I had trouble quitting alcohol the first few tries. I wouldn’t or couldn’t stay sober very long. It was too easy to just give in when I had a craving. But this time around, I was determined to make it work. I decided to CHOOSE sobriety.
A Letter to my Drinking Self 13 months ago
You are stronger than you know. Yes. Really you are. You just need to want sobriety bad enough. And right now you don’t.
And you also do. You just won’t. You won’t look at how it’s damaging you. You won’t believe that people around you can tell. They can smell it. They see it in your behavior. They talk about you. Because they care for you. They want you to be well and happy.
But you won’t care about any of that right now. You just keep drinking because it makes you feel good. At least the first drink does. The second, third, fourth, fifth, etc, are just useless attempts at chasing the long-lost buzz from the first drink. You know that too. But you don’t want to believe it.
So you keep chasing it, that buzz. Even the first drink isn’t doing much for you lately. But you won’t look at that either. You know it’s a big problem and you are concerned. And that doesn’t feel good at all. It feels terrible to be so frightened that you are shaken by it. A couple of quick shots make that go away. For a short while.
Then it comes back. Worse. So you keep chasing that buzz. You know it’s gone today. You want to sleep so you can wake up and find your buzz tomorrow. Tomorrow it will surely be back.
But tomorrow will be exactly like today. Decide tonight before you sleep that tomorrow will be different. Decide to be strong and healthy and self-loving. Decide to stop drinking. Make this your last. That’s right. You can and will do this.
Treat yourself with loving-kindness. Be humble. Ask for help. People want to help. Really. Just go ask. You will see. It’s so much easier than you think. Just do it. In the morning. Instead of chasing another lame buzz. Good night. I love you. More than you believe right now.
Setting Myself Free
One year ago today I set myself free from alcohol. I can tell you firsthand that having lived alcohol-free for a year has been worth every second of every day. The rewards I now experience because of quitting alcohol and thereby making my life better, significantly outweigh any of the difficulties I experienced getting here. That is not to say it hasn’t been difficult. It has been very difficult at times. I dreamed of drinking, craved a drink, thought fondly of drinking, wished I had never quit, so often I can’t count, but I made it through.
Freeing myself from the debilitating chains of alcohol dependency has been an uphill climb. Still, I believe the rewards are well worth the effort. I put a lot of thought and energy into this journey by reading the quit lit books, and being prepared. I signed up for an intensive outpatient therapy program for a few weeks where I learned a lot of sober tools. After which I joined Boom. It helped me tremendously to be able to connect with friends on Boom and to share our experiences.
Although a year without booze has been rewarding and life-changing, the journey wasn’t always easy, especially with the difficulties I had in the first months.
The climb could be exhausting. Sometimes I felt so weary that I wanted to give up. There were some really dull times when I wanted a drink just to liven things up. There were so many days when I felt defeated and almost ready to let booze win. There were times when the cravings were strong enough to cause me to consider canceling my quit. But I did not. I kept climbing.
I continued to use my sober tools from my sober toolbox and I stayed connected with sober friends. I kept my eyes on the goal, and I continued climbing, toward long term freedom from alcohol. The cravings and all of its little friends did slowly start to go away, or at the very least, become very meek little voices.
Sometimes I still hear a powerless little voice in my head. Its like a drifting thought, or a fleeting emotion.
It silently whispers, “…a drink…”
It’s so weak now, it’s laughable. Almost.
Alcohol-free, I am giving this body of mine a chance to survive better, in a much healthier and more efficient manner. I’m allowing it to operate again, as it was meant to.
Removing alcohol as an option is allowing me more options in this life.
It’s not always great. Making better choices isn’t the same as making easier choices. I’ve had some life-changing decisions to make if I wanted to resume growing and improving my life. I had to make up for lost time. A lot has happened in my life in just a few short months. And it’s been agonizing at times. Like breaking up with the man in my life after 10 years together. Like leaving my job of 25 years. These were painful yet needed changes. “Just because its comfortable doesn’t mean it’s right”.
It was an uphill climb, but “UP” is the direction I choose to take. In addition to difficulties on this climb, there have been rewards.
Continuing to live alcohol free, these are just a few of the rewards I am experiencing or look forward to:
* improved sleep
* increased energy
* healthier heart
* removed alcohol calories
* increased liver health
* reduced chance of stroke
* reduced chance of cancer
* improved hair growth and regrowth
* increased mental clarity
* increased memory function
* increased hydration
* improved skin health
* improved cognitive functions
Those are fantastic rewards, but they were just the start. It gets better. Those physical improvements led to secondary improvements due to a healthier body, brain, and psyche:
* increased self-respect
* healthy stable weight loss
* increased self-confidence
* increased respect from others
* improved relationships
* new friendships
* increased productivity
* less money wasted
* more money earned
* more free time
* improved emotional stability
* more quality time with family and loved ones
* improved ability to tackle problems
Free from alcohol, I am rediscovering myself and in doing so, I’m taking back my power. It’s not magic. It just feels like it sometimes.
I can’t be perfect, no matter how long I’m sober, but I am giving myself a gift: a chance to be the real me so I can continue to grow.
“Change is the only constant in life.
Heraclitus, Greek philosopher
Life continuously changes. It is a law of nature and is unavoidable. It might get better, or it might get worse, but it is going to be different. We cannot stop it, but we can guide these changes to a more positive outcome.
By drowning away my problems in alcohol instead of addressing them, I allowed my life to become stagnant. But the problems didn’t go away. They got worse. I allowed negative changes to occur in my life. That is not going to happen anymore as long as I have a choice.
Because I chose sobriety I am now living my life instead of hiding from it. I am more resilient, I believe in myself again and I am able to embrace change. As difficult as it may be at times, I seem to be handling the changes well so far.
When I was drinking, and alcohol was my fix-it, there was no way I would have been able to handle any of the changes I am making in my life now. Today I’m alcohol-free for one year, and I say, “Bring It On!”
I am alcohol-free today and I’m taking back my life!
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