595 Days

It is amazing to me that I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol in 595 days. I have been going through some transitions in my attitude, and I finally feel like it is all settling into place. I am learning who I am, what I want, and forging my own path in life. It doesn’t look anything like I thought it would look when I quit drinking. When I quit I couldn’t see very far outside of the box that drinking had placed me in. I knew my life couldn’t feel much worse, but I had no idea how much better it could actually be. I had no idea that I was stepping into the light, beginning a path of healing where I would eventually release a lot of old baggage and fears. Here are some example of how my life, thinking, and feelings have changed since I put the damn bottle down.

I used to be extremely angry at my parents. I was angry at their drinking, the fact that we moved a lot while I was growing up, the way they handled their divorce, their denial around alcoholism. I still have momentary glimpses of that anger, but for the most part I have dealt with it. We might never have the relationship that I want, but I finally can see that nobody has a perfect relationship with their parents. Mine might have involved a certain level of trauma, but that is in the past. I am learning how to parent myself and now I can accept our relationships for what they are. Doing that has made these relationships, and myself, happier and healthier.

I no longer feel frightened of authority figures. I used to carry this shame around with me, even when I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I felt like I was on the verge of being arrested, or somehow called into question, whenever I was around an authority figure. I felt like a phony and a fraud. I did break the law sometimes, which didn’t help these feelings, but I carried more shame than I needed to. I have put that baggage aside, and I no longer feel afraid of those with power greater than my own.

I have stopped comparing my life with the lives of others, at least somewhat. I used to feel crippled by those kinds of thoughts, from the time that I was quite young; I think it started in junior high school and I never really stopped. Maybe because I started drinking at age 14? I think one of the ways my development was affected by drinking was that I never learned about my own “locus of control”. I was always a victim of my circumstances instead of feeling like I could change them. I had a few glimpses of healthier self-esteem and greater self-efficacy throughout my adult years, but the drinking always brought me back to bad places. Now that the drinking is done, I have been better able to dig myself out of that hole. I have realized that I have the power to create my own life, especially if I focus on myself and don’t worry so much about what others are doing.

I am no longer paralyzed with self doubt whenever I start something new. I used to be a perfectionist who often didn’t do things due to fear of failure. I now see that as being very silly, even if it is amazingly common. I try to break things down into much smaller chunks so that a project doesn’t look so overwhelming. I also give myself more breaks. Discipline, self-acceptance and kindness actually go quite well together!

I am sure there are many more, but those are some of the positive things that I have been noticing lately. I am a work in progress, and I am totally okay with that. Progress not perfection, my friends!

20 thoughts on “595 Days

  1. This is really fantastic and all with 595 days, one at a time. Quite a list to be grateful for. To me what is so exciting about all of this as well is that the process can continue.

    Best wishes,

  2. Thank you for this encouraging post! I was especially intrigued by your mentioning having felt like you were about to get arrested or something … Uncanny. I didn’t imagine anyone else felt that way. I went through (am maybe still going through) a phase where I constantly felt like I was about to “get into trouble” —not that I was going to “do” something, but rather that I was going to “get caught” for something (?!) already done. I so appreciate your sharing that! 7+ months and counting.

  3. I can relate to so much of this! The fear of failure, authority and the self-doubt are all too familiar. It inspires me greatly to know that these are things that have improved in sobriety for you. Awesome work! I hope that I too can heal in these ways and I am starting to see it being possible. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Congratulations on 595! I am on day 545 and I have been following you along the way because you are so inspirational and it seems we have quite a lot in common – you have helped me in so many ways by sharing what you do. Thank you for your well written posts they are always such a treat to read!

  5. Hi Jen. You sound fantastic! How lovely to hear. It really is heartening to see you doing so well. I love what you say about self doubt and perfectionism–silly is right! I’m learning that too, though I’m also a work in progress. Take care and thanks for this inspiring post! xo

  6. I started my journey on Monday 06th April. I was dreading Friday night but I am managing ok! I have read your blog this past week which has kept me going so a big thank you to you 🙂 I have nearly caved a few times but you have inspired me to keep going! x

  7. I can relate so well to that lingering sense of shame. I still get it once in a while when I’m triggered, but can bounce back within a day. Before it might be a few weeks, or even a few months. And then when I pulled myself out, something would plunge me back in. But I too found my locus of control and started driving my own damn car instead of being a helpless passenger. I’ll have a year in 2 days 🙂 Thanks for sharing, you really inspired me to keep my head held high today!

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