Well, well, well, look who made it one week without alcohol! It may be a small victory, but it’s a win nonetheless.
To those of you reading this as a follow up to last week’s announcement that I’ll be living sober, I want to say a special thank you. The amount of love and support I received was overwhelming. I feel so blessed to have each and every one of you cheering me on and even more honored that you would take the time to come back and read up on how I’m doing. You are all lovely people and I thank you for that.
I learned a lot about myself this week. I learned that I actually enjoy life a little more when I have more to look forward to than a trip to the bar. I learned that alcohol really DID have that much negative of an impact on my mental health and I’m so much healthier without it. I learned that soda makes me breakout (I started substituting alcohol with soda… bad idea. We’re back to water and decaf coffee now). But most importantly, I learned that it was ridiculous I’d been so afraid to STOP drinking for so long.
There were months leading up to me quitting alcohol where I would think, “I should really just stop drinking altogether. I could do it if I really wanted to. I’ve taken breaks from it before.” But then I would get filled with this sort of uneasy feeling. Like I was endangering myself by even considering a life without alcohol.
I had a real issue with myself when I was drinking. I couldn’t stand the person I’d become. I spent most days reaching out to my sober self, begging for help. Asking her where she went. Little did I realize, I was drowning her in whiskey. Pushing her farther away instead of reviving her like I longed so much to do. But at that time, I didn’t realize the alcohol was making everything worse. I thought without alcohol I wouldn’t be enough. In my mind alcohol made me more fun, more interesting. It made me desirable and easy to love, unlike how I felt when I wasn’t tossing back drinks like a fish.
This week without alcohol has opened my eyes. I was so scared to stop drinking for the longest time. I already disliked myself so much, I was afraid I wouldn’t like who I was without it so much more. But the truth I didn’t realize was that the alcohol was the fuel to my self-hatred fire. It was the real reason I no longer loved myself. I allowed alcohol to call the shots. To give me courage to say the things I was too scared to say sober. To seek out what I felt I was lacking. I allowed it to turn me into someone I didn’t recognize. Someone I hated.
I was mistaking myself with alcohol as who I am without it. In reality, those are two very different people. We have the one that puts aside her self-worth for the approval of others and one that loves herself fearlessly. One that drunk calls her exes and one that demands respect. One that disregards the situation she’s put other people in and one that goes out of her way to make everyone feel comfortable. I was consistently making stupid mistakes that made me feel so out of control that I lost sight of the person God created me to be. I let Satan make me believe that my drinking habit was all that was left of me, so I held on for dear life.
This week, the person I am without alcohol, who I really am, has finally been allowed to shine through once again. Little did I realize, she was there all along. She was just waiting for me to make the right decision.
This is not to say I didn’t have my moments this past week. I went to a twenty one pilots concert on Wednesday and the guy next to me was drinking a beer. It was all I could do not to get one, but I managed to get a soda instead. The result? I enjoyed the concert on a totally different level. I felt the music in my soul, something I’d gone without feeling since I started drinking heavily. I went to my usual watering hole for dinner tonight and wanted nothing more than a drink with my meal. The alternative? A virgin Bloody Mary. Turns out you can still enjoy some wonderful drinks WITHOUT the alcohol!
A week and one day ago I was suicidal. For the first time in my battle against depression and anxiety, after a night of heavy drinking, I was actually considering ways to kill myself. But by the grace of God and through the love the people in my life have for me, I pushed through and chose life.
There is a song by twenty one pilots called Neon Gravestones. It’s about being careful not to glorify the choice to take one’s own life, but to find the strength within yourself to keep fighting. To ignore the voices in your head telling you it would be easier to end it all. It’s about finding people older and wiser than you and learning from their dedication to life no matter how hard it may have been.
Because I chose to live, I got to see one of my favorite bands stand 200 ft. away from me and play that song live. It was as if Tyler was singing it just for me.
Choosing to walk away from a drunken escape saved my life. It opened the door to a new level of self-love I never knew existed. It has shown me just how blessed I am to still be here. To have all these people in my life supporting me and rooting for me.
I was once so scared to leave alcohol behind. Now I only wish I’d done it sooner.