Today’s the Day
1 year, 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8760 hours and 525600 hours ago I made the life altering decision to stop drinking.
It was to be a forever decision and I was racked with anxiety, fear and panic as I made that decision and as I began the first few days of living it. I’m sure at times the intensity of those feelings was clearly imprinted on my face. I did a lot of deep breathing as I walked through the wine section at the supermarket, I did a lot of deep breathing at wine o’clock and at functions or at hubby’s beer on the bench or …well any occasion that warranted deep breathing and there were a lot of them.
I’ve gone through anger, resentment and frustration at not being able to drink, I’ve done confusion over how to get through the arrival of my first grandchild, Christmas and New Years without a drink. I’ve done a lot of high intensity almost overwhelming emotions and you know what………..I survived it.
I’d been toying with the idea of giving up drinking for quite awhile before I finally made the definite decision to do so. I wasn’t the classic drunk, I’ve never lost time or memories, never had to deal with the law or courts, none of that major stuff that can go with heavy drinking. No one ever worried about my drinking [other than myself of course. And perhaps by some standards 3-4 bottles a week wasn’t really that much.
But, and there it is the most important “but” I didn’t like how I was drinking, how I couldn’t moderate despite my best intentions to do so, how I worried was there enough, how I couldn’t have wine free days and I worried about the possibilities of where I was potentially heading. I hated myself for being weak, for not being in control and forever breaking my resolves and promises to myself. I hated waking up in the wee hours full of self loathing and guilt and worry not to mention maybe feeling just the slightest unwell. My self belief was so low that I trampled over it when I walked about. And my self image was pretty harsh and cruel and not worthy of mention it was so bad.
So something had to change and that change had to come from me, from within me. So a plan was born and a decision made and though at times the road was rocky I can honestly say it’s a road definitely worth travelling.
I’ll be honest here, I do look back and know there have been some really neat and fun moments in my drinking days and I do laugh about them and remember them with enjoyment. I won’t deny them but what I know without a doubt here is that it most certainly wasn’t all rainbows and giggles and those lows far outweigh the “good times” and just aren’t’ worth it.
Do I sometimes still want a drink, hell yes I do. But now I can genuinely laugh it off and carry on, those are mere moments and in the bigger scheme of my day are only a blip. When I think to myself I really wish I had a glass of bubbly now I genuinely question why, what is it I am wanting , what is it I think I am missing.
And the truth is nothing. It’s all an illusion, having an alcoholic drink, having that wine will change nothing.
And here it is, I still have fun! I am far more socially confident! I still to get up and dance, I still laugh a lot. I am still fun, in fact I’d go as far to say more so. People have been accepting, interested and often it’s no big deal not drinking. In fact I’ve discovered that there are actually a lot of people who drink very little or not at all [and are fun to be with]. Who knew!!
So one year later and I’m doing well, it’s pretty plain sailing. Yes there are moments but I am so much stronger than I feel I have ever been and I can ride those moments out. I have a better understanding of me, of who I am and where I want to be heading. I get that at times my journey is going to be hard and I will want to get off the ride that is my life but I am strong, I am brave and I keep on going and before I know it I am brighter, the world around me is brighter and I am just that much more wiser. I can see further and clearer than ever before. I am becoming a good friend to myself and that’s something I haven’t had with myself before. I smile, not just physically on my face [although I must to that a lot because hubby often asks what I am I smiling at] but within my heart and from my soul.
Starting with the decision to stop drinking I have come home to myself and regardless of the inevitable speed wobbles I quite like it here and together myself and I are moving forward.
For those of you toying with the idea of choosing to stop drinking or have made that decision and are struggling with a bumpy ride my heart goes out to you filled with hope and a genuine desire to see you succeed. Yes it can be tough but honestly it’s worth it, it’s possible to ride out the shit and pain and fear and find that rainbow to rest against.
Know that you are strong and brave, it takes both those qualities to even begin this journey. More so than we allow ourselves to believe. I wish you well and extend the hand of friendship. You can do it. Believe in yourself and be kind to yourself.
If you find yourself at day 3 really struggling stop for a moment and congratulate yourself on having the strength and courage to make it to day 3. Ignore the crap for a moment and revel in your success. For you are a success.
As for me, what now. Well, more of the same really. Today is just another day in a day of many as I continue to move forward. I still enjoy a special drink in a special glass, just happens its non alcoholic. Today is special at an intimate kind of level though, I’ve gone from fear to strength to new normal to simply normal now. It’s kind of amazing. And I can think past one week as a goal to okay here’s to year 2.
I’m proud of me.
I’m a nicer kinder more compassionate person [most of the time, I am always a work in progress] and I like that.
I like me.
Please raise your glasses [mine has lime juice and soda water] and let’s toast to courage, choice, love, camaraderie, hope, rainbows and giggles.