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The 3rd weekend

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

I wonder if this is easier for me to do because we're still in lockdown? Pubs are shut, we can't meet up with friends, I've not been in the usual social drinking situations, it's just me, my wife, some booze, some soft drinks, and me. I know I said me twice - the second me is much harder to deal with than the first one. The first me is factually present, like a tick on the register, I am one of the people here in the house. The second me is an internal me, who is managing a life changing decision to stop one of my most formative and self-identifying habits.

I'm struggling with how to tell people, friends and family, so no-one feelings awkward or uncomfortable around me while they are drinking. Now that I write that down I'm not even sure it's possible.

I've been communicating with an old friend this weekend. He has in the last few months changed his whole outlook on eating meat and the meat industry, and is now an 'ethical vegan'. He's been on social media most of the weekend communicating with passion and emphasis about his new way of looking at the world. I have interpreted some of his posts as stating that anyone still using animal products is either ignorant, experiencing huge brainwashing leading to cognitive dissonance, or has no empathy. I don't count myself in any of these categories, and have felt insulted as a result. Obviously the communications between us have not gone well, including on Facebook where he denied making those statements. This annoyed me a lot, and I have spent some of my time sending screenshots of his words to him. I'm not proud, it felt petty doing it - I've been truly hooked in to it.

This has got me thinking about what I say and don't say to people, and how I phrase my journey, to try and not seem as though I want everyone to do what I'm doing. It's difficult once we are on the 'other side' of a life changing revelation or insight, not to want other people to see what we see, how we see it, and assume that they would naturally do the same thing. But, having just been on the receiving end of that way of thinking, I'm reluctant to tell anyone!

How, then, does anyone who drinks not feel got at, or attacked, when I explain? I'm happy to no longer be poisoning myself, no longer brainwashed into believing that the way alcohol changes my brain function is enjoyable, and the relief I feel to be free of pretending I'm controlling it. Is it ever possible to say those things to anyone who drinks, without them feeling defensive?

If you've got any helpful insight please share! I really don't want to get into a row with anyone about this. It's bad enough feeling it coming from a really close friend about something else!

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