April 15 is tax day in America, which falls in the middle of Alcohol Awareness Month.
This made me consider how alcohol was taxing me for decades.
And I was not aware that alcohol was Taxing Me
It starts out so innocently, at a party with really fruity punch (spiked with grain alcohol), then leads to fun happy hours with co-workers, parties with a few hundred close friends, ladies’ nights on spring break. You like the warm, buzzed feeling and all of a sudden you’re a REALLY good dancer. You may accidentally sleep with someone you hadn’t planned on, but hey … alcohol is fun, and you’re young.
You slide through your twenties with a lot of taxing hangovers, but nothing a greasy cheeseburger can’t fix. If you’re lucky, you don’t get raped, arrested, injured, or worse. Those are taxes no one mentions at ladies’ night or happy hour.
Maybe you can keep up regular binge drinking for several years, but then life may throw you an unexpected tragedy, and alcohol wears a whole new face … with painful taxes. It numbs your pain and helps you smile for the camera. But it also delays healing and grief, and the pushed-back pain will fester and appear at the worst times. Becoming a sad drunk does not lead to dancing. The “tears and beers show” is pit-of-the-stomach pitiful, and not recommended by your therapist. But you plow through (or so you think) … broken and scared, never thinking to stop drinking. You’re just a young, crazy sad person and alcohol helps. Or so you think.
Enter marriage and children … yay tax deductions!
Along with that nagging feeling you can never EVER do it all or be enough. Work, clean, workout, volunteer, drive kids to every activity on earth and get that perfect dinner on the table by 6? It all seems easier when you add a little wine. Then one day you realize you can’t go a single day without wine. And refilling one glass over and over does not mean you HAD one glass, as you cheerfully report to your doctor on the health questionnaire.
When the wine stops making you happy, your taxes are overdue.
Beyond the embarrassing falls, slurred words, horrible hangovers, and angry holidays, you had no idea what drinking ethanol had done to your brain all those years. Now alcohol makes you feel relaxed for a few minutes, but suddenly you’re dreading the empty glass and worst of all, that empty shell where your spirit once lived. Poor sleep? Anxiety? Puffy face? These are the outward signs of alcohol taxing you … but who knows what’s going on inside your body. Alcohol is now secretly sucking your life, your ambition, your joy … too slowly to notice, but it’s happening.
Sobriety seems like something you could maybe tolerate, but certainly never enjoy. Still, a little voice is begging you to save yourself while you can. You ignore the nagging as long as you can, and then one day you give in and decide to try for a month. It starts with your first round of uncomfortable feelings at wine-o-clock. You skip making dinner for several nights because you just can’t BE in or near the kitchen, your former drinking zone. You find a sacred online community called BOOM … and it reaffirms your belief in that higher power, since you found it purely by the grace of Google. Folks there are more welcoming than many churches you’ve attended. No judgement. Just pure support, connection, wisdom and REALLY kind people who get you. You make it through a few days, a week, a month. Then the days add up, and the sober treats keep coming. And you’re still doing this. And you’re happy. Tax free!
What I’ve learned in 165 Alcohol Free days:
Nothing I feared about sobriety is true. Life isn’t boring. I’m not boring. In fact, I’m somehow more relaxed and am rediscovering pure childhood joy from decades ago. I don’t fall asleep watching a movie on Netflix. I can follow the plot line because my mind is clear. I love reading in bed and I sleep like a teenager. I walk my dog 2 miles and run on my treadmill every morning. My brain and body do not miss the poison. I’m 62, and I think I’m starting to look younger (YAY!).
When something is awkward or painful, I’m learning to sit with my feelings and breathe, meditate or write in my journal. Sometimes I hide away in my office and post on Boom or read other people’s posts to know I’m not alone. It’s a lifeline.
Giving up drinking has not made me perfect (so far). I still procrastinate with my work. I still shop online too much. I eat too much chocolate, and may possibly hoard sweaters. I’m not good with plants, and not a fan of cleaning closets. But I’m starting to LOVE myself, and realize I’m a kind, caring friend, a loving wife, fabulous mother and FUN grandma who likes to dance. Life is good … and I’m worth it.
And my accountant just told me that due to COVID, we have an extension this year till May 17th! So I don’t have to get my taxes in today.
Now there is something to celebrate! Alcohol-Free!
Rethink the Drink – BOOM !
April is Alcohol Awareness Month. If you ever wonder if you have a problem with alcohol, or if you ever considered taking a break from the booze just to see how different your life might be – come chat with us a bit and see where it takes you – BOOM Rethink the Drink – Here are some thoughts from members of our community :
If you’re “sober curious” … If you are drinking too much too often and want to stop or take a break…or if you have stopped drinking and are trying to stick to sober! Talk to Us.
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
Break the Staus Quo! Rethink the Drink
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Don’t let the shame of the stigma keep you from saying
“I think I have a problem with drinking”
The image at the beginning of this post was found on Flickr and the provider asked that http://taxcredits.net/ be creditted for it’s use
Also from Unsplash-