Full disclosure: I’m currently sipping on about 2 oz of rum in a fruit punch kickstart as I type this Monday night.
So over the past, oh, 8 years especially, I’ve seen a pattern where I do my most drinking when I’m depressed. (Or the 1st of the month working at the bank.) This isn’t good. I know that there is nothing wrong with alcohol in moderation, but when I’m at my worse, there is no moderation. I proved this about a year and a half ago.
Then my sister got sick. Really sick. Alcoholism isn’t the sole cause, but it certainly exuberated the problem that was there. (Something genetic, and autoimmune related, we don’t know what but the doctors agree no amount of drinking could have killed her liver this bad that fast.)
Over the past year I’ve warred with myself over whether I should stop drinking altogether, just better monitor and limit it, or leave it alone since I’m always safe with it (in my own home, not driving) and not an alcoholic.
Those suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder tend to have addictive personalities. Meaning, we are a lot more prone to abusing alcohol and/or drugs. I’ve always known this and even at my most depressed where rum and vodka are a nightly escape, I’ve always recognized when it’s gotten out of hand, as I watch for it, and I always stop before I lose full control. I never question the glass of wine on special occasions, but I’ve been careful with drinking for the wrong reasons. I allow myself a few nights of wallowing in misery, but much beyond that, I recognize where it’s going and stop it before it becomes abuse. This is a conscious choice I make.
Now… I start to feel bad over even thinking about drinking. I think the emotion I’m looking for is guilty. How can I choose to have a drink, when my sister is literally dying from drinking too much?
Well, because I’m not my sister. I still hold the power within me to choose when too much is too much and stop with ease. Both in an evening and in a pattern of evenings. Because I have no medical reason I can’t enjoy a glass of wine on occasion. Or destress with a shot of rum after an evening of my daughter being particularly 3.
Because really, I have nothing to feel guilty about, I remind myself.
Will I drink in front of my sister? Well, at least not anytime soon. But after she gets her transplant (we hope) and it’s all behind us, wine might again get passed around on Christmas, just not to her. Or it never will again, and that’s ok too.
Will I ever get drunk again? Maybe, but it’s lost any and all appeal. Not only does escaping my depression via drinking not actually work, but the thought actually depresses me even more. I’d rather sleep it off, or lose myself in a book or movie.
Will I allow myself tonight’s shot of rum guilt free? Well, I’m working on that. It’s not for the best reason, but it’s literally only 2 oz, and it’s been a long time now since I’ve had a drink.
I may decide in the future to never drink again, but really, as I’m teaching my 11-year-old, who is currently very anti-alcohol as he watches his beloved aunt maybe die because of it, there is nothing wrong with alcohol in moderation. Special occasions, or limited amounts even frequently. Red wine is good for the heart, and I think most can unwind after a long week/day with a single drink and not have it be a problem or abuse.
If you do have problems with alcohol, please get help for it now before it becomes too late! My sister is all of 28 so there is literally no such thing as being too young for complete liver failure. What can you do for me to comfort me in my grief? You can get help if you need it to not die of something very preventable.