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Saying Goodbye to Alcohol and Toxic Relationships

Alcohol was my friend for a very long time. When I was in outpatient rehab, I had to write a letter to my “friend,” explaining why we were no longer compatible. At the time, I was placating. I had no intentions of saying good-bye forever, I just wanted to be in the good graces of my loved ones again.

It didn’t matter how many times my “friend” alcohol hurt me—I always went back. When I wrote the letter, I thought we’d reunite someday. As I read the letter today, I’m baffled at how much I did know back then but was still unwilling to see it as my actual truth. It took me five years as a dry drunk to realize how sick I was. It took another year after that to see how my sickness was affecting my life, even though I wasn’t drinking.

Fast forward to today and I’m hungover. Almost eight solid years without alcohol and I’m hungover.

I’m not physically hungover—alcohol and I are still former friends. Today, I’m suffering from an emotional hangover.  This past weekend, I said good-bye to my “ride or die” bestie of 20 years. I’m grieving. I’m grieving the loss of my friend I thought would be in my life ’til death do us part, but as it turns out, was just another toxic “friend” ship.

I’m angry. I’m angry that I didn’t end the friendship sooner. I’m angry I didn’t get the closure I needed sooner. I’m angry that she seems to have moved on quicker than me. I’m angry because I thought I was over it but I’m crying again.

This feels all too familiar. It feels like I’m right back to where I was eight years ago when alcohol was removed from my life against my will.  I fought for my right to drink even when I knew it wasn’t good for me. Grieving the loss of a huge part of my identity as the party girl.

Back then, I was angry at everyone around me because they thought I was an alcoholic. I was angry at myself because down deep I knew I was too. I kept asking myself “how could you do this again!?!?”

I cannot tell you how many times my bestie and I “broke up” since I quit drinking.

We’d have a falling out, we’d stop talking, one of us would reach out and then before we knew it, we were “back together,” and healthier than ever. Until the next shoe dropped and we weren’t speaking again. The cycle continued through our entire toxic relationship.

Not unlike my relationship with alcohol. Alcohol was the friend I needed when I felt like no one else understood. Alcohol comforted me when it seemed that no one else cared. Alcohol also turned on me when I consumed too much, which, at the end of my drinking career, was all the time.

Comparing the two relationships, I see one difference that is worth mentioning because it shows my growth. Unlike the end of my drinking career, the demise of my friendship with my former bestie was in my control. I chose not to get closure until nine months after I knew it was over. That was my choice.

That’s the only difference. The rest is the same.

It’s all good though. I’m free now and so is she.

We’re better off without the other. In our last exchange, my ex-bestie told me that her journey is raining gifts and that she can’t look back on areas of life with anger. For once in our lives, our journeys have aligned, as I too am experiencing a lot of joy amongst a lot of sadness going on around me. I wanted to say, “Me tooooo! Tell me everything!” but I didn’t. I just “loved” her message and that was that. Then I cried.

I’m okay. I’ve been okay and I will continue to be okay. Life goes on and I have to say, I am loving life today. It’s not without its struggles but as long as I keep the alcohol and toxic people out of my life, I’m ALWAYS going to be okay.

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