June 29th 2014 was the day I stopped drinking. It was a Sunday.
I’d been considering this decision for a long time, agonizing over it, knowing I needed to do it. Now I was considering it with a sense of desperation.
The week leading up the 29th I’d seen advertised the TV show featuring Lotta Dan a.k.a Mrs D, about her coming out with her battle with alcohol. I hung in there all week waiting to watch this segment, hoping this was my potential lifeline which I could grasp onto and everything would be alright.
I already knew I needed to stop drinking. So with emotions running very high I watched that show and I watched all about Mrs D and learnt about her website which post show I immediately goggled. That night I got my figurative hand to hold, my supportive safely net. I found the place that said it’s okay to do it.
And I did. I stopped drinking. June very swiftly moved into July and I had the handy crutch of it being Dry July making it an acceptable thing to do. Because at that point I hadn’t actually fully admitted to myself I was giving up for good, no alcohol of any variety would pass these lips. I knew that’s what I needed to do and what I would ultimately do but I skirted around the edges of that commitment, not quite yet able to face it.
In the beginning I did a lot of fear, terror, panic, shock and disbelief, huge anxiety. I swam in pools of desperation. Incredible really the intensity of those feelings.
I was terrified about giving up and failing and equally as terrified about giving up and succeeding. I agonised over what I was giving up, what it all meant, what I was going to miss out on. I felt on very shaky ground and angry at not being able to drink and angry just because.
7 months later and I’m doing great. I am succeeding and those feelings that damn near churned me inside out have gone. Sometimes I still do shock, shock that I made that decision and that it’s a forever decision. But wonderfully having reaped in the rewards of such a choice, ones totally unexpected, I am reminded all that I have gained and stand to lose if I choose to drink again. And I don’t want to lose them, ever.
I can honestly say that choosing myself over alcohol was the best decision I have ever made for myself.
But I still do at times think I’d love a drink. And most times that thought comes out of the blue. I would love a drink………….why???
Well this gets a little interesting here. I’ve done a lot of pondering on that one – I’ve found I’ve done and continue to do a lot of pondering since stopping drinking. I’ve worked out that these thoughts come about through situations
-it’s a beautiful day, I’d love a drink
-I’m socialising at work events where wine is free and freely available, I’d love a drink
-flying overseas, I’d love a drink
I’m sure you get the idea. Whats also interesting is that it’s not triggered emotionally
-I’m feeling so happy, I’d love a drink
-I’ve had a shit day, I need a drink
And so on.
So what is that triggers me into thinking I want that drink. I think it’s all just an idea, a fantasy, something I’ve taught myself to believe is real, is viable but in reality there is nothing there, just simply an idea in my head. I miss the beginnings of that buzz where frissons of tingly energy races through my body but that wasn’t real either, the aftermath of those moments certainly wasn’t all sparkles and giggles that’s for sure.
For me figuring out what those moments are all about gives me the power back, gives me a sense of being in control and with that I can make these choices for me and about me and I can see what is true, what is real, what is authentic.
I can laugh those moments away now, I know they will come sometimes when I am least prepared for them but I know I am on my side always. I am okay and will be okay.
I have wonderful new experiences to draw upon, wonderful new thoughts and feelings that make me buzz in joy and excitement and I’m telling you now, the joy you experience from coming home to yourself, to being authentic, to loving yourself can never ever be replicated with alcohol.
That gives me those bubbles, that tingly energy that runs through my body.
Choosing to give up was tough, giving up was tough, staying that way was tough in the beginning. And occasionally I stumble but I am okay. I am ever a work in progress and I may not always know where I am headed or why but on the occasions I do get to the next place I think oh wow now I understand, now I get it.
How awesome is that!!!