And, that’s pretty much it. At this point, compared to how it used to be, I rarely think that drinking would make it better. Even rarer, that I actually want a glass of wine, in the visceral sense of craving the buzz, the numbing, or the euphoria. Somehow, I don’t want that anymore; I don’t feel like I lack it enough to want to seek an outside source. My sobriety has turned into simply, well, living. And, for a while, last summer, I stopped believing I would actually “heal.” It’s unreal how things have changed since last September, which was about oh, 6 months into my second stint (I went for almost 6 months before that).
For me, not drinking has become more of a practical choice–sure, I could talk about being sober for all the other reasons that we do, but at the end of the day, my day-to-day life is practically a gazillion times better. Why?
I have no hangovers.
I can work, mainly because my reward/motivation circuitry (up there, in my brain) is healing or, at the very least, has “bounced back.”
I have no hangovers. (Did I mention that?)
I can work.
I have no hangovers. (Right, no fucking hangovers!)
I can work. (Yes, I said that.)
I can work out.
I can get up early.
I might get up early and feel tired, scared of the day (often), overwhelmed, or sad, but at least…I’m not hung over!
I don’t obsess over fucking wine, and that means: I can go to dinners, to parties, and not want to drink, not be worried about wanting to drink, not be vexed by the fact that I “can’t drink” and others “get to”–it just doesn’t mean that much to me anymore. Why?
I can more and more clearly see just how much–how very, very much–I was compromising my physical health and psychological stability by drinking the way I did. I mean, my fucking GOD, the stress I put my body under just going through one drinking episode, let alone 265 out of 365 days every year. No wonder I need–and am finally beginning to accept the “new” (old) me–nine hours of sleep a night, I have all that catching up to do!
I never say or do anything that I regret, that requires apologies, that jeopardizes my relationships. I never have to say I’m sorry for anything much anymore, because my steps are calculated and my emotions, guarded. I like this; this is how I want to be right now, how I need to be.
I can focus now, and that, my friends, is the best thing about this practical side of quitting drinking. And, it’s mainly because I have somehow come to accept that drinking is ONE way to solve my problems, but it’s not the ONLY way–I can pick another. Drinking is a way to avoid and escape–I don’t want to do that anymore, no matter how pissy I feel inside and grumpy I might come off to people. I’d just rather be…stronger. I’m better than that now. I don’t choose to “cop out” of social situations; I choose to sit there calmly, staring at you kindly (sort of) as you ramble on about shit that is completely irrelevant to my life simply because you are drunk, or as you soliloquy off into flights-of-fancy tangents that are, again, irrelevant to anyone but you. I WAS YOU, remember? I don’t want to be you anymore. And, I’m so glad that I finally can say that. I mean, that doesn’t necessarily imply that I don’t have cravings, but at the end of the day, drinking adds up to one big minus-1000 for me.
So, I’m just plugging along, but not thinking about drinking (all that much). Thinking instead (what else is new?) about work, about my next pitches, about how I’m going to make two weeks’ income in less than one. And, because I no longer have booze fucking with my sense of reality, I can take a deep breath, laugh out loud a little at my own circular thinking, and say, SHH. Quiet, bitches. This thinking is “drinkin’ thinkin’,” which has nothing to do with the real me. I’ll make it happen.