to offer unsolicited therapy. This is where the me being me and them being them applies. Our friendship withstood my antics because our friendship is unconditional so I need to extend the same courtesy for them.
” My friends, if someone is caught in any kind of wrongdoing, those of you who are spiritual should set him right; but you must do it in a gentle way. And keep an eye on yourselves, so that you will not be tempted, too.”Galatians 6:1 GNT
Nashville is a town that thrives on the party scene. The old me would have gotten caught up in the alcohol induced fun. My history with this group of girlfriends doesn’t paint me as a staggering drunk but the tendencies would have been here if I didn’t commit to my sobriety.
Two nights in, what I discovered is alcohol has no bearing on my trip. While my friends leisurely have a few drinks throughout the day, hitting it much harder into the night I have no problem maintaining my sobriety.
The best thing I can do for my friend is demonstrate sobriety induced fun. Sobriety induced fun doesn’t sound fun but it does include laughing all day, constant storytelling and dancing my ass off well into the night. It is actually the exact same thing as recreational alcohol induced fun but without the excess alcohol.
Sobriety induced fun is being a slave to fun, not alcohol.
Friendship the biblical approach.
My approach is biblical. It is the best solution. It will allow me to live a life with purpose alongside those who choose to drink alcohol recreationally. I will be present while my friends are enjoying their alcohol but abstain from recreational drinking in support of my new friends who are struggling.
And if a friend doesn’t respect my decision I will respect their decision to end our friendship. I am deciding to go on my own personal journey to sobriety and others are welcome to join my journey towards healing. I will take it day by day and not allow alcohol or friends (both those who overindulge and sober) dictate my decision. I have made a pact with God which might include one beverage occasionally but not be a slave to wine or any other alcoholic beverage.
“Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.”Ecclesiastics 9:7 NIV
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