stopping drinking is just the beginning

I haven’t had a drink since September 14, 2016. That is 156 days and a little over 5 months. I may have stopped drinking but I don’t really feel the emotional tide changing.

I am not naive and there was this part of me that kind of thought that once I stopped drinking that I would be “better.” I know that I told myself, on those mornings after a night of drinking, “if you stop you will feel better about yourself.” Granted, I do physically feel better (with the exception of the increase of sugar eating). Emotionally, I am all over the place. I think that I have often thought, “if this, then this.””If I get out of this awful relationship, then I will be happy.” “If I just get this job, then I will be happy.” “If , if,if,…then,then,then….” You get the picture. If something would just happen, then I would get this. I had a lot riding on this quitting drinking thing. I expected my relationship with my husband to thrive and turn around. I expected that things would *snap* into place. I know that the clouds were not going to part and fairy dust wasn’t going to make everything better BUT I kind of wish it would have. A teensy part of me would love to be “better.”

As I write this, I am realizing that maybe, just maybe there has been a bit of fairy dust happening, after all. Just this week, I went to a talk about white privilege and another talk about race relations and sat in a circle talking to complete strangers about how we can be better humans. I could feel how present I really was. How I really listened and spoke from my heart. Before, I would have drank before I went to the talk – to loosen up, to get that liquid courage.

Stopping drinking really is the beginning. There is work to do. Self-care is the next step. Asking for help. In a couple of hours I am going to see a counselor who is going to work with me on The Work . Then I meet with my friend who is the life coach. Then I am going to spend the evening with my friends playing a game and eating pizza. Most of them will be drinking. I won’t.

I am ready to do the work. I want to show up in my own life. I am showing up in my own life. I like this sober thing even when I am not liking this life thing. I am so thankful to not be drinking during this tragic time in our history. I am present and will remain present. I am going to be showing up EVERYWHERE!

This post is all over the place. What I am trying to say is, if you are new to sobriety and you thought that quitting drinking was going to make everything better and you are feeling edgy and that nothing is better, take a step back. Look around. Look inside. Every minute/second that you don’t drink, you ARE getting better. It may be like a tiny grain of sand and feel like nothing, but each second you don’t drink, grows. You may not feel it yet. But it is there. Slowly, the tide WILL change.

Not drinking is leading me to the person I have always wanted to be. I truly believe that. That person is the person I thought I was WHEN I was drinking! AHA! moment. In the beginning, I drank to feel sophisticated, have a good time, to drink in a bar and have deep conversations into the wee hours of the morning, talking about art and movies and society. I drank to feel like I belong and that I am connected. That is how my drinking started. It didn’t end up that way. In the end, I was alone. VERY ALONE. Lonely and hiding and sad.

I am getting back to me. I am connecting with people, talking about deeply moving and wondrous things. I am painting. I connect on a really meaningful level with my friends. I am feeling like me. I have work to do and I can’t wait. It takes a long time, sometimes, to get back to who you know yourself to be. Stopping drinking, for me, was/is just the beginning. Actually, the beginning was when I knew I didn’t want to do this anymore. It started every single 2am wake up, with that voice that was deep inside of me, that grain of sand, that whispered, “you are so much bigger than this drinking thing.” I may have had to say it a million times until the hourglass tipped. I am so thankful that I finally took that step. I have work to do. I may be on an emotional roller coast, at least I can FEEL it. I can put my arms up in the air and scream all the way.

Sober suits me.

 

 

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13 thoughts on “stopping drinking is just the beginning

  1. I love this. It is so true. A friend who had always been seriously overweight lost a lot of weight and reached a very healthy number on the scale. But it didn’t change her life and make her happy. She still had issues, a child with a disability, problems in her marriage. They didn’t dissapear because she reached her goal of weightloss. I needed to read this today. I am struggling with a slump in my mood, a feeling of why bother, is it worth it. This spoke volumes to me xxx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, I am so glad you were moved by this. It can feel a bit demotivating to quit the thing that is supposed to make it all better. What has happened for me is that it has called into light those things that I have been hiding from. So I am doing the real work and it is good and so much easier to do when I am not drinking. It is SOOOOOO worth it. It is frightening to do the work and it is even more frightening NOT to do the work. You are doing great. We are doing great. You can get through the slump.

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  2. Great stuff! I am glad to see this. I think that there *are* a lot of folks who feel that alcohol was the real problem, and that by removing it, all will be magically well. But for many of us, alcohol was the *solution* to our problems. I know it was for me. Alcohol got me through things. Tough stuff that I couldn’t do unaided by boozy woozy. But once that was gone, I still had all that crap underneath the surface to deal with – the things which made we want to pick up in the first place. THAT is the real work. Yes, removing the chemical is a tough one. A very tough one. But once we are free of that, the real deal is dealing with that stuff. We need to make a shift in our emotional and mental lives. And some people don’t understand this, then wonder why either they pick up again and again, or why they are miserable even though they are “sober”.

    Thank for posting this – fab stuff!

    Paul

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for commenting, Paul. This is the real work that I am doing right now. You put it so perfectly. I am so moved that I am not drinking and I know I am still in early sobriety AND I also know that this is just the beginning. There is no way that I could get to this without giving up that. Alcohol got me through things as well. “sort of”. Without the cloud of alcohol there is no way I could see my loneliness, even though I drank to feel less lonely. What actually happened is that I actually got MORE lonely. Anyway…. this is deep stuff and sometimes words just can’t put it all in place. I try. Thanks again. It means a lot when folks take time out of their day to make a comment.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Wendy, thanks for letting me know your experience. It really helps to hear others stories of recovery. I know that quitting drinking was/is the first step to growing. I am excited about what is in store for me. This is discovery in recovery!

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  3. I love this post. It’s so true. Thank you for this, I really needed it today. Love that part where you said ‘I like this sober thing, even if I don’t like this life thing’. I struggle with the life thing often, but that shouldn’t mean that I should ruin the sober thing! Keep posting xxx

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