Every April the National Council for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) sponsors Alcohol Awareness Month to increase awareness and understanding of the causes and treatment of the United State’s #1 public health problem: alcohol-related death, disease, and dependence. The statistics are bleak. In the United States, alcohol-related deaths have doubled in the last 20 years with the largest increases in consumption among women 50 and over. Experts are warning of a potential public health crisis fueled by binge-drinking millennials as well. In 2019, about 32% of female high school students consumed alcohol compared with 26% of male high school students. Alcohol cuts brilliant lives short and ensures that others are only half lived. If you are opening that bottle at the end of the day for comfort and are finding that it is becoming more punishment than pleasure, the value is no longer worth the expense. Come hang out with us in April and Rethink the Drink. Why not take this opportunity, Alcohol Awareness Month, to celebrate living alcohol-free?
“Isn’t it amazing what we will do at our own expense? I’ve decided that even if I have to wear something with a stretch waistband for the rest of my life, I’m not going to demean myself by wearing clothes that Hurt ME… No more bad pants! One of the ways we PUNISH ourselves for not being more or better or thinner or stronger is by trying to squeeze ourselves—force ourselves, even—into all kinds of ill-fitting relationships with other people, with ourselves, with our pants.”
Or squeezing the last drop out of a bottle.
For Alcohol Awareness in April, this Boozemusings blog post is —
Sponsored by: the letter “A.” Join us for an Alcohol-Free April and we will get rid of the …
Bad “A’s” – alcohol, abuse, addiction, attitude (bad one), afraid, animosity, anger, arrogance, anxiety, awkward and more.
Replace the bad a’s with the good a’s by mixing in with the BOOM Community! We are having a different conversation than the one you may be used to.
Acceptance begins when you dump the Denial. Letting go of Denial – Stop Drinking and Stay Sober on Your Terms
How long did I struggle with my dependence on alcohol? How long did I endure bad relationships, even from my own family? How long did I drink through my husband’s illness and death? How many cups of “good coffee?” How many times did I try to force myself and others to change? How many times did I think I could control the inevitable? How many times did I squeeze into bad pants? I can’t count how many times.
Then I truly accepted myself. Not all at once. First, I accepted my dependence on alcohol. Took me a few times. Learned something every time. Still practice acceptance every day. For me, the Serenity Prayer is my go-to mantra when I feel out of control, panicked, anxious or struggling to not drink. Am I struggling to fit in? Or a place where I fit? I fit in BOOM. The pants? Still working on this.
I love the whole prayer because further into it says, “so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy in the next.” There will always be people, places and things that I cannot change. Always. I get the gift of changing myself. Reasonably happy.
However, here’s what I receive when I accept what I cannot change:
The first few weeks and months were filled with up and down emotions and grit to hang on and hang in. But slowly I stopped obsessing over alcohol; gratefulness entered and companionship with camaraderie (BOOM for one) entered. I am not alone. I felt so alone after my husband’s death. Isolated. But eventually peace entered. Joy. Excitement for a new day. Risk-taking. Vulnerability. The realization that I have something to give that makes this world a bit better. No more self-centeredness (most of the time}. Blame is put out to pasture. Responsibility for me. Not someone else. (Not children, of course).
No more fatalistic thoughts banging around in my head. No more shoulda, coulda woulda! I did the best I could at the time. No more space in my head for negativity or negative people. Attitude is a choice. If someone is hurtful, things not going my way, I put it down, turn the channel or walk away. Freeing! No drama! Living in love and not fear.
It is never to be earned and love is never earned. If I catch myself earning approval or love, I stop. Am I acting in a way I respect? Am I eating right? Comforting/encouraging another? Do I allow myself to cry if I need? Take a break? Encourage myself in my sobriety journey? Keep track of my successes? Treat myself as a dear friend? Embrace what I have? Then I approve of myself.
I’m learning: “if I say yes to this, what am I saying no to?” When the void or boredom sets in and it will, do I do the next right thing in love? It may be making dinner, folding laundry, petting my dog. Listening, really listening to another. These are things I approve of. This keeps me from desperately searching for approval from others or the bottle. Both destroy. Both have horrible withdrawal symptoms.
No one has ever, ever been shamed into positive change. I’m living proof. And I am living and thriving. No more squeezing into bad pants!
At all the stories, victories and loving support on BOOM, including my own newly sobrer story. I own it. Amazement at a Snow Moon, walk, faith, prayer and another day is filling the void. May sound corny, but it’s true. I’m amazed!
I was a drunk, isolated widow slowly committing suicide because I didn’t want to live. Purpose and hope gone. It can change. I accepted and surrendered to God all of this, like the bedraggled, broke and possibly addicted Prodigal Son coming home to his father. The father raced to his son from far away and embraced his son with tears of joy. This was in front of the hypocritical religious. That was me. No judgment. No punishment. There is no punishment in true love. Those that have overcome an addiction many times are more spiritual than religious.
I replaced harmful parents with my new father. New friends. I can now forgive my parents. They did the best they could. My siblings. They did the best they could. Forgiveness does not mean I do a happy dance and force myself to be with them again. It does not mean approval. It means acceptance. Free to be me. Free for them to be them. If it gets difficult, and it will, I walk away, hang up the phone, turn to my Higher Power, Boom or supportive friend.
This is my sixth month of sobriety. I am amazed!
Sharing our experiences, encouragement and hope. We can’t do it alone.
Together we grow and pay it forward.
Will you walk with me sober today? Hold my hand? Wear pants that fit?
Alcohol Free April for Alcohol Awareness Month
More by this author : I Know There’s a Pony in Here Somewhere! Sober Survival Skills
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