Wednesday April 21st, 2021
The last several weeks have been good. I seem to have climbed out of the doldrums I was experiencing in February and the beginning of March, have more energy and have gotten back to feeling much more positive about not drinking. I’m not craving alcohol or feeling deprived; I just feel happy, healthy, and proud of myself.
Somewhere along the way over the past few weeks I came to an important realization: nothing will ever replace alcohol, and that’s okay. The anticipation of it, the high I get from drinking it, all of the feelings of excitement and “fun” surrounding it………..those things can’t be replaced. Nothing will ever affect me the same way, or give me the same feelings that alcohol did and part of that is chemical, part psychological, part emotional, and part physical. This is a substance I have granted so much power for so many years. I gave it the power to ease my sorrow when I felt down, to heighten my joy when I was happy, to relax me when I felt stressed, to make me feel cozy and warm on a cold winter’s night, or cool and refreshed on a hot summer afternoon. Such a powerful elixir. How could one not become addicted? But when you take a closer look, it’s actually all smoke and mirrors. None of it is real, and this realization makes it easier to say goodbye.
In the new life I’ve chosen, nothing will replace the adrenalin rush I get from anticipating a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio (or two) on a warm summer night, but the key has been to stop searching for a replacement. Instead I am focused on the contentment and peace of mind I feel when I wake up feeling good. Every. Single. Morning. And the contentment and peace of mind I feel all day long knowing that I am not slowly damaging all of my organs and killing brain cells every day.
For some reason I was scanning through some old photos this morning in bed while drinking my coffee and I came across pics from a trip to Portugal the hubby and I took in 2018. I can see the alcohol in my face. It looks puffy, red, tired and worn. I don’t like the way I look in the photos at all, but in addition to that, it reminded me of how I felt. There are several pics he snapped of me across from him at dinner, enjoying a glass of wine (probably more like a bottle though of course!), and looking at these photos brought me right back to the way I felt at the time. I know that I would have anticipated and waited for evening the entire day. Waiting for that moment I could finally enjoy a glass of wine. I would have enjoyed the rest of the day as well, but in many ways it was all just time to be logged before I could drink again. Having that first glass of wine with dinner I would feel relief rush over me, and finally be at peace and content to enjoy the moment. Soon I would be drunk and tired, the evening would be a blur and I would pass out into a deep sleep, just to start the cycle over again in the morning. Feeling not well rested, probably a bit irritable, dehydrated and achey, I would start my day again already thinking about when I could drink again.
That’s no way to live. And the adrenalin rush, excitement, and anticipation of that first drink of the day is not worth the battle in my body and mind that it creates before and after.
I look forward to a time (hopefully someday soon!), when I can enjoy travelling again with the hubby and not have to think about alcohol. Not having alcohol as the centrepiece of the entire experience will open up a whole new world of discovery and joy. With alcohol as the focus of every adventure, you miss out on so much beauty.
It’s hard to let go of what you believe alcohol provides, but dropping the idea of replacing it and focusing on a whole new way of living seems to be the answer for me at the moment.