So I have been wrestling with my decision to quit drinking for years now. I have known for a while that I have a problem, and I have quit temporarily on several occasions, just to prove I could do it, but I was having a really hard time with forever. It was so daunting to think about.
So a couple months ago I got rid of all the booze in my apartment. Then I went to stay at my mom and dad’s house for about a week-and-a-half to dogsit while they were on vacation, and I guess I treated it like it was my vacation away from my real life. They mostly drink wine when they go out on the weekends, but they have a pretty well-stocked bar at their place, and I took advantage. I was drinking probably about 6 glasses of wine a night when I was over there. I felt terrible about it, and I was actually embarrassed about the amount of empty bottles in the recycle bin, and made sure to get rid of any incriminating evidence before my parents got home (I just realized I sound like I’m 15, rather than 32). But I knew the end was coming soon.
I started to take a brutally honest look at my life, no more rationalizing, no more lying to myself. And I realized that the goals I set for myself can never be met if I stay on this trajectory, if I keep drinking. I can’t and I won’t say that my life is terrible (I do realize how fortunate I am, through no virtue of my own, and I am grateful), but all of the problems I do have can be traced back to one culprit: alcohol. So I went shopping, and I bought about 8 books and a writing journal. And I started reading, and I am still reading. And it just finally hit home for me. Drinking just does me no good, and I need to make a commitment to not drink anymore. I think I finally accepted that fact when I read so many other people’s stories about quitting, and talking about how their lives DID get better. For so long I equated not drinking with not having fun, not being able to function in this world. But reading about other people like me, farther along on this journey, empowered me to take a leap of faith.
So my parents came home Friday, March 9th. I went out with a friend Friday night, and that was the last time I had a drink – it was after midnight, so technically the last drink I had was very early Saturday morning, so my quit date is Sunday, March 11. I am taking it one day at a time: reading, praying, journaling, reflecting, talking to other people going through the same thing.
When I quit smoking for the last time (I have been successful for 2.5 years so far), the first week or so I was very irritable, wallowing in self-pity, thinking that life isn’t fair, other people got to smoke cigarettes, I wanted to smoke also. I basically saw quitting as an exercise in self-deprivation. I saw quitting smoking as a punishment, a prison sentence. Then I guess I had a bit of a paradigm shift, when it finally clicked for me, and I started to see quitting for what it really was – not a punishment, not an exercise in self-deprivation, but one of the greatest gifts I could give to myself. After I started seeing things that way, everything clicked. I still had urges to smoke, but I reacted to them differently. I finally accepted that smoking was not an option, so, although I had urges, I no longer had temptations, that little devil on my shoulder telling me to buy a pack of cigarettes.
So I guess I feel like I’m at that place with drinking. I know what I am doing is for the best, for me, my family, my friends, and the community as a whole. I value so many things so much more than alcohol, and I know with alcohol in the picture, I will never achieve what I want to achieve. I mean, I still may not achieve my goals, even without booze, but I will be able to try that much harder.