So this is Day 1.
It feels scary and small. Like it could be blown away by the slightest gust or stressful day. Honestly, I’m scared shitless.
But I’m committed. I have a plan and a support network, and I’ve already started telling those closest to me. I’m hoping that these days will accumulate and get easier, and that the accumulation of self-controlled moments will be an inspiration to keep going. Maybe by making this public it’ll help me to feel accountable, even if I’m the only one reading. Journaling outside my own head could only help, right?
2017 has been a year of internal change, for many reasons not the least of which was the self-reflection that came from turning 40. The importance of loving myself never clamored as loudly for my attention before. It took some emotional and physical issues for me to wake up to that need, and the realization that no one else was going to fill it. As part of that journey, I’ve decided to give up alcohol. Not indefinitely – I keep telling myself… because that makes it easier. The finality of never drinking ever again is too heavy. I mean, wine! with food! beer with friends! a chill G&T on a hot summer’s day!
But for me, similarly to my experience with smoking… I can’t just curb it. I need to cut it out, at least for now. Somehow, the black and white decision to quit seems like it will ultimately make things easier than trying to moderate. And it seems fitting that I quit cigarettes (for the last time) in my 30th year, and now here I am at 40, making a similar decision. The fact that I conquered that addition gives me confidence that I can conquer this one.
What are my reasons for doing this? Me, myself and I – primarily. A close second are my 3 year old boys, my husband, and the life we’re working hard to create. I want to be in control of my life. I’m tired of being short with my family because I haven’t had a drink yet, or because I have and it makes me mean, or because I’m tired and hungover and my head hurts. I’m tired of hangovers! And of knowing I can’t take certain medications because they react with alcohol and I’d rather chose the alcohol. I’m tired of feeling driven, at a certain point in the day, to drink. Anxious. I know the clock is ticking and I’m not getting younger. Addiction does not get better, it only gets worse… and I’ve seen this happening over the last 6 years. Each year, drinking more and feeling less control. I feel shame about my lack of control, and I’m tired of feeling that way.
FUCK this evil monster.
I know it won’t be easy. In fact, I know it will be one of the hardest things I’ll ever do. My husband drinks, and I know it will be hard to be around him. We already struggle in our communication, and this will only add more distance to an already distant relationship. My friends all drink – some more than others, so that will be hard too. A crutch during stressful times (which is all the time right now), a way to celebrate socially, a pairing with food, an excuse to travel, a layer of enjoyment to every-day occasions like sitting on the patio, a reward at the end of the day. Alcohol is such a part of my life – it will be hard to replace.
But I have a Plan, and I have a deep driving anger in my gut against this poison. My intense desire to do a better job of loving myself is also fueling this decision.
This needs to be Enough. It will be Enough. I’ve had Enough.