I have been messing around with sobriety for the last 4 years, or half of my drinking career. I know in terms of most alcoholics this is a mere blip. Compared to many, my time abusing alcohol has been relatively short. Some don’t give it up until it has stolen 20, 30, 40, even 50 years of their lives.
Growing up with an alcoholic parent I was dead set on ever going down that road, but grief took me there in no time flat and I have used it as a faulty coping mechanism ever since.
In just two more weeks I will have been completely sober for 3 months! I don’t think I have gone without alcohol for this long in a little over 8 years, or BMD (before Mom died).
About four years ago I started keeping track of the days I drank and the amounts. I was a binge drinker as opposed to a daily heavy drinker. I would go for several days sober and then drink a lot all in one go. I tried to keep that down to no more than once a week or less but wasn’t very successful most of the time.
I often found myself working against a hangover when I was at my seasonal job. It was exhausting. After a few years of that I couldn’t handle it anymore and I found myself calling in sick one time too often. I found myself briefly relieved of my position.
Those days were miserable for me. I was ashamed and filled with self-loathing and really desperate to find a better way to live my life. I knew AA was not going to be a good fit for me and living in a small town would make it pretty impossible to remain anonymous. I started searching online and found a website called Hello Sunday Morning (HSM). It offered a community of people looking to change their relationship with alcohol whether that be through moderation or quitting drinking entirely. It enabled me to read and follow people’s experiences and share my own. I learned various ways to start changing and found better methods to deal with life’s stressors and my anxiety.
I told my employer I was getting help and was rehired for the rest of the season. I returned to my job with my bruised pride and plugged away at trying to figure out what was going to work for me. I tried a 3 month moderate drinking plan. I would still have binge nights but I was starkly aware of them. I was writing about the process and receiving the support of like-minded others from all over the world. I kept at it steadily until the summer of last year.
During that time I was spending time with someone who unfortunately was not really on board with the changes I was trying to make. I would be told that my not drinking while we hung out was “no fun”, couldn’t I just have a few drinks and be done with it (no), what, was I an alcoholic or something? (um, yeah!). I would try substituting non-alcoholic beer and wine and was teased about that almost every time.
Then last summer my 12 year old cat suddenly passed away and I was mired in grief for months. My diet and exercise routines were down the tubes. I didn’t care what I ate or how much I drank. I was glad for my seasonal job because it kept me fairly clean and wonderfully distracted. Then winter came…
My Dad had recently retired and having him home all the time, sitting in his chair with an ever present beer and no idea what to do with himself was very depressing. I fell into a deep depression for months. I was miserable no matter where I was. At home, hanging out with my supposed friend undermining my every good effort to change for the better… Finally I had enough of this sorry situation and decided enough was enough.
March 17 was the last day I had a drink. March 18th, 2017 I gave up alcohol for good. There would be no more leaving the door open, entertaining the notion I could return to being the moderate drinker I was before my mother passed away. I had already proven to myself that wasn’t possible for me anymore. If I never took that first drink, I would never have to worry about stopping.
I am nearly at the first quarter of my first year of sobriety and I have to say I don’t really remember feeling this good about myself as an adult. My medications work better without the interference of alcohol, I am sharper mentally, focused on healthy eating and exercise, meditating on a regular basis and making substantial plans for the future.
Over the last few weeks it occurred to me that others may be able to benefit from my learning experiences so I decided to share my journey with those it might resonate with. Take it or leave it, try out some of the things that work for me or don’t. It is all up to you.
I am so glad I finally took the reins and decided to change my life. To step away from what no longer serves and incorporate the things that over time I have always come back to.
This is just the beginning. There is always a blue sky behind the clouds; the sun will always shine again. I have finally found that place inside of myself that I can always count on and I’m going to hold onto that for the rest of my days.
Today I launched a new facebook page and blog where I will share what is working for me in my life in terms of sobriety and creating a healthy and balanced lifestyle. You are welcome to check them out if you feel called to:
Alcohol is the only drug that people question you for NOT using but you don’t HAVE to drink. Don’t stay trapped because the stigma of not drinking seems worse than the cost of drinking to much.
Sobriety is Clarity, Creativity, Freedom! Community connection is the first step.
ReThink the Drink https://www.boozemusings.com/