How Giving Up Alcohol Changed My Life
I needed to say it out loud. I needed to hear myself admit it. I had a drinking problem.
Its 1 a.m. and I can’t sleep. My 3-month-old son just nursed an hour ago. I am replaying an old conversation from the day in my head.
A friend offered a beer to me tonight and I politely declined.
His reply, “Still?”.
As in I’m still not drinking despite breastfeeding. (Because technically I could have a drink and time it wisely with breastfeeding.)
I replied, “Yeah I’m taking a break from alcohol. It’s only brought me sadness and depression.
I’ve had some happy moments while drinking but really it was an unhealthy coping mechanism for me.”
I think I needed to say it out loud.
I knew in my head that drinking is a vice of the past but I haven’t actually said why.
I am still healing from trauma and drinking numbed the process of healing. It’s stunted my growth emotionally.
It doesn’t make me sleep better at night. In fact it’s made me have more traumatic nightmares.
It’s made me aggressive and mean to people. It’s distorted my reality and embarrassed me.
I still carry some shame around my behavior on alcohol.
I was abusive in my early twenties to partners. I abused myself. I got arrested because of drinking.
I tried to tell myself I had it under control but the reality was I didn’t have my emotions under control.
Since I’ve stopped drinking altogether I feel like I have a new relationship to myself.
I’ve shown up for my trauma therapy consistently for the last two years.
I’ve become more physically active and experimental in trying all kinds of exercise.
My relationship to healthier communication has improved.
I’m more compassionate towards people especially those close to me.
I don’t live in extremes nearly as much.
I’m a happier person.
Writing about it helps me to reaffirm why I choose to opt out of drinking for now.
As I become healthier and happier I know I can have a different relationship to substances like alcohol that is also healthy.
But for now I am doing alright without it.
And most importantly I have my sanity.