I got a text from Dearest Hubby this morning who is over on the coast, home later today. Seems the poor love is nursing a hangover. No, not a hangover but a brainache. From drinking the night before.
This isn’t a big deal for him or me but it did get me thinking……………
Do I miss it? Not the after effects of drinking, oh no not that. I certainly don’t miss those dire headaches where even the hair follicles can hurt and I certainly don’t miss the tossing churning stomach as the nausea rolls around trying to decide if it will advance to a full on vomit [thankfully that wasn’t a common occurrence thought the nausea, unfortunately was].
But yeah, if truth be known sometimes I do miss having a drink, I miss the party drinking, the new year’s day bubbles at lunch time drinking. I miss that fun free spirited image I have of drinking.
I now have a basket of wisdom that has come from not drinking for 499 days. I know that the sense of fun I associate with drinking is an illusion, feels real but – yes there is always a but – it hides so much more. If this fun is good, if it is true, if it is authentic then it won’t feel bad, it won’t feel wrong the next morning or in those wee hours when you wake up trying to comfort yourself in the warmth of a blanket made from a cold unforgiving sense of guilt, regret and remorse. And not just physically but emotionally to.
I’ve joked a lot about my merry drinking escapades in the past, had a good ole giggle about them but I am also acutely aware of desperately trying to hide the fact I threw up [New Year’s morning 3 years in a row] and that there are some people I wouldn’t want to share that with, I wouldn’t want them to know, shame and embarrassment at the forefront here.
Guilt and shame ripping through me like a knife to the gut.
Now, these feelings I’ve learnt come as a result of thoughts. Thoughts we think. No one else is inside out head, just us and that little voice. So we can change these thoughts if we choose to, if we really want to. What I think here though is that maybe first we need to take a little look a those thoughts and feelings – step aside from yourself a moment to do this – because they may just be a good indicator of what behaviours in our life just aren’t working for us and that need changing.
For me the constant coaching of myself to just one drink, no drink today, just drink at the weekend was a red light beacon sure sign that something wasn’t working for me and needed to make a change for me, by and with me.
For me that change was to stop drinking. Nada, no more, zilch. No moderating, no restricting. Just abstinence.
Choosing to make that change was easy actually. The struggle came with accepting never again actually meant never again, special occasions didn’t count, never was never. The doing it, day in and day out was a fearful anxiety ridden struggle until oneday I discovered it wasn’t so much.
You know how some people have a cowlick in their hair or it will only ever part a certain way no matter what they do , their hair will always do what it does?
Well, I think it’s a little like that with our thoughts and staying sober – sometimes inspite of our best efforts just like with our hair our thoughts may turn to wanting a drink, to dreaming about that just one. I believe these are patterns imprinted within our memories and sometimes they just fall out into our minds where they are thought out loud.
The cool thing is just as we can choose to change our hair style and colour, afterall we don’t have to accept what we have and live with it, change is a choice , and so it is with our thoughts and subsequent feelings and behaviours.
The truth is sometimes I do miss drinking, I miss having a wine, I miss trying new wines especially if overseas and I think I miss a sense of something even if it wasn’t altogether real. I use to be afraid of those thoughts, fearful it meant I was heading for failure or simply that I had failed because I’d thought them to start with.
Thing is, they are only thoughts, remnants of a time past which occasionally rise up and into my head to see if there is a place for them, to see if they are still valid. Now I just smile at them and let them on through. I’m okay. I know where I am, I know what I want and I am strong. These thoughts can only have a hold on me if I give them the power to do so. And I choose not to. I choose to change that thought, find a new feeling which fits better and then flick that drinking thought and carry on.
And this works for me.
Together in Strength