Before I actually set my mind on trying to quit drinking for good, I tried to stop drinking several times just to see what would happen – because my life was becoming quite unmanageable. I had a small suspicion for a long time that something was off with my drinking, but if I could manage not to drink for a few days, I was satisfied with my notion that I was just paranoid and everything was still OK!
But it wasn’t.
The first time I tried to put the booze down for a good break, and to see if my life would actually get better, I lasted one week and nothing great happened. Then it was two weeks, and nothing great happened either. Then it was a month; with a little struggle towards the end I made it to 28 days, at which time I decided that there really was no reason to waste 2 more days! Life was just fine.
But it really wasn’t.
When I first tried to actually quit drinking for good, I found myself a bit lost – I mean all I had to do is not drink right? But forever? Really? Never, ever, ever drink again? Is that even possible? Can one actually not drink for the rest of their lives? Ever!? Not even on their wedding day? Birthday? Anniversary? Promotion? What if they win the lottery!? How does one live a life without drinking? Why was this so horribly difficult?
The idea of forever was absolutely devastating.
I remember thinking about all the great days on which I would miss having a drink, and I suddenly realized that I never really had those special days because I drank every day. And why was I worried about not being able to drink on my wedding day when I was still single. Birthdays also were just regular days really, with just an extra dash of crazy drunk behavior, which usually consisted of a mixture of self-pity and delusion that I was actually cool or something. Anniversaries? Anniversaries of what? There was none. Promotions? Yeah, I think you must have a job to get those, and I only held jobs sporadically. And winning the lottery? Well, you have to play to win the lottery, and I have never, ever, bought any lottery tickets.
So you see, my mind was surely confused. I did not have any great reasons to drink. In fact, I did not have any of those great reasons to drink because I was drinking. Yep. That’s right. So, I could not meet anyone and get married, or get a good job and a possible promotion, and I definitely could not win the lottery, because I could not buy a ticket!
Trapped in this consuming disease, all I did was drink because I believed that drinking was my savior, but in reality it was my captor.
Of course I did not see that at all, and this is the confusing part – I thought that my life was just horrible, and dangerously unmanageable because this was my destiny, and I was a bad human being, and I did not deserve any better. I was not able to see that my life was that way because I was dependent on alcohol. In reality, I was not actually a bad person, instead I had a bad disease that made me believe that I did not have a problem, and that not drinking would mean a lifetime of dullness!
But then there was my moment of clarity; I suddenly had a deep acceptance of the truth that has been impossible for me to see for years!
Those unanticipated seconds in time when the whirlwind of life ceases and a virgin oasis of awareness suddenly opens the mind to a thought or a vision that resonates beyond that moment, even when the moment goes away. For addicts and alcoholics, such experiences are usually the catalysts that turn despair into hope and the helplessness of addiction into the promise of recovery. – Christopher Kennedy Lawford
What if I had been wrong all along? What if my drinking was my captor and sobriety was actually my savior?!
With this notion, I finally made a decision to get sober. Wen I started attending 12-step meetings, the first thing I noticed that there where many happy and successful people in the rooms, who credited it all to their sobriety. One guy would always say “This is only happening because I am sober!” Of course I did not believe it, he must have had a good life to begin with. It cannot possibly be that simple, can it?
But it is. Well, it’s not, but it is.
Quitting drinking and working my recovery program has been the hardest thing I have done in my life to date, but also the most rewarding. Yes, I had to change my entire life and my entire life changed, and it was a grueling and difficult, “pulling teeth” crazy process.
But today I have a life that I thought was completely out of reach for me! All the things that I once thought were impossible in my life have happened, and some. And all I have been doing is staying sober and showing up for life. (You can read my Recovery Journey HERE)
Getting sober allowed me to go back to school and complete 4 IT certifications. It also gave me the opportunity to get a great job, where I have had several promotions by now. Sobriety also freed me from my dark and lonely apartment, out into the world where I could meet people, make friends, and fall in love. It allowed me to have a sober wedding, and many anniversaries to celebrate. And my birthdays are no longer spent in a drunken- stupor daze! Instead, I have had the greatest birthdays, spent with family and friends and filled with many warm memories.
Oh, I also have bought some lottery tickets! No winnings, but I finally got to play!
And yes, all this has happened ONLY because I am sober, because sobriety is not an anchor, it is truly a pair of wings!
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with alcohol addiction, please click the Find Support link for an extensive list of support groups. Also please check out the links to many useful resources in the sidebar, and always feel free to contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also find some great inspiration and support from all the awesome sober bloggers listed in the side bar under POSTS I LIKE and RECOVERY BLOGGERS, as well as Sober Courage page on Facebook and Sober Courage on Twitter.