Yes. Yes it is.
I don’t drink. I haven’t in many years. And I truly don’t miss it.
If you’re shaking you’re head in disbelief, I get it. I mean, I really get it. There was long time in my life when I believed that anyone who claimed they didn’t like drinking was either boring or fooling themselves or both.
Drinking is fun. It lets your guard down. It loosens you up. It makes it easier to connect with people.
When I drank, it always seemed that after a couple of glasses of wine my girlfriends and I would start having the really juicy conversations. Everything we found too embarrassing to admit under the harsh light of day—our inadequacies, the real state of our relationship, our sex lives—came pouring out after a couple of cocktails. Alcohol gave us just enough space to stop worrying what others might think and be honest about our hopes and fears.
So it doesn’t surprise when the first question people ask when they find out I don’t drink is, “But don’t you miss it?” Or when they look skeptically at me when I tell them that I don’t.
I don’t miss alcohol anymore because I no longer need it to have fun or let my guard down or loosen myself up or most of all have deeply honest conversations.
Now if you do use alcohol in this way, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. If you like what you’re doing, keep doing it. In fact, almost my entire social circle drinks, and that’s quite all right with me. I don’t think the world needs to be separated into drinkers and non-drinkers.
But I know there are some of you out there that don’t like how you rely on alcohol. Who don’t want to use it as a crutch, but have no idea how to go about it.
Here’s the thing: abstinence doesn’t extinguish desire. How do I know? Because there were many periods in my life when I didn’t drink but really really wanted to. Badly. Like can’t I just be like everybody else and not have alcohol be an issue for me, please?
And then there’s today when I no longer drink and don’t desire to.
What’s the difference?
Drinking or not drinking, I had a lot of the same problems. Problems of social anxiety and crappy self-esteem. Problems of needing others (especially men) to validate my self-worth. Problems of feeling unhappy with the direction my life was headed but terrified of change.
It was just that drinking solved so many of these problems, or so I thought. It made me confident and outgoing. Attractive and desirable. And gave me a little peace and quiet from the onslaught of worries.
I don’t desire alcohol anymore because I have new tools at my disposal to solve these problems. Once I could solve these problems without alcohol it turned out I didn’t want it. My desire vanished.
Funny how that happens. The ability to no longer want something you thought you were 100% sure you couldn’t live without.