It’s Time To Stop Glorifying Alcoholism

Gina Clingan
6 min readJul 4, 2022
Photo by Roberta Sorge on Unsplash

Most of my life, I never touched cigarettes or drugs, and alcohol never appealed to me. When I was 22, I entered a toxic friendship with a girl who had a bad relationship with alcohol. At the time, I just really enjoyed her company, and started drinking socially when we were together. Unfortunately, it got to the point where we couldn’t hang out without getting absolutely drunk, which usually happened every weekend. Things quickly progressed, and before I knew it, I was getting drunk on weeknights by myself in between our hangout sessions.

Thankfully, our friendship crashed and burned within the following year, and with her absence, my alcohol consumption dramatically decreased. I didn’t realize the negative influence that our friendship was having on me until after she was gone. I remember hanging out with someone new and we had gone to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients for dinner. I absentmindedly headed toward the alcohol aisle and asked my new friend what kind she wanted. She politely said, “Oh, I don’t want any. You’re welcome to drink tonight if you want to, but that’s not really my thing.”

I was taken aback by the tone of surprise in her answer, as if my question had genuinely caught her off guard. Drinking hadn’t even crossed her mind, and it made me realize that my previous toxic friendship had conditioned me to feel like hanging out with someone while sober wasn’t an option. The part that bothered me the most was the realization that I didn’t even really want to drink that night with my new friend, I just naturally gravitated toward the alcohol aisle because I had done it so many times with previous company. I felt like consuming alcohol in the company of friends had become the norm. I was slightly embarrassed to realize that reaching for some alcohol while at the grocery store with a friend had become my standard behavior, but I was mostly thankful for her disinterest, presenting me with the opportunity to walk away from it. So, I did.

Over the following few years, I would drink on occasion, averaging maybe two or three times annually. While my drinking habits were no longer constant, the regret I felt the day after each drinking session was. I got tired of cleaning up the messes I made while under the influence. I didn’t like the way I talked to people or the damage I would…

Gina Clingan

Instagram: @gina_clingan Some of my other writings can be found on thoughtcatalog