One year ago today, was my last day one. The day I stopped drinking for good. I can’t even tell you how many times I made that promise to stop drinking today and broke it, and I can’t tell you why one year ago, when I made it for what seemed like the millionth time, it finally stuck. But what I can tell you is that that day is when I began to stand up for My Self! That day was when I started to take back control. Control of my life. Control over the alcohol beast.
That first day of AF (alcohol-free) was filled with tremendous challenges and temptations. It was a day by the pool, hanging out with my family and friends. While they were drinking, I remained strong and committed to my goal of not drinking, not this time, not today.
That was my mantra.
My husband was no help. In fact, he was the opposite. He goaded me and got mad when I stuck to my promise not to drink. He even pleaded with me to have a drink with him “like normal”. He was so terribly intoxicated himself, but as angry and hurt as he was making me, I just kept saying NO!
NO! Simply NO to all of the “what-ifs” and the “why me’s” that his goading brought up to the surface.
Have you ever heard that you can’t stop drinking until you get over your denial? Some people say that means you have to call yourself out on your own bullshit. For many years, I refused to see the truths about myself and my drinking and what it was doing to me and my family. Denial for me was the “what ifs” and “why mes.”
What if I could be a “normal drinker”?
What if I could go out to dinner and have just one?
What if I could just drink on special occasions?
What if I just drank on Holidays?
What if I could stick to just weekends?
What if I could stick to just one a day?
Why can’t I drink…what’s wrong with me?…
I dropped the denial and picked up the truth. I know the answers.
There are no, “What ifs” anymore, not for me. I’ve tried the “What ifs”, I’ve been there and done that, so to speak.
I am NOT a “normal drinker”, I have proven that to myself time and time, again.
I can NOT have just one.
These are hard truths. I don’t like it, and it’s not fair! Sometimes, it does suck, but isn’t that life? Sometimes life just sucks, and it’s unfair and I don’t like it!
But I know, for me, a drink isn’t going to make the “sucks” of life any better, only worse.
NO, is the word that saved me on my last day one. While my hubs was goading me at the pool to have “just one”, goading me to to get over my drama, simply using the word NO showed me that I could stand up for what I truly wanted and I DID NOT want to drink. That day, I discovered there was no temptation too great that I couldn’t fight, I truly just had to keep saying NO, and mean it and do whatever it took to stick to it.
I went to bed that night in tears, I was an emotional wreck, I had no idea what tomorrow would bring, but for that day, at least, I had done it, I had beaten the beast. The next morning, day 2, I woke up super clear and somehow I just felt like, this time I’m ready, ready to go all in and fight, fight the beast with every NO in my very being. For me, the saying “One day at a time” (ODAAT) really hit home in that moment and every day I wake up and tell myself, “today I’m saying NO.”
In accepting my truth; that I am NOT a drinker, that I DO NOT drink…period!
I discovered my super power. Truth became my sober strength.
Now, I use my superpower whenever I need that strength, when I’m tempted, when life sucks, when the, “what ifs” try to creep in.
While drinking for 10+ years, I lost a lot.
I lost my ability to think clearly.
I lost my ability to reason.
I lost some friends and family.
I lost my health and my zest for life.
I lost myself…
Once I stopped drinking, I also lost.
I lost the guilt and the shame that plagued me with every drink.
I lost the despair and the defeat that I felt every “morning after”.
I lost the foggy haze, that my brain was constantly trying to fight through.
I lost the high blood pressure, the stomach issues, the restless sleep, and some weight!
In all this loss, I’ve also gained.
I’ve gained my mind back, no more fog, I can think again.
I gained my self-esteem back, I stand up for myself and my needs.
I’ve gained back my joy and happiness and I look forward to new days.
I gained Me!
Through all of these gains and losses, I’ve also learned. I’ve learned more about myself in the last year than in my entire life, I think maybe, it’s because fighting this beast, forces us to take a long hard look at ourselves and see all the things we despise. Staying alcohol-free changes that image, slowly at first, but over time your true self begins to emerge.
Life is not easy but I have learned that alcohol-free I can face anything.
Six months into my sobriety, I was diagnosed with cancer. I was scared – who wouldn’t be? But if I’m being totally honest, I was more afraid of slipping and drinking again than I was of the cancer. If that doesn’t speak volumes about how scary alcohol is, nothing will. I have no idea if the cancer will kill me; I know that it can, but I have faith, and my doctors are very positive and hopeful. Even with my illness, I’m still a much healthier, happier, and more positive person without alcohol. I’ve learned to let go of the past and to try not to look back because I am not going that way.
Life is much easier to navigate with a clear mind. Staying sober has become easier, and as I accumulate more and more alcohol-free days, I think less about alcohol. Most importantly, I’ve learned that my life is worth more than the dark place of despair to which alcohol had chained me. Alcohol is poison that affects our health, mind, and soul, and it will not stop until it’s rejected. What I do know is that if I start drinking again, there is no doubt in my mind that it will lead to my demise.
I’ve learned that “One day at a time”, isn’t just a quote, but a way of life, and I’m learning every day to live.
I’ve learned that fighting and never giving up is the only way to break those chains. I’ve learned what freedom truly means and I never intend to give my freedom back. Every AF day is another chance to be Free! Every day is a chance to learn more, experience more, and to simply live. Every Day is a Chance to Stand Up For My Self. Every day that I choose to say NO, is a day of freedom and a blessing.
After that first sad last day one here is my secret to staying happily vibrantly sober – My Boom routine.
I’ve learned that community is key, and having others who are like you, to confide in and to share in each other’s struggles is essential for sobriety, and every day I’m grateful I found BOOM.
Every day, I spend time on my garden patio, and I BOOM.
I read, sometimes I comment, and sometimes I post, but I always make time each day for this routine, it’s something that I started when I first stopped drinking, its my *Boom routine.
When I think back to those first weeks/months of sobriety, and how my Boom routine got started, I remember that it was a slow start…for me and my garden patio.
After reading lots of ideas on Boom, I decided that I needed a hobby to keep me busy, a sober tool, so began the patio project.
I love the outdoors, and I knew I needed an oasis, an escape if I was going to kick alcohol to the curb.
See, when I was drinking, I was completely buried… buried in sorrow, self-loathing, guilt, shame and despair.
I knew I had to dig my way out, so every day, and miserably for the first few of those, I committed to go out on my bare, bleak, patio and dig in the dirt, plant things, and BOOM.
After a while, of this daily *Boom routine, I could see new growth and not just with the plants…I was growing too! Every day, we were getting stronger, together.
(I’ve used this analogy before, but it’s just so spot on, for me)
Days turned into months, and every day I tended to the plants, while BOOM help tend to me.
I know that without my *Boom routine, I would never have made it, that daily commitment to tend to the plants and BOOM, was my rehab, my “AA”.
It’s where I found myself, where I finally bloomed.
It’s been 14 months since I stopped drinking and my *Boom routine began and every day, I still spend time in my garden oasis and I BOOM.
My garden patio is vibrant, healthy, and blooming… the exact same things can be said about me, thanks to my *Boom routine. ODAAT
Through the mist and the rain,
Through the sorrow and the pain.
Through the darkest of nights and
all of the fright.
Through all of the tears and all of the fears.
Through all of the regrets and all the forgets.
Through it all, I can see the light.
Through it all, the dawn breaks and the new day is bright.
Through, to the other side, where I can hear the birds sing their cheerful song.
Through it all I found my strength, Through, I am proud and strong.
Stepping through to each new day there are bumps and twists, but I step through anyway.
I’m not looking back, I’m not going that way, for today is all I have and I will make it through, come what may.
Through, is how I survive, and every day that I strive to make it through, is a day to celebrate, because I am here and I am alive.~
Will you step “Through” with me today?
Things lost, gained, and learned.
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