Published On: March 5, 2017737 words3.7 min read

“Those were the days my friend,
We thought they’d never end,
We’d sing and dance forever and a day.
We’d live the life we chose,
We’d fight and never lose,
For we were young and sure to have our way…”

Dear Alcohol

I am so glad that I bid you Adieu on 26 December 2015. It was Boxing or Family Day in South Africa and I had completely overdone the wine on Christmas Day. It was your fault again, alcohol, for taking control of me and making me do things I later regretted. Again. So I said goodbye in my shame and guilt, leaving you to abuse other people’s minds and bodies, just not mine.

And now I am learning to live without you and it is not the first time I have tried. I tried for 8 months the year before and I got so angry with you for letting me down. I really believed we could be friends again. But you betrayed me then, as you did now, months thereafter.

Yet I know that this is the last time I will say goodbye to you because it is the forever time. I have not missed you for the 12 months I have given you up. This time was easier as my mind has changed and I have accepted that life without you is in fact fun – and more meaningful than with you. Sure, there are pros and cons, ups and downs, lows and highs as I have felt them like never before. But I also feel free in a funny kind of way. Free from you, and from that me that was NOT me.

Alcohol, you were like a bad friend who lured me to have more of you than I needed and I suffered for it. My parents created a life from alcohol and us children were brought up to believe that you were fun, part of life and a social necessity. When I was at university, we all abused you and thought we were having fun. When I was working and single and meeting lovely people who loved you, life was fun, a ball, so much hilarity – and we did so many dangerous things when you were with us. We drove drunk, we said rude things, we forgot those things we said and we told naughty stories. You released the party animal in us and we thought everyone liked us more.

When I met my husband, you were there. You partied with us, you were there when we had our first fights and you were there even more when we had our final alcohol infused fights. That was when I started to see through you. When I had my new family – my husband and my precious boys – I needed a life that was safe and happy. I managed so well without you when I was pregnant and then breast-feeding (I would have 2 wines a day, if that). You were my friend, always there when I needed you. I was happy, fitting in with the wine drinkers when needed. Having wine here and there, always a wine drinker.

So why did you let me down then? You started getting into my head and you tampered with my thoughts and my sanity. I started to yell when I had a bit too much of you. I said things I should have left unsaid. I then felt rueful and ashamed and guilty. You created this pattern in me that I couldn’t shake off. My hormonal state also felt the wine and let it create havoc with my feelings and reactions.

Until 26 December 2015 when I knew I had to let you go. I have realised that you are not a true friend. You trick and you cheat, you lie and you mislead. You are a devious thing that I did not need. I have seen through you and I know you will never be my friend again. I have new friends now and new goals. These friends are my Health, my Clarity and my Inner Peace. I feel free.

Which is why I still sing:
“Those were the days my friend
We thought they’d never end
We’d sing and dance forever and a day.
We’d live the life we chose,
We’d fight and never lose,
For we were young and sure to have our way…”

Goodbye Alcohol….

Yours sincerely,
Janis

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