For many, dealing with mental illness also involves overcoming a substance use disorder. In my case, I have self-medicated for a long time with alcohol, and the situation reached an unsustainable level during the pandemic. Today, I am working on living a healthier lifestyle. My doctor asked me to think about the reasons why I drink, so I wrote the following poem.
I drink because the tension is too high.
I drink because I’m bored.
I drink because I’m thirsty.
I have a headache because I’m dehydrated.
I drink because I like the taste.
I drink and I can’t decipher the taste.
I drink but only after 7pm.
I drink because beer tastes best when the afternoon sun is shining.
I drink before a redeye–or any flight, really–and anytime I stay in a hotel.
I drink on any occasion, special or not, because there’s always something worth celebrating.
I drink because it helps me sleep.
Truth be told, it doesn’t help me sleep.
I drink at upscale restaurants so I can know what the top shelf tastes like.
I drink when there’s free alcohol, even if it tastes like piss.
My medications warn me not to drink.
I drink anyway.
I drink one drink and I’m only having one.
Then I drink the last sip of my fifth drink.
I drink because it goes well with my meal.
I drink because it’s a good substitute for a meal.
I drink because I like the buzz.
I drink and I don’t feel a buzz.
I drink because everyone else is doing it.
Most times, I drink alone.
I drink because it helps me think creatively.
I wrote this poem while sober.