I’ve got two weeks left. TWO WEEKS! That’s nothing, comparatively, and yet it feels like a millennium away.
I’ve done a fairly shitty job articling my journey, thus a long(ish) summary of how this has all made me feel is well deserved.
You know one of the biggest reasons I haven’t written more? Because I’m worried you’ll find it boring. I keep thinking you’ll get half way through (if that) and then decide it’s “too deep” or “too serious” and stop reading. I mean, it’s not like this is a blog about traveling the world, or doing other exciting things, like baking gluten-dairy-soy-free vegan muffins. But this one isn’t for the people who think it’s boring. This one is for all of the people who wonder if maybe they drink too much, or feel guilty, or wonder if life would be better if they just stopped for a while. This one is to all of those, who like me, think that if they could just cut out their vices that their life would be “on track.”
Do I have my shit together? Most days I don’t think I have my shit together. Compared to how together I want my shit to be, it’s not that together. But I’m sure, to some people, it looks like I have my shit pretty together. (I’m done with the shitty paragraph.) (That one’s for Stacy.)
Stopping drinking didn’t get my life together. What actually happened was that I chose to stop drinking because I wanted to get my life together. So the actual catalyst wasn’t the lack of alcohol (although in many ways it made it a lot easier), but actually just making a choice to prioritize my life differently in order to put what really mattered first. Granted, I removed what was a huge part of my life to make room for all the other things, so I’d be lying if I said sobriety hadn’t allowed me to accomplish more.
Maybe you’re wondering if I think it was worth it. Was giving up a year of wine on date nights, ciders on the patio with friends, gluhwein at the Christmas Market and après ski cocktails worth everything I gained? Of course. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH MONEY I SAVED!?! I mean, I don’t even think I realized how expensive my love of all things alcohol had become. We all say we know, but until you actually do it, for an entire year, through every holiday and season, you have no idea.
Now, I’m not sure if it’s just because at this point I’m well-adjusted to my new clean liver, but my brain power and my body don’t feel all that “clearer.” I really anticipated waking up with more energy and feeling mentally quicker. Maybe I did, and now I’m just accustomed to it. Truthfully, I guarantee I’d feel better just exercising more without needing to cut out the booze. Science may argue my anecdote. Sometimes I think I feel more tired, but that’s probably just because I’m busy over accomplishing every day with my lack of hangovers and unrealized brain potential. *wink, wink*
Did I miss it? Did I ever! I want to be invited out again! More so, I actually want to want to go when I get invited out. It’s one thing for your friends to not include you because you’re the sober one. It’s a whole other pile of self-pity when you bail because you’re the sober one. But I mean, you drunk people really aren’t as much fun as you think you are. Sorry!
What I miss most, is just forgetting. Now, now, I know you aren’t supposed to drink to forget, and that’s definitely the sign of some unresolved issues. But take it from a woman who just spent a year facing her life (and it’s a pretty darn easy one) without an alcohol break. I have a lot of relaxing hobbies; yoga, colouring, knitting, tea drinking, reading, journaling, going for walks. . . essentially I’m a pretty active 70 year old! But none of those things pull you away from the world like a single glass of Tempranillo can. I’m not saying I want to get hammered and try to forget that I’m still serving when I’m nearly thirty (trust me, I’ve dealt with that. . . the colouring is a god send, I swear!) I could happily say I could go the rest of my life dealing with my stress alcohol-free. But I don’t want to. I want to have a couple ounces of scotch some nights after a really long work night and just relax. You know how in relationships it’s said that we should choose our battles? Like, sometimes you just need to let it go? Well, sometimes the relationship is with yourself, and sometimes a beer after work with the guys is the best way to “let it go.”
I’m not putting any expectations on what getting off the wagon is going to be like. I can 100% promise I’m not going to party like it’s my 19th birthday (I didn’t party that hard then, anyway.) To be honest, it just doesn’t feel like that big of a deal anymore. I’m more so just excited to take the leash off. Spending an entire year telling yourself you can’t do something you really enjoy is hard. And as I type that sentence I realize it’s also kind of stupid. It was a great, challenging, extremely enlightening experience that I’m happy to say I can’t see myself doing again (exceptions being pregnancy and supporting friends.)
More than anything, I’m really looking forward to sharing a bottle of wine (or scotch) with my man who’s been the most supportive and patient boyfriend a sober chick could ask for. A year later, life still doesn’t feel normal without the occasional alternate reality provide by alcohol, and I’m totally okay with admitting that.
My advice after all this? If you think you need a break, you probably do. How long that break should be really depends on how long it will take for you to reprioritize your habits so that alcohol doesn’t come before things like: relationships, financial stability, health, career. . . as a matter of fact, alcohol doesn’t get to come before anything. If alcohol is priority over anything actually important in your life, get yourself some help. Feel free to contact me; I know some great people you can talk to.
Cheers to you and yours over the holidays! Enjoy that [extra] glass of bubbly on my account.