“Ashley, why aren’t you drinking at the party?”
Oh, wow, I’m so glad you asked! Let me refer you to this handy FAQ! (Frustrating Alcoholism Questions) Each Q has a “Comfortable A” if you would like an easy, superficial answer and a “Truthful A” if you want raw, unvarnished honesty. Take your pick!
Q: Why aren’t you drinking?
Comfortable A: Oh, I’m just taking a break. I got tired of hangovers, haha.
Truthful A: Because over the past couple of years I’d been using alcohol as medication for my crippling anxiety. But then self-medication turned into a full-blown dependency. Pre-gaming for the party where I didn’t know a lot of people turned into pre-gaming for the grocery store turned into pre-gaming for the work meeting. I love and crave drunkenness so intensely and so constantly, I would rather poison myself than practice moderation.
Q: Aren’t you annoyed to be the only sober one here?
Comfortable A: It’s not so bad! I’m having fun.
Truthful A: I wasn’t annoyed until you, a stranger, started relentlessly probing me about my life choices.
Q: Well how do you know you really have a problem? I drink a lot every weekend, but I don’t think I have a problem.
Comfortable A: Good question. There is a very clear-cut and easy way to tell if your drinking is a real psychological problem and not just a fun activity you do a lot, and I can tell just by looking at you these past three minutes that you’re in the clear. Congratulations! You should do a shot to celebrate.
Truthful A: Man, I don’t fucking know you. I trust myself to know that I’m better off without alcohol in my life, and there’s no reason that shouldn’t be enough of an explanation for you.
Q: But you’re so young! Everyone drinks a lot at your age.
Comfortable A: Well, you know, everyone has to make these kinds of decisions for themselves.
Truthful A: That’s not even a question, dude. Age is literally not a factor in addiction at all. Oh sorry, did I say “addiction”? Did that make you uncomfortable? Good.
Q: How long do you plan on keeping this up?
Comfortable A: I’m thinking a year or two to start, and then I’ll re-evaluate and see where I’m at.
Truthful A: Please. Why can’t you just leave me alone? I just want to have fun at the party with my friends. I just want to have fun at the party without needing to be carried home on someone’s shoulders. I just want to have fun at the party and make actual memories I will be able to reflect on tomorrow. I just want to have fun at the fucking party without having to justify to someone whose name I don’t even know why I’m not slurping rum and cokes with the speed and composure of a person three times my size anymore.
Q: Just one more question—
Comfortable A: Oh, I think my friend is looking for me! Nice talking to you.
Truthful A: Absolutely not.