Quitting drinking is the hardest and most courageous thing I’ll ever do: along with becoming a mother. Yes, it really is up there in the achievements of life!
We’re learning to take off glasses which were dim, showing us the dark and painful side of life: the guilt, the remorse, the shame, the low or no energy, when we felt like we were crawling through life, on our bellies, stopping to weep or shout angrily and then having more of the toxins to keep going, like a dark salamander. Wanting and yearning to breathe free.
And then one day/night, we google sobriety forums and this site popped up and it rings a distant bell. Musing, what the hell is that? Yes, that’s what I used to do back in the day when I had choices, I used to muse about people and life, and a little bell tinkles in my head in answer to that thought. And perhaps you used to muse, too, before the toxins pulled you and I down to a kind of hell?
But here you are, and you are welcomed. Looks like a nice hotel, nice decor with all those photos, you can see there’s quite a few members from different parts of the world. Some perhaps from just down the road from you, others in another state, others getting up as you’re going to bed. All here to breathe, read, listen to the podcasts and music shared, and soak in the wonderful images which some share.
And wow, some are brave enough to show their real faces – that’s extraordinary when in real life, we snuck around and didn’t want to show our boozy, morning after face, let alone the bruises we’d got from falling over. Or the DUI, or lost driving licence, or the divorce papers from all those terrible arguments. Sometimes sadly, domestic violence….
That is all part of our stories, but it is BEHIND us now, and it’s time to sit in the hotel dining room and survey the menu of things to read and buy – stocking up on teas and cordials, trying kombucha, milkshakes, all good to begin feeding the booze o’clock habit and myriad bars of chocolate – in the early days, dealing with the sugar cravings is a must.
After a few days, a little inkling arrives – yes, one of the reasons we drink is because we’re actually thirsty, often after a long day at work. Drinking anything soothes the thirst: anything! And that’s a great discovery.
Next, the body calls, the agile, flexible muscles and bone structure which remembers skipping, jumping, hopping, dancing, playing football, basketball, biking. Yes, it emerges slowly, twisting and turning wanting to shake off the coils of booze in its cells, calling out for action. This is the time to start stretching and exploring all kinds of physical options: yoga, highly rated by so many (including me!); biking, horse riding, running – especially park runs. And so we sort out old sports clothes, or likely invest in new, from the money saved from not drinking and go to our first classes/sessions. There, we’ll meet people invested in their health, many who hardly drink. A few don’t drink at all. That’s incredible too!
We learn to sit, most evenings, in a safe place: a favourite armchair, or a room, where we can binge-watch TV series, or movies, or listen to music, giving our souls what it really craved, rather than the booze which we begin to realise is our enemy, not our friend. Some of us have to cope with angry partners, who are very disappointed at losing their booze buddies, but by logging on here, we find our support group, and we do everything that works for US, not them. The power dynamics begin shifting – it is scary but it’s wise not to make decisions about long-term relationships until you’ve had a year of alcohol free living.
Slowly, slowly, we learn to crawl and connect, toddle, fall over (have a few drinks one night) get up and connect, then walk up straight more confidently, past the shops and the booze aisles who knew us so well, and even past old boozy friends whom we now wave at, but don’t stop to talk to, and connect daily here. We’ve got you and they only want someone to drink with, they weren’t really interested in our growth and flowering.
This journey is part of the lifelong quest to rediscover our real passion, and what lifts us into someone magnificent, where toxins have no part in the lightness and brightness of our new lives. Money once squandered is invested in holidays, live gigs, helicopter rides, and wonderful meals, all of which we savour, because there’s no alcohol dulling and forgetting the way the sunlight hit the stage and performer, the make-up on that cute girl’s face, the pulled pork burger and the way our newly flexible bodies abandoned themselves to the music, happily, joyfully.
Yes, there will be sad, angry, despondent days. That too, is part of the AF life – but, but, we learn to sit with and breathe through them, accessing our ancestors’ ancient resilience. Realising we now, finally, can control our thoughts, words, actions and we now master this thing called Life.
For today, just breathe and look at the light-filled path outside the Boozemusings Hotel and take that first step.
Just Breathing ….
Eyes Wide Open…
Photo above by Jonathan Warner showing the Milky Way in Somerset
If you’re drinking too much too often talk to us. We understand how it feels to lose your off switch. BOOM Rethink the Drink is an independent, private, anonymous community forum.
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It’s never too late.
This post was shared with the Boozemusings Community by Annette Allen, an active member of BOOM Community Rethink the Drink and the author of An Ethiopian Odyssey
Find More from Annette Here