Why Aren’t You Drinking? An FAQ

“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.

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