They say admitting you have a problem is the first step in solving an issue.
Last year I wrote about how I felt like my drinking alcohol was getting out of hand and I wanted to put a stop to it. Many, many, many of you wrote to me telling me how brave I was for admitting my failure and said you too had similar issues.
I have to admit, I felt neither brave nor strong when writing that post. Frankly I felt scared and alone- like I was breaking up with a beloved friend. Alcohol was what I turned to when I was having a particularly stressful day. It was my reward for good days, and it soothed my spirit when I was anxious or dull.
I proudly identified as someone who loved to drink and have fun. I didn’t want to give up the glamour.
But I found myself drinking even when I really didn’t want to; like it was a compulsion done out of habit instead of being a conscious choice. We all have our vices, but this one was something I needed to control and not let it continue to control me.
It has been a year since I admitted I have a problem with alcohol and things are much better.
I no longer have a few glasses of wine every night, but I will admit, I still long for them. Sometimes, when the craving gets to be too much, I drink water out of a wine glass. It is like smelling an ex boyfriend’s shirt; you know they were no good for you, but sometimes you miss them so much you just have to hold it up to your face and breath them in.
That isn’t to say I never drink. I still have a few cocktails once a week, usually on Friday nights. I have always believed everything in moderation, even moderation. It was never my intention to quit drinking entirely, it was merely time to get my drinking back under control, and after a year of struggling I feel as if I am back behind the steering wheel.
The process has been easy. Far from it. I had to reteach myself how to celebrate each day with something other than a drink. And as I said earlier, I still want to drink almost every single day. But instead of thinking about what I can’t have, I look at all of the benefits I have acquired since last year.
Time Is On My Side
First of all, I have a lot more time. When I was drinking at night I didn’t really feel like doing anything. Now that I am sober I can use the evening hours more effectively.
Being Present In The Now
I also am able to have a better connection with my children. Look, I will admit that when I drink I am a lot of fun. I was worried I would stop being the “fun” mom and then my kids wouldn’t like me any more. But it turns out I can still be fun when sober! And now that I am not drinking I can actually have meaningful conversations with my family that I remember the next day. Drinking is a lot of fun, but it keeps you from really being present in the moment. I can still be a fun mom as well as a mom who is actively engaged in her kid’s life.
To be clear, it wasn’t like I was a drooling mess on the couch every night. I was totally coherent when I drank, but there was a sort of fog that clouded my brain. It was kind of like the difference between wearing glasses and not wearing glasses. When you have bad vision and you take your glasses off, you can still see, but everything is blurry. When you put the glasses on you can see clearly and easily. The same could be said for my brain when I was drinking and when I was sober.
I have so much more energy! When I drink I usually have a terrible night’s sleep but if I go to bed sober then my body is much better able to completely relax and my sleep is more efficient.
Looking Great In The Mirror
Finally, and my most favorite benefit of all, I managed to lose 15 pounds! To be fair, I also went on a calorie restricted diet. But the two were entwined because when I stopped drinking I immediately lost around seven pounds and I felt so good I decided to go ahead and get my eating under control as well! I went from a skinny size 8 to a fat size 4! Yay me!
Look, I will admit, I still love to drink. But as I said before, I also believe in moderation. So now, when I find myself falling off the wagon and choosing to drink more often, I remind myself how terrible I felt last year and how great things are since I got things under control. It isn’t easy, but ultimately it is better, for my family, for myself, forever.