“If this happens one more time, I am done. I am quitting.” I said that phrase two or three times during the months leading up to the day that I actually quit. I was referring to blacking out. Drinking to a place where I was out of my mind. Feeling so hungover the next day that I was practically worthless until at least noon. I am trying not to dwell too much on past mistakes that still have the power to make me feel like shit, but yuck, yuck and yuck.
Quitting drinking is super overwhelming because it is a huge and complicated task, to put it simply. It requires that you change your life. Not just your life, either, your brain. The way that you think about things. The way that you behave. Oh no big deal, I just changed EVERYTHING about myself. Everything that made me ME. Or at least it seems that way at first. In reality, however, the things that make me ME (or you YOU) are still there. And they get better and better the longer you stay sober.
Drinking was so tied in with my self-image that I believed that the deterioration of my life was actually pretty cool. I read Hunter S. Thompson and Charles Bukowski and saw myself in them in a romantic, twisted way. Yeah, I was fucked up, but it was also beautiful to be so damaged. To eschew society and embrace the dark side. To live life on the wrong side of the tracks. And you know what? I still see the beauty and feel that way sometimes, but I am wising up and letting go of those notions. It is not so romantic anymore…it seems unenlightened to live that way.
You have to find a way to believe that your life could be better if you were to quit, and that is fucking hard to do when you are in the midst of an addiction. I prayed, and I genuinely believe that praying helped give me the strength to make a change. It saved my life. And I am so scared of going back to that old lifestyle that I pray every single day without fail. I pray to the Universe to help me stay sober. Life is too damn precious to waste going down that path. I lived, learned, and am moving on with my life.
I have to say that not drinking is getting easier a lot of the time, but I still have huge moments of doubt that I can do this forever. I still feel like I stick out like a sore thumb in social situations. I still focus WAY too much on the future and what MIGHT happen. I still wonder if life is worth living without drinking (luckily that thought is pretty rare). Generally, though, I feel so much more hopeful about the future than I used to. Maybe since I was a child, even. I feel so much more capable. Life seems to be unfolding in a way that makes SENSE. Most of the time it is so much better than I would have imagined.