[My last day 1- 7:38am on Monday, November 15th, 2021: Shaking of fear, heart throbbing, I dumped the remaining 2/3 of my 1.5L bottle of Folonari Suave white wine down the kitchen sink. And filmed it. Yep, I did. I had to own this.]
Today I celebrate 4 months Alcohol-Free
Gosh oh gosh, where did I find it in me to get this far?!…
Motivation? Willpower? Refusing to look in the rear-view mirror [unless it was to learn from past mistakes]? Keeping the promise I made to myself from Day1? Sticking to “AF ZeroNegotiation”? Learning to ignore and shut-up Mrs. Wine Witch (what a chore!!!)?… I found it in all of this, and some.
I work in the nature-retreat, hospitality business up North. November is “quiet time” in my world between the crazy summer and snowmobiling season. Before going alcohol-free this past November, I was already burnt out from many years of just gogogo, project after project after project. I can honestly say I was somewhat in total denial that I was burning out, because, you know, “I am like Superwoman” right?
It was time to let go mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually… I WANTED THIS SO BAD.
I recall those days, those years when I used to drink. I couldn’t imagine even thinking about going a day or two without wine: No Way! Anxiety through the roof… Wine was on the top of my list, #1, regardless of what I did (yes, I even poured wine in a soda water can during work, many, many times…). Forgetting my toothbrush was nothing in comparison to forgetting wine or running out!
Calculating how many bottles of wine I needed to get through the “next few days”, plus one extra, as back-up. Knowing the types of wines, how to read the wine bottle labels etc. The employees in the liquor store one hour away from where I live know me very well!!! Always greeted with “Oh hello! How are you today?!” “Check-out this new Vintage Wine we just got in!” Even the village convenience store always had a box of 6- 1.5L wine bottles for me stashed in the back room… they’d even remind me “you got a box of wine in the back, eh”.
They must be wondering if I fell off the face of the planet or something!
I feel as though I have “re-vamped my life” these past 4 months.
How Have I stayed alcohol-free these Past 4 Months?
When that Wine Witch comes whispering, I tell her to F-Off, and imagine kicking her off her damn broom… then burning her broom (funny, I know- but it helps!!). The more you fight that urge, the stronger you will become in time. It is worth it and you can do this. I always tell myself “One Thing At A Time”. And you know what? The biggest thing of all: I WANT this sober life, so I am gonna have it, and fight anything that comes in my way.
For me the key has been to keep busy, concentrate on myself and listen to my body. I promised myself I would be kind, gentle and patient, and I replaced wine with whatever it took: I ALWAYS have a beverage (tea, coffee, water, juice) and snacks (fruits, crackers, chocolates, nuts…) at hand, and I mean ALWAYS!! What also has helped was writing in my journal, watching TV, researching alcohol’s effects on my body, going for walks, taking a bath or shower when the cravings hit, eating snacks, coming here on BOOM to talk with the community, and setting small attainable goals.
In the beginning, my body and brain were infuriated with me for cutting out the wine. Both totally rebelled because they were not getting their daily fix.
Here is how it felt to go alcohol-free in the beginning :
Alcohol-Free Week 1-2 – My mantra: AF ZeroNegotiation (Wine Witch Hates this!… Bonus!)
My first two weeks alcohol-free were so-so. I didn’t sleep well. I had nightmares and itchy skin. I was unmotivated, felt outside my body, had brain fog, major headaches, heart palpitations, sore abdomen (my liver was hurting!), and full body aches. The raw, sour guilt and shame that I felt towards myself just sat there and ruminated inside me.
Why did I let myself get to THIS point?
What have I done?
“Wine had me blissfully blindfolded behind bars, but the bars were invincible. My Wine Witch also had a magic wand, a very powerful one, with ropes attached to it. I was her exemplary, faithful marionette… until I decided to wake-up, break-free, interrupt and take away her magic wand. I now feel like a fragile bird, freed from its cage, learning to fly for the first time.”
Alcohol-Free Week 3 -5 – A wise woman once said – Sober and hating life is so much better than drunk and hating life.
Weeks 3-5 were nothing but pounding headaches, even if I didn’t do much besides keep well-hydrated, constantly eat something nutritious, watch movies, read quick lit books, journal, cry, let my frustration out, and rest. I felt depressed, I was miserable, questioned what in the world I was doing, fought a lot with the Wine Witch, cried many times, nothing seemed happy in my eyes. I was numb, I felt empty, yet so heavy. I almost felt dead inside and out. I visited my family Dr. to inform him of my sobriety, my drinking history, and my current state of well-being. Got blood work and abdominal ultrasound completed, which the results were thankfully normal.
Then week 5, Christmas came along. Headaches were getting a bit better, until I cough a nasty cold (which lasted +/-6 weeks…) what a bummer!
One good thing of having a cold: it was my excuse for not drinking during the Holidays. (Being sick used to NEVER stop me from drinking wine, oh no: “the alcohol will kill my cold!”) It was still tough to be surrounded by alcohol, especially those 2 white bottles of wine (gifts for being the host) clinging in the door fridge!! Family stayed at our place for a full week. I must admit, having company was a bit of a distraction, and encouraged me to be in a better mood, yet this was exhausting.
I pulled-through Christmas, and stayed on course, regardless of those difficult moments when I thought for sure I was going to cave and have “just one, screw it, lets celebrate”. I was usually the one popping open those bottles of wine mid-day during Christmas and making sure everyone had “a drink in hand”.
Not this time.
My mantra: One day at a time, AF ZeroNegotiation
There were MANY triggers to drink during Christmas: sitting at a nice fire outside, cooking beautiful suppers, opening gifts on Christmas morning, mid-afternoon sliding, watching a movie, having a nightcap… you name it, it was a trigger. I did plenty of constant self-talk, found some alone quiet time, cried a few times in the shower to let it out, kept hydrated and had snacks nearby- whatever it took, I did it for ME. Plus, I remember Christmas!
I attribute the length of my cold to the fact that my body was exhausted, and still in “detox” mode. My mind and body were trying to re-calibrate themselves to their new environment “forced upon them”, and then a foreign player (my cold) unexpectedly showed-up into the game and added a whole new twist. As much as, in a sense, I felt “cheated” by the addition of a cold- which gave me horrendous headaches because of my blocked sinuses and constant coughing- I was forced to especially take care of myself and concentrate on my immediate needs.
Alcohol-Free Week 6-10 – Finding my Tribe makes all the Difference
Weeks 6-10 basically felt like a duplicate of weeks 3-5… with a cold. Same ups and downs, conquering that Wine Witch, trying to stay on track, concentrating on me. I felt like I was sinking deeper, losing hope at times… and then, I discovered the BOOM Community. I hadn’t done any type of meetings or therapy in these first 2 months alcohol-free. I signed-up online to BOOM and a light went on: “Maybe there is someone out there that would totally ‘get’ me…”.
It took me a few tries and deletes before I “broke the ice” and sent a message. I am beyond grateful to have found this indispensable Community, filled with beautiful individuals with gentle, open and such giving hearts!
Suddenly things became considerably better. My cold disappeared which was like a fog lifted from my head. My headaches became few and far in between. With friendly supportive voices in my head my Wine Witch’s nagging voice slowly became a whisper.
In this 3rd month alcohol-free my sleep became more consistent, my mood more stable and I started to experience happiness again,
Moving into Month 4 alcohol-free – It’s not an easy journey but it is Worth it!
Believe in yourself, stay the course, wherever you are in your journey.
Numerous individuals are walking AF with you, on the same path.
Hold my hand and be AF ZeroNegotiation 🔒✨❤ with me Today.
I woke-up feeling rejuvenated, Like the old me has evaporated.
Still the newly found me, Is there trying to break-free.
Some periods are heavy, Let me see the genuine me.
Marble in my throat aching, My tears are accumulating.
A quick cheek wipe, I will surely be alright.
Sit; Feel; Breathe; Let it be. Stay the course, you’ll be set free.
Newly discovered emotions, Seem like magical creations.
My chest does feels lighter, I am a sober warrior.
I have this toolbox, That is powerful like an ox.
My perspective is clearer, My thoughts are wiser.
Those sober spectacles, Help with life’s obstacles.
My guards will stay up, To help me rise-up.
Sober life feels quite fine, Above all, it’s all MINE.
I will keep going, And continue persevering.
Because today is month four, A pretty good score!
When you decide that it’s time to go alcohol-free it is easy to hope that there will be a quick fix to the problem. Just stop drinking and stay sober right? Stopping drinking for me has not been about simply stopping one activity or changing one habit. These first 4 months alcohol-free mark the beginning of a new journey for me. One which today, I choose to stay the course, even though I’ve had to learn to ride out a few storms. I accept that some days will be easier than others, I accept that life will happen, I accept that there are things out of my control, and I also accept that some things are in my total control.
Now that I’m 4 months alcohol-free I am more comfortable and prepared in coping with urges and triggers: the tools in my sober toolbox have multiplied immensely since Day1. I’ve added simple things like vitamin C and liquid Vitamin B complex to my daily routine. But most importantly I’ve added Community! A community that understands that “voice” in my head, those urges or triggers… we can relate to one another, and thus help each other out some way or another ❤ If there were “quick fixes”, communities like this would not exist!
I choose to continue to learn, I choose to take it one thing at a time, I choose health and happiness, I choose life: I CHOOSE ME, I CHOOSE CHANGE.
READ MORE SOBER MILESTONE POSTS HERE
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We are an independent, anonymous and private community who share resources, support and talk it through every day. It helps to have a community behind you in a world where alcohol is the only addictive drug that people will question you for NOT using