“Dear Alcohol, I’m Breaking Up With You”
I have some difficult news. Deep breaths. Here it is:
I’m breaking up with you.
We’ve had plenty of good times together — believe me. You were there for me in my 20s when I wanted you. You helped me through all those (let’s be honest, completely asinine) college parties and the awkward holiday ritual of visiting thirty relatives in two days. You were there for me when the only weed I could have gotten my hands on was shoddy, or when I would have had to make “friends” with a dude in a Baja hoodie in order to get good stuff. It’s true that you and I seemed like a good couple in those times.
Back in the day, I enjoyed my time with you while writing or doing creative work. I used to think you helped me express myself better in conversations, and that you suppressed my internal sensors to good end. But now I realize that I didn’t sound smarter or more well-read at those times, just drunk. Internal sensors — it turns out — are there for a reason.
Alcohol, I’m sorry I must tell you like this, but I’ve found someone else. Someone who meets my needs as a grown woman. My new someone goes by many names, and their attractiveness transcends gender and singular pronouns: weed, marijuana, pot, cannabis.
On New Year’s Eve, I told you I was just going to chill at home. But I actually went to a party with cannabis. I hate to tell you this, alcohol, but I didn’t miss you at all.
Cannabis is just more sophisticated, more varied, and frankly more interesting, than you are. They (like I said, cannabis transcends gender and singular pronouns) give me options and flexibility. I can microdose for a calm, focused feel. I can soothe my nerves and sleep well with the right strain, like 14 percent of Americans do. Or I can get energized for hanging out with friends, for exercising, or for deep-cleaning the fridge when the need arises. Plus, in San Diego, I can now find cannabis whenever I want — legally, and with ease. Cannabis will come to my doorstep 24⁄7 if I ask.
I particularly enjoy long walks with cannabis. Traversing the urban canyons that dot my neighborhood, I revel in the scents of sage and juniper and fathom my place under the Southern California blue skies. I like to let my thoughts meander down any course they care to, and this has led to the kind of insights that I’ve never had with you. I feel so much more stimulated with cannabis.
Speaking of stimulation, we have to talk about sex. I don’t want to embarrass you, but, sex with cannabis is better. I feel more in tune with my senses and my sensuality. My orgasms rock. I’m sorry, alcohol, that’s just the way it is.
And before you ask — no, alcohol, I’m not asking for an open relationship. The thing is that, aside from liking weed better, I have some legit issues with your behavior. For instance, after we spend the night together — even when we have fun — I feel like death warmed over the next day. Lately, alcohol, even when I partake in you very sparingly, it doesn’t feel good. I wish I could say differently, but my body doesn’t lie. With cannabis, I feel great the day of and the next one.
Aside from my own experience, I did a little digging about you online and found some disturbing things. According to a recent study, British people spend on average two years of their lives hungover. Two years! While those stats might vary by country, I’d guess that many students at my notoriously heavy-drinking New England college spent at least half of their undergraduate life in that state.
Everyone knows your hangover symptoms: fatigue, nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, inability to concentrate, and mood instability, among others. They’re no picnic. Apparently, there’s even a group dedicated to disseminating Best Practices in Alcohol Hangover Research and a doctor in Las Vegas whose practice is built around providing a $160 medical hangover cure. I mean, damn.
Of course, I did some sleuthing on cannabis, too. These days, you have to do your research. SUNY professor Dr. Mitch Earleywine, author of Understanding Marijuana told me, “If a cannabis hangover exists at all, it is extremely mild. Although enormous doses administered orally might leave a lingering intoxication effect in the morning, once THC levels in the blood drop below approximately five nanograms per milliliter, even the most inexperienced users would likely feel nothing.”
This recent study from the University of Colorado found that, over long-term use, you’re more damaging to the brain than cannabis. You are associated with lower levels of gray matter and white matter in the brain — two measures on which cannabis had no effect. It’s well known that heavy drinking can lead to cognitive issues like memory problems and dementia, but another recent study in the British Medical Journal found that even moderate drinking over the long term can cause hippocampal atrophy and reduced lexical fluency.
Also, I have to be honest: I don’t really like your friends. I mean, some of them are fine. But others are obnoxious and rude. They don’t have good boundaries. They tend to pee where they shouldn’t, and sometimes puke. Some of them have even tried to feel me up when they’ve been hanging out with you, and that’s not cool. Cannabis’ friends don’t do that.
And another thing: I have spent way too much money on you. A night out in your company can cost anywhere from $30 on the cheap side, to $100 or more. With my friend cannabis, I can chill all night on a gummy or two, which costs me only a few dollars. A pre-filled vape lasts a month. I’m not kidding. Just think about what I could do with all that money saved. Like take a vacation. (With cannabis!)
Truthfully, I deserve better. I’m a working parent with many interests who’s also trying to maintain a modicum of a social life (like I said, a grown woman). Alcohol, I held onto you for far too long. I hope you understand. If I see you at a party now I’ll say hey, but don’t expect me to change my mind.