Before I gave up drinking alcohol, I wondered how I would handle difficult times without a drink; Break ups, deaths, bad days, arguments, depression, all of these seemed impossible to cope with without a drink. But I have found over time that it is very possible, I have coped quite well in many difficult scenerios.
Unfortunately, it’s a myth that when you give up drinking all your problems are solved, for me it was the beginning of a new reality where I had to learn to deal with some harsh realities. in-fact, so many awful things happened during the first few years of my sobriety, it seemed so unfair, I finally got a handle on my drinking yet so many other things were going wrong. Looking at the difficulties as a test helped me to fight my way through each issue completely alcohol free.
Here are some of the bad situations I faced newly sober;
Miscarriage, job loss, downsizing, a family member diagnosed with dementia, there was more….
The point is that I faced it without alcohol, not perfectly, but I did it and I still do so every day which is why I say it is possible. It’s terribly hard at times because there is no escape from what is going on in your mind, the plus side to this is that your brain gets creative and finds new ways to cope with problems and give you a different type of relief. I have found that with each struggle you get stronger and learn how better to cope for the next round. It is not that I don’t think about alcohol anymore, when difficulties arise, I do sometimes feel the desire to wash it away with a drink, to have the oblivion that alcohol can temporarily bring but I know better now, it’s clear to me that I’m looking for a way to forget a problem rather than work through it and alcohol is not the answer, if I did drink the same set of problems would face me once I sobered up. The benefits of not drinking my way through a problem are many; less drama, clear perspective, ability to make decisions, other people can depend on me, and so on.
Life without alcohol is not perfect but life with alcohol is unthinkable for me now. Today was a difficult day, I have some stuff going on that is not going the way I would prefer it too, on days like this I feel drained and tired, kind of mentally exhausted, it’s days like these that I have learned to do my best and then have an early night in my comfy pj’s with some hot milk and honey and a good book. Tomorrow I will wake up and the day starts over again, I know I’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on what the day brings. It’s so much better than if I was to drink a little more than I should and do whatever I would do when drunk then wake up the next day with the fear of God inside me wondering what on earth I said or did the night before, shaking with a hangover, nervous, dry-mouthed, guilty and just generally feeling like shit, dragging myself throughout the day toward the next drink only to start the same crappy cycle again. NO THANK YOU.
If I can do this, I know there are some of you out there who can do this too, not everyone will relate to me for a million and one reasons but some of you will, maybe you will see that my story is your story and if I can be sober from alcohol for over 7 years then so can you.
I believe that we stronger than we give ourselves credit for.
I honestly can’t imagine what my life would look like today if I hadn’t stopped drinking when I did. I am nearly hitting the big 40 and thankfully I feel strong, capable, and on the right path. I think regrets are the worst and the longer you drink the more you will have.