Today marks 600 days since my last drink. 600 days since I woke up with shame. Or self-loathing. Or regret. Or worry about the damage I was doing to myself.
And, the morning of the day I decided that I’d had enough – that I had to stop or I was going to die before my time, by my own hand – I was as scared as I’d been in as long as I could remember.
Scared that I’d never have fun again. Scared that it would negatively affect my relationship with my husband. Scared that I wouldn’t know how to fill the gaping hole that would be left.
So much has changed since that day.
Yes, I’ll admit that I was sad and teary and terrified to leave my old buddy, my pal booze, behind forever. I was in an emotional free fall, plummeting blindly without a clue where I’d land. I felt raw and weird – like my skin was inside out. And after a month or so of what seemed like a bone-deep craving for sleep – these emotions started bubbling up from some pit in my psyche. And I didn’t know what the hell to do with them!
I had so much help from Belle (Tired of Thinking About Drinking) and her 100-Day Challenge. Her daily emails gave me accountability and a lifeline to a sober mentor. She’d give me homework assignments and reassure me that everything I was feeling and thinking was 100% normal and to be expected. I ate all the treats that I’d denied myself for years: homemade macaroons, pies, cakes and cookies. What fun I had! And I still lost weight without trying. I read sobriety memoirs and found Mrs. D. and UnPickled on the internet. I started writing this blog and eventually found my way into that private Facebook sobriety support group I’ve mentioned before. That was another game changer.
I cut way back on “have to” and focused way more on “want to.” My husband and I are taking ice-skating lessons! I’ve started taking a weekly yoga class and intend to explore that even more often as the school year wraps up and I have the summer off.
There have been more subtle changes that I only notice when certain situations arise: conflict or any kind of emotional discomfort. I find that I perseverate and beat myself up less. I’m learning how to sit with unpleasant feelings and not immediately try to change them. And I can’t even remember the last time I picked a stupid argument with my husband or went to bed in tears over some real or imagined slight. We’ve never been closer…. His eyes shine with pride when he looks at me. Even better – I’m proud of who I am. This is something only total badasses do! And another surprise is that he drinks much less than he did before. I was a very bad influence, I’m afraid…
Life continues to be “interesting.” I’m becoming more confident that no matter what happens, I can handle it without altering my mental state. Or even wanting to.
Which is pretty amazing, considering the fact that only 20 short months ago, that was my automatic go-to; my one and only coping mechanism.
Oh, friends. Don’t get me wrong. My life isn’t perfect. I’m certainly not perfect. But life is so much better and richer and more authentic and more – real – than I could’ve ever imagined. Or dared to hope for, on the morning of August 18th, 2014.
I’m one of the lucky ones who got to make the decision to walk away, before there were any horrible consequences.
You can do this, too. Care to take a walk with me?