A year or so ago I was out to cock- and mock-tails with a friend when out of no where the placebo effect of my virgin whatever washed over me. Possessed not-drunk drunk, I looked him square in the face.
Me. "Want to know something I've never told anyone?"
Him. "Of course."
Me. "I think everyone should stop drinking."
Him. "I'd keep that thought to yourself."
I sat back, bemused by the encounter. My unflappable friend had just flapped - a lot - at those 6 simple words, and my gut flapped back.
I kept it to myself.
It's one thing to be the girl who doesn't drink. It's a whole other thing to be the girl who doesn't drink that fancies herself the modern day Carrie Nation in her heart of hearts.
Let me be clear here. I don't give a fuck if you drink. I really don't. Most of my friends drink. I go to bars. I go to shows. I go wine tasting. My family drinks. I have yet to date a sober guy, the fellowship is not my life, and I don't secretly judge you for your decision.
Drinking is your business and your right. You have free will and the one thing I care about more than sobriety is personal freedom (which ironically is why I care so much about sobriety).
What I do give a fuck about is this: you understand how drinking works, you allow the space to consider the impact it has on your life, you aren't just going along with a social trope that in my mind is nearing expiration.
I give a fuck that you arm yourself with information , you understand the consequences and impact YOUR drinking has on not only your life, but those lives you are modeling and those lives you impact.
I give a fuck that we as a society wake up from our archaic belief system that alcohol is safer than other drugs because it's legal and socially acceptable, and realize it's actually more dangerous than any other drug on the planet BECAUSE it's legal and socially acceptable.
Fact. It's the only drug in our culture that we have to justify NOT taking to our social circles.
Fact. It's the only drug in our culture our parents consume and teach us to consume. "Here kids, let's do your first line of coke. You're old enough now. But do it responsibly okay?"
I give a fuck that we single people out who cannot handle their drink as weak willed or flawed or as having an addictive personality when the truth is no human being is meant to tolerate a highly additive drug with ease and almost every single person that drinks must assert some control over their drinking - regardless if it's one a month or five a night.
This is my deepest secret. I think everyone should stop drinking. But that's not going to happen.
So my call to action is this.
That we all arm ourselves with as much knowledge as possible.
That we all look at our own relationship with alcohol and ask if we are truly free and in control.
That if we say things like "I can take it or leave it" we ask ourselves why aren't we leaving it?
That we realize as parents, leaders, teachers, and role models that we are influencers and responsible for our behavior and the example we set - that our children and other impressionable minds follow our leads and every move, and that we have the opportunity to raise the bar for this generation and future generations. And maybe that bar doesn't stumble out of tasting rooms, need a beer to enjoy a baseball game, or a glass of wine to unwind from a long day at work.
Alcohol addiction and abuse is not a "them" problem. It's an "us" problem. And if anything, it's time we acted like it.