I’ve been reflecting a lot lately, I mean A LOT. At the end of next month, I will be one whole year alcohol free! Considering the 1st time I consciously stopped drinking as an adult (except for pregnancies) was February 2017, you could say this year long achievement has been 3 years in the making.
Several weeks ago, I went through a period in which my alcoholic voice (Betsy) was testing me. I had thoughts such as, “Maybe I should drink after I get to a year.” Or “What’s the big deal, I made it a year, I won’t get back into that cycle.”
I know this is garbage, all complete bullshit. Orchestrated by that conniving Betsy, taking advantage of every vulnerable moment. I hadn’t heard from her in quite a while though, almost forgot about her.
Today is the last day of our mid-winter break. Mid winter break reminds me of a bad memory, from mid winter break in 2019 or 2018, I think 2018 but the memory is so fresh I always think it was just last year. It was the Monday of the break, and I woke up planning on being productive. It was during a period that I was sober most of the time, but was drinking every 10 days or so. While cleaning up, I decided to finish off the box of wine that was in my garage. There wasn’t much left, I figured enough for a little buzz and then I’d be done. That didn’t happen. I was pretty buzzed but wanted more. I drove myself to the store and got another box, hoping the cashier couldn’t see that I was buzzed, I’m not even sure why I cared. I continued to drink and ended up passing out before my hubby got home from work.
I HATE day drinking. I hated it then and I hate it now. Nothing about it is good– no matter how much Betsy tried or tries to convince me otherwise.
This memory is powerful. All of the bad ones are.
On a day like today, I can be so completely grateful that it no longer has a tight grip around my neck. Thank you bad memories!
The trip to Florida a couple weeks ago left much to be desired, but it contained an important lesson on how I never want to live my life again. Quite perfect as Betsy is trying to derail me after a year’s achievement.
Today is Day 328. 328 days ago I had woken up at 3:00 am in a puddle of piss, wondering if my heated mattress pad was ruined. I was mortified wondering if hubby’s side was still dry, thinking that there was no way he didn’t know. I cleaned up what I could and went to the couch, to try to get back to sleep.
Work was just awful. I was exhausted, physically feeling ill and shaky from the poison I ingested the night before, which happened to be my son’s 16th birthday. I had showered, but still felt like I smelled like urine. I was full of shame. I wondered if my husband would leave me, and when he texted me a vague text in the afternoon, I wondered if the underlying tone was “You’re no good, I do not want to be with you anymore.” I couldn’t fathom him still wanting to be with me. I was full of guilt. I knew I was an awful mom and that what I was doing was not alright.
While this was an extreme day, I often used to go to work with a pretty massive hangover, or at the very least a looming headache (nearly every single day for years). I would wake up swearing that I wasn’t going to drink, but all that would be forgotten in the evening when the dreaded wine witch called. “How could I ever live without this?” I would think and honestly not have any idea how that was even fathomable.
That’s addiction. It turns your brain against you. It makes you think false thoughts. It makes you think that without the substance, you will suffer greatly.
Funny thing is that without that substance, alcohol, I got happy. I spent years questioning my drinking. As a teacher in Michigan, I spend my entire summer in the water or at the beach. I put off quitting drinking for a long time, because I knew that there was no way possible I’d ever want to spend the summer sans alcohol. So why quit at all? I find it so ironic that the best summer of my life was 2019, and coincidentally the first summer that included zero drinking. So, if you’re reading this and want to quit drinking but have been putting it off, please take my experience into consideration.
Don’t get me wrong, I need to work hard to keep myself happy. During the summer, most nights I went to bed early and rose early most days. I read and wrote just about everyday. I stayed active, walking, running and riding my bike. I gardened and worked around the house. I played with the kids and relaxed in the pool with a book and sparkling water. A far cry from the drinking summers that left me exhausted and depressed without the structure of school.
The biggest gift these past few years have given me is gratitude. I am so incredibly grateful to be where I’m at mentally, physically and spiritually. I am grateful for every single day that I go to bed sober. I remain humble, knowing that I will always need to continue to learn and grow in order to remain healthy, mentally, spiritually and physically. I will continue to purge my junk in the house and in the house (aka, my soul) in order to maintain a good level of happiness and sanity.
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?