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Open letter to alcohol at 19 years in recovery

Dear Alcohol,

It’s been 19 years today since we broke up. I would say our time together had been fun, but it really wasn’t.

Sure, we may have hit it off at first – you wooing me with the promises of what you could give me. Confidence. Euphoria. Escape.

But whatever you had initially provided, you eventually took away – and then some. You also did it all with a few black eyes, broken windows and a burnt laundry hamper in the process.

Past photos of our time together show you in just about every one of them. You greeted me heartily in the heart of New York City, gifting me with a legal drinking age of 18.

You moved with me to Brooklyn. Followed me on my trip to France. Had me screaming bloody murder in London when I went to buy you on a Sunday and found stores padlocked their beer, wine and booze for the entire day.

Yeah, you really pulled some shenanigans. But I kept you hanging around anyway.

Long enough for my body to bloat. My mind to turn spongy. My soul to decay. By the end of our time together, you had taken away everything that mattered most.

My self-confidence. Self-worth. Simple common sense. Even my ability to speak. One time I tried to answer a coworker’s question, and the words in my head would not connect with my mouth.

You had me speaking jibberish. Falling under a subway train. Telling myself it was A-OK to wake up at 5 a.m. and not reach for a coffee but a beer. Heck, you were the only reason I got out of bed in those days. Life had nothing else to offer.

You had done it, provided the ultimate hell on earth.

You had taken away my hope.

But this letter wasn’t meant to take you on a jolly stroll down memory lane, or look at how far down you took me. It’s to tell you how far I’ve risen once I finally had the courage to let you go.

I can’t take all the credit. No way. You’re much too big a foe to face solo. I am blessed with staunch supporters. Friends and fellows. A boyfriend and dogs. Mom and family. Angels. God.

I also learned enough to know you’re capable of pulling any number of stunts in an attempt to get us back together at any time. So I work on my recovery daily. Keep it strong. Stay connected. Fill up joy buckets. Meditate. Reiki-ize. Exercise. Get on my knees and pray.

As they say in some recovery circles, getting sober really CAN bring on a life beyond your wildest dreams. How true it is. I would have never dreamed I would have lived in rural New Mexico after 18 years in NYC – with five pet goats, to boot.

Or follow my full-time journalist dream across five whole states. Or land in Arizona with my own business that lets me share my creativity and humor with others. I never would have thought I could actually like people, especially myself.

And NEVER in my wildest dreams would I have thought I could go more than 30 minutes without a beer, never mind 19 years.

Yep, amazing things have happened since we broke up. And amazing things can happen to others, too. I’ve seen it. I rejoice every time I see another squeak past your cunning grip to break free of your suffocation.

It’s a beautiful thing, this life without you.

I hope many more come to know it, too.

July 23, 2018

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