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Why Aren’t You Drinking?

I was the life of the party when I was still drinking alcohol. I was the ringleader, the cocktail shaker, the glass-filler, the rebel rouser. I felt personal responsibility for the good time of others, and somehow I felt like I had to be downing the drinks to be the good-time gal that had become my persona, whether or not others felt that way or I had labeled myself that way.

I had my first real drink somewhere around the age of 15 or so, and from the very beginning alcohol had me completely under its spell. As someone who has always struggled with social anxiety, alcohol was the magical elixir social lubricant I’d been waiting for all my life. During the nearly two decades that alcohol was part of my life, there were many times I would take a break or cut back and I recall each time that inevitably someone in my circle would notice and ask “why aren’t you drinking?” That inquiry would immediately fill me with guilt that I was ruining someone else’s good time, and I would make up excuses like “I’m on an antibiotic” or “I’m watching my sugar intake” etc…anything to avoid the truth which was “Deep down I know that alcohol is not good for me, but I’m afraid to admit it.”