Even though we did everything together, I knew I had to break up with my best friend.
Addiction does not discriminate, it affects all walks of life. Statistically, 1 out of 10 Americans, over the age of 12, suffers from addiction. Getting sober and facing my mistakes is one of the most difficult things I have ever done.
I relied on my best friend for almost everything but I knew we couldn’t keep going.
Like most people, I began using substances because I liked the feeling. Alcohol was there when I was sad, happy, lonely, depressed, suicidal, joyful; it was there for any reason or occasion. When I first started drinking and using drugs, it was fun and I enjoyed the euphoria, relaxation, and relief from responsibilities. I could be whoever I wanted to be.
I loved my best friend so much I couldn’t imagine being apart.
I began to drink as much as I could. I drank before parties, at parties, at sporting events, before work, at work, waiting for the bus; you name it, I drank. The reasons I drank changed over time. I started to have fun, but then I shifted to numbing my feelings, forgetting about my poor choices, not loving myself, and ridding my anxiety and depression.
When my mental status began to diminish, I knew I had to get rid of alcohol: my best friend.
I prayed every night that I would not wake up the next morning. My drinking progressed from using to have a good time to drinking in order to function. But I was not living, I was barely surviving.
My old friend had to go but I didn’t know how to stop or if I even wanted to stop. I was afraid of what my life would look like without the friendship of alcohol. How was I going to have a good time? How was I going to be able to have conversations? How was I going to make it through a day? It was all scary.
I kept thinking I could somehow stay friends with alcohol. I told myself to just stay sober for a couple of months then I could manage my drinking. But after 3 months sober, I realized I did not want to live how I had been living. I wanted to change.
When I made the decision to let go of my best friend, I wasn’t afraid of those questions or afraid of living without alcohol. As it says in the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book,
“We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow fear.”
The longer I stayed sober, the more I gained self-esteem and self-worth. I have fun, laugh, and smile. I am living, not surviving, but really living. I love myself again and that is worth everything.
Without my best friend, though, I need to stay connected to myself and my surroundings. If I am having a bad day, I stay away from situations with alcohol so I’m not triggered to drink.
My ego might tell me that maybe I can manage my drinking, manage my friendship with alcohol, but I know this is a lie. I would go right back to where I was.
My friendship with my higher power is far more reliable and healthy. It never fails to offer help whenever I need it.
Our actions define who we are. Early in sobriety, I was told that if my actions feel awkward, I should keep doing them. Getting sober should feel awkward because in active addiction we aren’t used to making good choices.
We are used to a destructive, enabling relationship with alcohol. The more I keep doing the next right thing, the more comfortable I am in continuing to make the right decisions.
If you feel like your friendship with alcohol isn’t working anymore, admitting that you have an issue can be scary and shameful. But if I can get and stay sober, anyone can.
In order to be honest about your relationship with alcohol, you have to be honest with yourself. A friendship with alcohol can be seductive and seem like the easiest way to go. The best advice I can give you, is the same advice that was given to me over 7 years ago, shut your mouth, open your ears, and your mindset to help, and you can find support and friendship that is real.
As I ended my relationship with alcohol, I was able to gain genuine and authentic relationships with others I had lost during my use. My sister, Jodi (pictured below), has become my best friend. She has been extremely supportive and plays a major role in my sobriety.
I can talk to her about any issue I am having, I know she will listen and give advice if needed. Our relationship has blossomed into something I never thought it would.
We laugh and cry together, have fun and joke around, talk every day, and most importantly, enjoy each other’s company. I am extremely grateful for the relationship we have created and I know it would not be possible had I not gotten sober.