February 18th marks 549 days since I took my last drink. A year and a half! I can hardly believe it.
18 months since I woke up that last morning after I yet again, drank more than I intended to. And blacked out. AGAIN. And remembered neither the last half of the show I was watching nor an intimate interlude with my husband.
And I came to the inescapable conclusion that I could not moderate. Years of research had proven it. As terrifying as it seemed, I had to close the door on booze forever. If I didn’t I’d actively be choosing what would likely be a highly untimely, unnecessary, and unpleasant death.
And – talk about terrifying – what would my life BE without booze? How would I celebrate? How would I console myself? How would I have FUN? What would my relationship with my husband be like? I just couldn’t imagine how not drinking would make any aspect of my life better – in fact, I thought it would be quite the opposite.
What’s changed? So, SO much – for the better! First of all, I wake up in the morning (and sober sleep is FANTASTIC, thank you very much) free of heart and mind. I no longer have to worry about what I said or did the night before and whether or not my husband is disgusted with me. I don’t wake up thinking about the previous night, assessing whether and/or how much I drank. I actually like and respect myself and accept that if I make a mistake, I’m not a horrible, broken, worthless person. I’m just human. Gloriously flawed. But still worthy of love and respect, especially from myself.
I’ve learned all about the wonderful world of self-care. And discovered that I’m actually an introvert. I really like people and love to socialize – on my terms. But I respect myself enough to honor my need for quiet time; I crave it and soak it up like a sponge.
One of the best things I’ve discovered is how much MORE fun I have – especially with my three granddaughters. The return to childlike play and the ability to lose myself in the moment with them.
I’ve learned that strong emotions, left to their own devices and not medicated away, will NOT kill me. And not only that, I don’t WANT to self-medicate. And some super scary and stressful stuff has happened in the past year and a half.
I just feel like the real deal. And present. And authentic. I’m still learning and I’m certainly not perfect.
But here’s what I want to leave you with: if you’re struggling. Or on the fence. Or not sure if giving up booze forever is something you can wrap your brain around. Please, please, PLEASE – give it a try. Sign up for Belle’s 100 Day Challenge. Tell just one person you trust that you’re concerned about your own drinking. Reach out and I can give you information about a private Facebook group comprised of people just like you and me. People who want to stop drinking and need some support. It’s helped me so, SO much, especially since I don’t have any friends in real life who are walking this road with me.
For me, walking away from booze forever was absolutely non-negotiable. My only regret is that I didn’t do it 20 years ago, when I first began to suspect that my relationship with alcohol was unhealthy.
Please – don’t wait one more day. You’re worth it. And you won’t regret it.