Tomorrow marks a month since I decided to be alcohol-free and needless to say, there has been a lot of change. Taking alcohol out of the equation has allowed me to take some necessary steps toward the life I strive to live. It’s actually quite refreshing.
I wanted to take today to reflect on some of the ways being alcohol-free has influenced my day-to-day life. Sure, big picture, I’m healthier. But personally, I find the beauty to be in the details.
I’m happier with my decisions.
When drunk you makes a decision, it’s easy to wake up the next day and question everything you did. In my experience, I ended up reading way too far into what each choice meant. What label would be applied to me? What did it mean about me as a person? But wait, I was drunk, so was it even really me? Alcohol was making decisions for me and sober me had to face the consequences of it’s actions. Even if it was a choice sober me never would have made.
When you make a decision sober, there isn’t any question. YOU made the decision, not alcohol. You chose to send that text, visit that place, see that person. You chose what you were going to do next. You are in total control. And yes, sometimes it sucks to have to own up to a sober mistake, but I assure you, it’s better to have made that mistake with a sound mind.
I’m closer to the people in my life.
After I went public with my choice to be alcohol-free, a lot of people opened up to me about their own struggles. Not necessarily with alcohol, but with things getting in the way of them and the life they want to live. By no means do I claim to be an expert on removing those obstacles, but I am a friend. I am always down to be a listening ear.
This choice has allowed me to get to know the people in my life on a different, deeper level. It has brought us closer together as we bear one another’s burdens and keep each other accountable. I am so thankful for the family, friends, and readers that have reached out to me in the last month. Having the privilege to go on this journey with them is nothing less than a blessing.
I love and respect myself more.
I numbed a lot of pain with alcohol. The pain of rejection, abandonment, and settling for less than I deserved. While it numbed the pain temporarily, every shot of whiskey felt like it was lodging a bullet in my heart. Each one slowly tearing through any love or respect I had for myself. Alcohol may have made me numb to my pain, but it also made me numb to the person I was without it. The person I loved very much.
Without alcohol, I appreciate the effort I put into each day. I recognize when I’ve done something I can be proud of. I rest easy knowing that even if it was a rough day, I got through it on my own. For me, being sober means always getting to be the person I was meant to be. Someone I’m proud to be. Someone I love.
I’m closer to God.
For the longest time I felt like I couldn’t hear God. Like I’d been reaching out to Him for years, only to feel as if He’d ignored my cries for help. In reality, I was turning to alcohol for help and then getting mad at God when my life didn’t improve.
Being sober has allowed me to hear God clearly. To know when He’s near. It has given me time to sit in His presence and just be. To let go of any worries I may have and allow Him to ease my heart and mind. God is not my distraction. He is my shield, my safe place, my savior. THAT is something the temporary escape of alcohol could never be.
I’m learning how to face the anxiety alcohol kept away.
Now, while all of this is great and being alcohol-free has done a lot of good, there are still some drawbacks. Alcohol kept a lot of my anxiety away. If I was nervous about something, I could just toss back a shot and carry on with my evening. Now, I’m left to face the anxiety on my own.
What’s the positive side of this? A goal of mine is to one day have a healthy relationship with alcohol. To do that, I have to learn to cope without it. I have to face my anxiety head-on. It’s not easy, but I’m slowly putting the puzzle pieces together. Luckily, I have a lot of amazing people that are there for me when those scary, anxious moments hit. I never have to face them totally alone.
So, while being alcohol-free has already changed my life quite a bit, I’m still learning a lot. I’m still growing, still looking forward to the future, and pushing through each day. One day at a time.