It’s interesting that after weeks or months of living alcohol free, the commitment that people put in to stop drinking, starts to fade. The negatives of alcohol are easily forgotten when you start to feel better, mentally and physically. When the inevitable boredom or stress of life begins to arise after a stint of sobriety, cravings for something that might make you feel better, seem to start popping up out of no where.
Cravings come and go. During my first year of living alcohol free, I taught myself to recreate the feelings that alcohol gave me, work through them and actually feel what the after effects would be. I have plenty of memories to tune into, and I never want to have the after affects… ever again.
For the first buzz alcohol gave me, I had to remind myself that what came after the initial buzz wasn’t worth it, that I didn’t want it anymore. The price I paid for that first buzz was anxiety, feeling under par, bad looks, health scares. The stress that came with knowing that my drinking was negatively affecting my life and that of those around me
During my first year of living alcohol free, I began to view my cravings with skepticism. I allowed a healthy fear of alcohol to grow so I was able to squash cravings when they appeared. I told myself that to participate in a glass or two would not be worth it for me. The longer I went alcohol free, the more I wanted my life to stay that way, for good. I wanted my life to be different to what it had been. I never wanted to go back to before.
I knew that I couldn’t trust a craving once I had stopped drinking. To trust a craving meant that I had forgotten what alcohol did to me. When I was drinking, I believed that I had a choice, I believed that I had to drink and I knew why I was drinking. I can’t go back there. I had abstained from alcohol for short periods before, then chosen to drink again and ended up slowly back to where I’d started. This time, it was necessary to use these lessons, not see these “Stop Start” periods as negative periods anymore, but use them to teach me to stop this incessant cycle.
The cravings for alcohol are rare now that I have years of sobriety under my belt. I’ve come to realize that they aren’t cravings anymore, they’re just triggers that happen due to life; a wish to melt away. The cravings remind me that I used to drink alcohol at certain times, in certain situations. I’ve since learnt to live happily without alcohol and without cravings for alcohol because I’ve changed the alcohol habit to other healthier habits. When I want to drink something nice, I now will have a cup of tea, sparkling water or ginger beer. When I need a ‘buzz’, I listen to music. I dance around the house. I put my headphones on and listen. I play music in the car, I dance a lot at events. This is my buzz, but it is important to find your own buzz.
For those of you who are still going through this “Stop Start” cycle please don’t be despondent. You are learning in the periods when you stop drinking what life feels like without alcohol. Maybe like me it is during one of these “Stop” periods you may find you Stop and never start again – if that is what you decide you want your life to be like. Some of you may be able to teach yourselves to moderate. I can’t, and I’m okay with that.
This post was written by Zoo. You’ll find more of her writing on Boozemusings here :
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B Be accountable Talk to Us We Understand
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