It’s been 800 days since my last alcoholic beverage. Do I think about drinking a lot? Nope, not really. Occasionally I crave a drinking session with hubby or a friend, where we laugh way too loud at meaningless things and wake up feeling horribly, not just physically- but mentally and emotionally too. The last part of that is enough to brush the thought off with a quick, “Not today Satan.” I hope it’s always that way, memories can be so powerful.
I was reminded of those hungover feelings recently. We had some family over last weekend. It was a great night with many laughs. One family member ran to get his beer during the evening, but other than that no one was drinking. I am so thankful that my circle of close people are not drinkers, for this makes my journey a million times easier, but I digress.
I woke up the next day with a feeling of paranoia. This would be normal, if I had been drinking. Thoughts like, I wonder what I said to ______, or I hope I didn’t _______, would plague my mind. As I started to clean up the messy kitchen, that little voice was jabbing me.
It was the memory.
I didn’t drink, but did feel a little hungover. We had been going going going all weekend and then ate a ton of crap food and stayed up way too late- so physically I did feel my body purging the toxins, and it felt so familiar. The feeling, the mess, the circle of campfire chairs outside and a huge pile of ash, and that teeny little voice that wanted me to feel guilty.
It’s amazing how our brains can trick us and how powerful our minds can be. I think this is the most important and most powerful thing that I have learned going through recovery. My brain convinced me for years that I needed wine to unwind, when really it just added to the pile of stress, and in a multitude of ways. After a day or two without it, my brain would be screaming at me.
But it didn’t sound angry, it sounded rational and sounded just like my own voice. Some days I could abstain, but other days it was like a light switch. I could be having an amazing day, preaching about how much I love sobriety, but then a shift would happen and before I knew what I was doing, I was in the car driving to the store for booze.
The more I gave in, the louder it became. But I started to notice something.
The longer I abstained, the less I heard from the voice (who by now, I had given a name and a whole entity known as “Betsy”). It didn’t take long for the voice to start to diminish. Days 3 or 4 seemed to be the worst, but after about 4 days it would start to slowly retreat. By 3-4 weeks, it’s hardly noticeable and usually just pops up at random (but often vulnerable) times.
Even back in 2017, when my journey first began, the voice wreaked havoc.
I knew it back then, but it still took until 2019 to finally quit for good. I had a lot of learning and practicing to do, but now I can see that my hundreds of day ones have served an important purpose and all of it has helped me with the voice and my internal peace.
At day 800, I am extremely grateful, for every day and all the past experiences, events, people and setbacks that helped me get here <3