This is from one of my different blogs, dated April 13, 2016. It’s a good overview to catch you readers up on how I got to be here. I’m pretty open about my life, but some things are harder for me to talk about. I’m getting better at it. It wasn’t always easy. It isn’t always easy. But it IS worth it.
Well, here’s a post I would have never ever thought I would get to.
I am 468 days without alcohol.
Not a sip, taste, not “just one” (which never really happened anyway).
I. AM. SOBER.
I now say phrases like “I don’t drink”. And it’s true. It’s real. It’s empowering.
It feels great. And here’s how it started.
January 1, 2015, I woke up after going out for New Year’s with my family. I had a fairly decent drinking night. I didn’t get completely wasted. I didn’t throw up. I didn’t try walking home drunk. I didn’t disappear. I didn’t drive a car. I didn’t pick a fight. For me, these are all wins. But I woke up that morning feeling a bit hungover. Lethargic. My stomach hurt. My head hurt. I didn’t wanna move off the couch.
My long distance boyfriend at the time was visiting for a short trip, and we spent the entire time watching sports all day while I nursed my hangover on the couch. I felt guilty. I felt hatred towards myself. I felt regret. I felt gross. I felt miserable. Inside and out. I had decided sometime in the next couple days that I would take a “break”. But I didn’t tell anyone. I had said this before and felt people would be too tired of hearing of my next failure. Slowly, three weeks snuck up and I mentioned it to my mom. She said she had noticed but wasn’t sure it was going to stick. It did.
The end of February I had planned a trip to Hawaii for my brother’s wedding. I had only ever made it to 59 days sober, once. The last day of my trip was day 60. The first day of my trip was my birthday. I had told my mom on the plane I was going to have one on the plane “because it doesn’t count on vacation”. Her discouragement deterred me. My birthday night was uneventful and my mom sure wasn’t going to party with me, so I opted out. After that, I refocused on making it to 60 days. Just 60. I can do just a few more days. And I made it.
It seemed easier after that for a while, until I started seeing someone who was a heavy drinker, and constantly encouraging me to drink . He said he thought I’d be “fun” and he’d take care of me. I’d always tell him I didn’t need alcohol to make poor decisions. He’d laugh and then continue to encourage me to drink. One day, after a particularly rough week in May, I had decided I would. I text one of my best friends and she asked me to evaluate why I would drink, that I had made it so far, and to think it over. If I decided to go to drinking, it didn’t have to be tonight. She didn’t want me to regret it. I went to bed. I woke up SO relieved I hadn’t given in to what I didn’t realize at the time, was a craving. I thought I was past that stage, but boy how our minds are tricky.
And day by day, week by week, month by month, I made it to a year. There was the constant peer pressure at social gatherings of “just have one!”. My thoughts, and sometimes I would even say, “I can’t just have ONE, THAT is my problem! If I could have one, I wouldn’t be in this situation.” I found it easier to just tell people it was my New Year’s Resolution. I’m just quitting for the year. Whatever would get them to not ask. The resolution was usually a good one. Sometimes when asked why I don’t drink, I would bluntly respond with “I’m a raging alcoholic.” That’s also a quick way to shut someone up. Sometimes I felt bad, but then I’d think, it’s really not their business to be asking. If they aren’t close enough to me to already know, they shouldn’t be asking. (Readers: take note, its rude.)
And then New Year’s Eve came again. And champagne was being passed around, and I was handed apple juice. And there was no discussion, there was no convincing, there was no anything. It was just a known “she doesn’t drink”. And I really liked that.
Since my journey to a sober life, I have the following stats:
I’ve lost exactly zero friends since I quit drinking. And this has made me realize exactly how fortunate I am to have people that chose to love me shitty or not. And this has made me realize and work more towards realizing what I should be grateful for.
I have also lost 46 pounds.
I’ve lost my hatred for myself that I used to carry every morning and following after a night of drinking.
I gained a passion for life again. I picked up hobbies, like the guitar, cooking and reading, and you guessed it, traveling!
I gained strength, in that I found enjoyment in walks and urban hiking. I’ve gained inner strength by showing myself I can actually do this. And if I can quit drinking, what else can I do?
I gained my sense of Self. I have woke up exactly ZERO times with regret, with wondering what I did the night before (or who I did the night before), with having to check my phone to see who I owe an apology to, and also… ZERO hangovers (BEST PART!).
Life hasn’t been easy along the way. I lost the boyfriend I loved so much, and still stayed sober. I lost my best friend (Teddi Bear- dog), who was my first dog, to cancer a few months later. And I still stayed sober.
I write this in hopes that maybe it would hit home for someone else out there. When I was drinking (and felt I shouldn’t be) I had read an article of a girl who quit drinking on May 6 one year and had been sober for an entire year. I remember thinking “I WANT that to be me so bad”. But this part inside of me just didn’t think that was in the cards for me. I wasn’t strong enough. I wasn’t deserving. I couldn’t do that… I couldn’t even see a year down the road because I became obsessed with ending my life, from depression, anxiety, and alcohol.
SO I write this here today to let you know, it can be better. Today, I started looking up a 3 month backpack trip to Europe. I will be quitting my job and exploring another country. a LIFE GOAL of mine- that was never possible before because I couldn’t save money with my drinking, I couldn’t plan things for my happiness outside of alcohol, and I just couldn’t do life.
But here I am. And you can too. If this speaks to you and you would like advice, encouragement, or just someone to listen, please feel free to email me. I would be happy to be a shoulder to lean on.
This world is hard enough, but it’s not impossible.