Two years ago I stopped drinking. Came out as sober if you will.
I don’t have a Leaving Las Vegas type of story to go along with my ‘why’ and I guess that’s a good thing considering the lead character dies at the end of that movie.
Nothing wildly profound or sexy or dramatic about the why, in fact my why is fairly typical, boring if you will. I just knew I had to stop drinking.
And now after two years of swimming in the sea of sobriety, after taking the time to defog my goggles so my vision is clear, I can confidently say that, Humanity, we have a mother fu**** problem. The we being our entire culture and our obsession with alcohol.
For the record I have no emotional reaction about other people’s alcohol consumption or lack thereof. However it seems that society as a whole certainly cares if people drink or not. It’s big, like really big business so I get it from an economics standpoint. And let’s be honest our society has always put profits above people so it’s not surprising that the booze industry tows that same line.
The message is that booze is our friend, our anchor in the storm, our liquid courage, our ignitor of the grill of difficult conversations, our reward after completing a fitness class, a big project, and of course our personal assistant when it comes to parenting. The message has been sent and it’s very loud and very clear that there is almost no way you can effectively parent if you don’t have alcohol to guide you and make it ALL better.
I came out as a big ole lesbian over 25 years ago and I can tell you that coming out as gay, at least for me, was infinitely easier and more accepted than coming out as sober. I was largely met with acceptance to the news of my queerness but I was often met with skepticism when I came out as sober. Let me share a few of the key messages that were sent loud and clear to the news of my living out of the closet in a sober state.
Coming out as queer I NEVER heard, “are you sure, you don’t look gay. I mean, you know, like a softball player.” (Insert major eye roll on my part.)
Coming out as sober I almost always heard something like, “Are you sure? I mean you don’t behave like Sandy Bullock in 28 Days so I’m not sure if you really have a problem.” I do understand it’s hard for people to wrap their heads around the fact that someone might choose sobriety even if they are able to imbibe with discretion. That not everyone who chooses sobriety is driving their car through a store front or vomiting in their front yard and then crawling to the bathroom where they remain for a solid two days because they can’t stop puking.
Coming out as queer I NEVER heard, “hmmmmm..well maybe you need to just cut down on the penis. You know only have it on the weekends, and then abstain Monday-Thursday. That should help.” *I still wish someone would have said this to me because I have no less than 42,000 responses and at least 41,000 are hilarious! *
Coming out as sober I almost always heard, “oh really? Are you sure? I think you just need to cut down a bit, maybe only drink during the weekend and then nothing during the week. OR you could just go 30 days of no booze and then I think you would be fine.”
There are more examples but I think you get the point. And the reason that people do this isn’t because they are insensitive or mean or anything negative at all. I believe people respond this way because alcohol has been successfully woven into the fabric of everything we do, every experience we have, from joyful moments to ones wrapped in utter despair, booze has a seat at the table. Sports, graduations, job losses and promotions, divorce, death, parenting…
Collectively, we honestly don’t know what to do or how to react when someone sits down at the table and says, no thank you to alcohol.
About Debbie Scheer
Debbie Scheer is a humorist speaker in Denver and she is also an event emcee in Denver as well as across the country. She is also a professional speaker, humorist, emcee, and auctioneer whose mix of heart and humor brings inviting energy to every event she hosts. Her magnetic presence draws in audiences and makes a room come alive with purpose, connection, and laughter. If you are interested in hiring Debbie, please contact her today!