One More Time

“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.

8 thoughts on “One More Time

  1. Eschewing life and living on the dark side; yeah, that got me too. It’s weird to be so squeaky clean now, isn’t it? But better and less painful. It’s lovely to hear that you are feeling more capable and hopeful than ever before. That’s a big deal.

  2. This post screams GROWTH! You have grown so much it is inspiring. I have come to think of quitting drinking much like parenting. There are key aspects that you do not anticipate or understand until you go through it for yourself. There are not many times in life that you make such a giant leap to change your identity. I looking back I see year after year and event after event with a drink in my hand. I too do not ever want to go back to my old ways. I am past the physical cravings, but I still notice the triggers. Yesterday I thought, if this had happened a few months ago, I would totally get wasted. That is a pretty amazing thing to think. I know this would have made me get drunk before, and today I just think huh that is what I used to do. Good times, good times – Keep it real – Heather

    • Oh yes, the triggers are still everywhere for me. It is exhausting at times watching out for them. It is pretty cool to be learning new coping skills for dealing with life, though, instead of getting wasted! Sometimes the growth feels slow but I think I will one day look back and think, wow! What an amazing time! xx

  3. I love everything about this post, Jen! Especially the bit about how quitting drinking is a BIG DEAL requiring so many things to change. I think it’s important that we remember to give ourselves credit for that. At 130-ish days I’ll sometimes find myself feeling really uncomfortable or crabby in a particular situation and won’t understand why until I think ‘oh that’s right, you’ve never done Thing X sober before.’ And then suddenly I feel okay about it because I’ve remembered that what I’m doing is pretty new and I have to cut myself some slack. Thank you for this post–I agree with Heather that it’s inspiring. And keep on keeping on! –Kristi

    • Aw, thanks Kristi! The phrase ‘the only thing you have to change is everything’ gets stuck in my head sometimes because it is kind of true. 🙂 That’s good that you are able to have those realizations about being sober and cut yourself some slack; I am still getting to the point where I am even TRYING things sober. One thing at a time! xx

  4. I love this post! I also thought that I couldn’t be creative if I wasn’t drinking, that I needed to be a lush to be “cool” or “dark”. Whatever the fuck that means.

    I find that I get more anxious not about me wanting to drink in social situations, but that other people are.

    You sound good and strong.

    • Where did that idea come from, haha? A lot of people seem to think creativity and lushery are one and the same. I seem to be much more creative without alcohol! I am probably not very cool or dark, either, but I am pretty sure I never was. 😉 xx

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