How to be a better friend? Stop drinking. An Open Letter.

stop drinking, be a better friend

 Drinking made me a shit friend, hopefully I’m a better friend now I’ve chosen to stop drinking.

But friendship is different these days. Gone are the boozy birthdays and prosecco fuelled lunches. I don’t do late nights, I probably won’t come to your celebration if it involves going to a club and I’ve swapped hangovers for yoga, coffee and a lot of brunch.

Choosing to stop drinking isn’t a quick fix in friendship (and if you’re looking to stop drinking check out these posts: 5 alcohol free resources and 5 Tips to Make the Most of Life Alcohol Free). I can still be self-absorbed, but now it’s in an introverted self-conscious way – as opposed to an it’s all about me “look at me, look at me, look at me I’m drunk” way and both have the ability to make me a shit friend.

Inspired by Ellen Scott’s piece on the Metro this week, I’m sorry for all the times my anxiety and depression made me rubbish at texting you back, I’ve written my own letter.

An “I’m sorry for all the times my drinking made me a shit friend, and I’m sorry for all the times my not drinking will make me a shit friend” letter.

It is an I am genuinely sorry for it all version and I hope in time my not drinking will help me get better at this friendship thing. I am working on it.

This was cathartic to write, and frightening in equal measure. I didn’t plan to share it. But I’m not pretending any more, and as I keep encouraging those around me to stop pretending I am taking my own advice. My life isn’t all sunshine and yoga classes and pink tops.

Facing the impact that drinking has had on my behaviour – even if it sounds trivial to some that may read this – has been a lesson in why I need to stick to this not drinking thing.

Hey friends, old boyfriends, and family members whose nights I have ruined, whose invitations I’ve ignored, and whose parties I’ve cancelled on last minute.

I don’t hate you, I promise. I’m not deliberately trying to gently ease my way out of our relationship. You haven’t pissed me off, you haven’t said the wrong thing. I was drunk and now I’m not drunk. Both affect my ability to be a good friends at times.

I was drinking too much, and now I’m not drinking. And both of these things – though polar opposites – isolate me, consume me and affect my behaviour towards the people I care about an awful lot.

I’m sorry for all the times my drinking made me a rubbish friend.

I’m sorry for all the times you carried me home.

I’m sorry for the times I cancelled on you because I was too hungover from the night before.

I’m sorry for approaching that guy you liked and not remembering the next day.

I’m sorry I never knew when to stop.

I’m sorry for ignoring all the advice you would so lovingly give.

I’m sorry that I drowned that advice in wine.

I’m sorry that I didn’t remember the things I said the night before and therefore my apology the next day when you reminded me seemed insincere.

I’m sorry for all those times I bailed last minute because I couldn’t face being confronted with a drunken mistake from the time before.

I’m sorry I still bail now.

I’m sorry for all the times my drinking made me a rubbish friend &

I’m sorry for all the times my not drinking makes me a rubbish friend too.

I’m sorry for the social engagements I avoid because I can’t face another night drinking diet coke.

I’m sorry for the birthdays, engagement parties and other important life celebrations I miss because the pull of champagne feels overwhelming.

I’m sorry that sometimes I’m not there for you when you want to talk. I’m sorry that I withdraw away from you and into myself at times when you need me most.

I hope that you’ll forgive me. I hope that in time you’ll see that as the drinking took me away from myself, the not drinking is bringing me closer and both are equally frightening and at times all consuming.

I’m sorry for all the times my not drinking makes me a rubbish friend.

I am trying to be there for you. And to be there for me.

I’d love to hear about your relationships, if there are any actions you have taken to be a better friend.  Booze or no booze. Chat to me on instagram, email me or comment below.

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