As I approach three months of sobriety, I think back on what has felt like a lifetime. It’s weird because three months isn’t that long, but my life has changed so drastically since I gave up drinking, I feel like I’m living a totally different life. My life.
When I was letting alcohol dictate my decisions, I felt like I was living someone else’s life. Every move I made during that time was so out of character for me and the person I wanted to be.
I wanted to be close with the people around me, but I was so broken inside and I used alcohol to mask my pain. I wanted a healthy relationship, but kept falling in with guys that always wanted to go out and get drunk. I wanted a life I was proud of, even if it wasn’t perfect. I ended up with a life that was so far off from what I desired for myself, I contemplated ending it.
It feels like forever ago that I decided to give up drinking. I feel so different, more stable. I don’t even think about drinking. When I’m asked to go out with friends, I’m not stricken with fear over the idea of being around alcohol. When I face painful emotions, I don’t immediately think, “I want a drink.” When I’m offered a drink, it’s nothing for me to say, “No thanks, I don’t drink.” It’s something I’ve grown to be proud of.
This is not to say I have a problem with people drinking. I most certainly don’t. I admire those that know how to handle it, but I fear most of us don’t.
The best advice I can give at this moment in time to anyone that thinks they NEED alcohol to enjoy life, listen, I’ve been there. I understand. I used to think drinking made me worth having around. I thought it made me part of something. But all it really did was put a wedge between me and the life I was meant to live. It separated me from feelings I desperately needed to process in order to enjoy life. It ruined relationships and pushed people out of my life over stupid, petty things. Alcohol slowly pushed me into a corner where it had total control. I was powerless against it, but only because I allowed it to have all the power.
You DO NOT need alcohol. You are a fun, lovable, incredible, worthy person without it. You have something to give, a purpose, that you’re stealing from the world because it’s easier to hid behind the alcohol than to own who you are. I know. But I also know how freeing it is to live without the drinks. I’ve tasted the sweetness of a life that isn’t defined by what I did while blacked out last night. I’m not controlled by people’s expectations of whether I should or shouldn’t be drinking because it’s my life and I know what’s best for me. Yes, sometimes the best decision isn’t the easy one. But it is always the decision worth making.