A Collection of Essays

Breaking up…

Dear Reader,

A few days I announced on social media that my husband and I were no longer drinking. I have sort of known that this day would come. I had weaved in and out of seasons where I would and would not drink.

I did not make this decision because I am alcoholic. I do not wake up in the am and crave a drink nor do I even drink every day. I think so often when people choose to walk away from something, we assume that it must have been TERRIBLY bad, but this is not the case.

So, I thought today I would share what led me to make this decision.

I also want to say that there may be a time I choose to have a glass of wine again – nothing is set in stone. This may be for a season or a lifetime. I am really unsure. But either way I know for now I have some things to sort through.

I remember the first time I really started drinking – I was 15.

I had transitioned to a new school my freshmen year. I went from private to public. From a class of 50 to LOTS. I was overwhelmed and under prepared for this transition.

AND I had a rough go with making friends. I just did not seem to fit in. Looking back, I am not sure it was anyone’s fault really social groups had long be established and I was the new girl.

It was hard but I did manage to make one friend who I happen to still be friends with today. Thank God for her or else I seriously would have sat ALONE at every lunch. We clung to one another because we were kind of in the same boat. She truly is a wonderful person and I thank God He allowed our paths to cross all those years ago.

Yet, despite my one friendship I wanted more. I wanted to be popular. Looking back, I think I just wanted to be liked and for me that meant being liked the most.

I had this deep desire to just fit in and it did not matter at what cost. I remember toward the end of my freshmen year sitting in a classroom with two popular girls. I wanted to be their friend and in my mind that meant I needed to figure out how to party.

I really did not even know what that meant but knew they did. I thought this was my in. This  was how I would find more friends – I will tell them I want to party and ask where the next one is.

And sure enough it worked – I was invited to the next party. The cool girls brought me into their little group, and this is where the drinking began.

It was not like I was drinking everyday – it just became the social glue. The thing that connected me with people. I thought that if I did not participate, I would have no friends.

I also want to say I had a lot of fun times – drinking never felt like it was hurting anything. I did not see it has a hindrance or as a social crutch. I just enjoyed that time with friends.

As I got into my early twenties alcohol held a different role in my life. I had just gone through a terrible break up. I had almost married my high school sweetheart.

I broke it off a few months before the wedding and we had a DISASTEROUS break up. It was an awful time in my life, and I felt lost. We had spent so much of our lives together that it felt strange to move forward in mine without him. It was the right decision just a very hard one.

Lots of rumors flew around during this time – my favorite being that I was a cheater. This was never the case – what most people did not know is that we just did not really get along. We communicated terribly and for some reason I just always felt like he never really liked me for me. That was not all on him – I showed up like that. Remember, I thought drinking made friends. No wonder I questioned how he felt about me.

During this time, alcohol became a coping mechanism for the deep pain I felt. I just did not want to feel it. I wanted to cover it up. To mask it.

The truth is the more I drank the more the pain came out in all kinds of strange ways and I just ended up hurting the people around me. I lost a lot of friends during this time. I was a mess. Looking back, I know why so many people had to walk away from me. It just did not help – it added insult to injury.

But at the end of the day, it was my choice. I chose to handle my pain in that way.

It is strange I started drinking to fit in only to have it turn on me and be the reason I did not.

And this pattern became my relationship with alcohol – I used it socially to fit in and emotionally to cope.

This realization led me to make the decision this week – no more alcohol.

 I need to detach my worth as a friend completely from this expectation and allow God to be my source during times of stress. I cannot do that if alcohol is always the substitute.

Yet, I realize that there may become a day that it’s just simply alcohol with no strings attached. BUT today I am brave enough to say that is not the case and know that God is asking me to leave it be.

It is hard realizing that your value was wrapped up in something so superficial. Yet, its worth sorting out and trusting God that you are enough as you are.

Until next time my friends,

Kara Jess

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