Wait, So You Mean You Don’t Drink Any Alcohol, Ever?

Megan Schumacher
8 min readJan 4, 2023
Photo by Julia Zolotova on Unsplash

I’ve become a keen observer of my sadness. This distinct feeling of melancholy is old. With familiar stories involving my various errors and defects. But I’m no longer inside of this, consumed. I am watching, almost as if from above, seeing the pattern. Knowing that it passes. It’s all ancient. Different stories with the same root experience. Explanations I came up with when I was young, not yet able to grasp the bigger picture.

This sadness I speak of, it isn’t necessarily a scary or bad feeling. I’m fairly comfortable here. Its even rather cozy. I can exist inside the depth without getting lost. But when I don’t take care of myself, when I drink alcohol for example, it can snowball into the quickest of regressions, leaving me with a pronounced victimhood and rage at the many ways I’ve been done wrong. A deep haunting that my existence is lacking. A jarring and inescapable reverb of hollow loneliness.

So, yeah, I stopped drinking over a year ago. I had quit once before in my mid twenties, after many stories of very bad things happening, attributed to or exacerbated by my drinking. Being sober as a single twenty-something was frowned upon by a lot of people. In my forties, it’s a whole different game. No one really cares that I don’t drink. Many think it’s admirable and have cut back or quit, themselves. People assume I’m just taking care of my health. Staying fully present for the various challenges in my life. Only the occasional person think it’s worthy of discussion, but they tend to be those that prioritize alcohol as part of their identity. Like I did.

Over the course of that final year I was committed to alcohol, I could sense that change was likely coming for me. It seemed that everywhere I turned, I was hearing stories about authors, thought leaders, activists, artists I admired who had had to quit to save themselves. Several of my friends had already given it up or rarely drank anymore. Rather than coincidence, I saw it all as a sign that I probably should take heed of.

It brewed for a while because I wasn’t ready to give up the hope that I could be this mystical normal person I kept trying to force myself to show up as. I wanted so badly to hold onto this idea of “normality.” As I saw it, social drinking was a huge part of this identity. Being a…

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Megan Schumacher

Toddler mama. Born again creative. Former people pleaser. Working out the fumbles of life on the page.