Tuesday, November 22, 2016

21 Years

I want to preface this post with a couple things about me as a person.  I am very capable of reading something on Facebook that I don't agree with and continue scrolling without giving my two cents; and 99% of the time that's what I do.  Another thing about me as a person is I'm very infrequently offended by something someone says or does.  And another thing about me is that I can disagree with something you believe in and vice versa and it's not immediate grounds for a friendship break up.  We are all individuals with our own thoughts and beliefs and I try to respect that.  As best I can.  I'm not perfect though and some times something cuts me enough for me to stew about.  Sometimes I stew but find a way to put it behind me and move on and sometimes that same issue is revisited again and then I'm done putting it behind me.  Which leads me to this post. And whether the issue at hand was brought forward by a friend or acquaintance shouldn't dismiss my feelings on it. So, at the risk of jeopardizing an old friendship I feel inclined to speak my mind on something.

For a large part of my life my father struggled with alcohol issues.  It's no secret, I'm not outing his anonymity by making this statement.  When he passed away he had been sober for 21 years.  He was super proud and we, his family were beyond proud of his achievement.  However, leading up to his decision to get sober he, we, our family were shaped by the events that transpired from his drinking (both fun and bad).  In the end, the bad memories outweighed the fun memories.

Overall, our family situation was mild, compared to the myriad of stories I've heard and read about through the years, living among the clouds of alcoholism.  On the surface, getting sober looked super easy for my dad.  I'd hazard a guess that it wasn’t though. I'm sure he had many difficult days along his journey. 

I have also had many encounters with people who self medicate with drugs and alcohol.  These people KNOW what they are doing is detrimental to their health and well being but the numbness that comes with these vices far outweighs the reality of their life without them.  Sometimes these people accept that with continued use these vices will kill them or destroy every good thing in their life and they try to get help.  But asking for help is so hard and even harder is drying out and getting sober; and then even harder than that is STAYING sober for the long haul using the techniques they are taught.

My point is, I guess, that struggling with addiction shouldn't be made into a joke.  Not drinking for a period of time for some is more difficult than anything they've ever done in their life.  So when someone makes light of it on Facebook and seems to be seeking attention and support for a temporary sobriety I get extremely insulted and irritated.  Consistently posting about how many more days until said person can drink again is infuriating. 

If one wants to stop consuming alcohol for a period of time for one's health, then just quietly go about doing it.  But don't publicly and jokingly count down the weeks or days until you can drink again, insinuate you are getting sober, rejuvenating your liver so you'll be good to go again, and preparing for the holidays. Your casual, 'light hearted' comments are insulting to those who do actually struggle to get sober and remain sober, hurtful to those who live with someone who struggles with alcohol daily, and disrespectful to those who have lost the battle with their addictions (some of them your own friends). 

I just write this as a reminder to be mindful of what you write on social media because you never know who is reading your stuff and how harmful or upsetting your 'jokes' can be to them.  Now I'll go back to my regular scheduled minding of my own business. 

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