It's acceptable to grieve the loss of a family member, friend or pet, when they pass away or leave your life through divorce or geography - and as a community we support you in your loss. But there is also grief when you say good-bye to your metaphorical best friend - alcohol.
Many people, women in particular, will describe their relationship with alcohol as a friendship. They might even go so far as to say "wine is my best friend" and discuss the many ways it can be counted on to help relieve stress, take the edge off and replace a missing sense of connection. This is why many of us feel a deep sense of loss, a type of grief, when we realize it is time to stop drinking. We realize the damage far outweighs the perceived benefits and it is time for the relationship to end, yet there is a still a deep sadness in letting go.
In the book Quantum Change, by William R Miller, a study subject describes the difference between giving up smoking and giving up drinking....
"That was a change too, but it wasn't a growth change as much as this was. How do I describe the difference? What I've gone through to me is growth. With the tobacco, I simply broke a bad habit. For me, alcohol was wasn't a habit. It was a feature of me. Now, there's the difference, right there. The nicotine was a habit, and addiction. The alcohol was a feature of my being. I had to reconfigure myself, or something helped me reconfigure myself."
Giving up smoking is certainly difficult, but most people recognize it as something separate from themselves - a bad habit that can kill you, thus needs to be trashed. Drinking, on the other hand is so culturally ingrained, it starts to feel like something you were born with. After all, it was there for you in good times and bad, and continues to surround you in almost every major area of your life... work events, celebrations, restaurants, religious ceremonies... grocery store isles... movies, social media.... it's everywhere.
Alas, when you decide to let it go - because you know - your relationship is over, you must learn to live your life without alcohol, yet be surrounded by it daily. On the one hand it is difficult to have this constant reminder of a relationship gone south, but it is also a good thing, to be forced to properly grieve your loss. You must go through all the thoughts, emotions and phases of grief - to come out the other side healed.
It does seem a little sad to lose your best friend, I mean heck, a best friend is a valuable asset to have in life! Which, is why it is so incredibly wonderful evolve toward becoming available for genuine, authentic friendships with real people. My advice is to have gratitude for everything your relationship with alcohol was able to do for you in the past - and then let it go.
The next exciting and amazing chapter in your book is ready to be written. Perhaps it will include a new best friend!
PICTURE: WOW, they actually named this wine... my best friend....