Hello Positivity Peers!
My name is Linda, and I can honestly say that I am not an alcoholic (clinically). However, I quit drinking for good last month (exactly 29 days ago), and what started out as a journey of self-hate and pity has slowly been developing into a love and appreciation for my life and those around me. Despite my rather short sobriety so far, I would like to share my experience with you all. I hope that for anyone who is thinking about cutting out alcohol, this article can help you consider the decisions you make in your life and remind you that you are in control of them. You don’t have to hit any sort of “rock-bottom” to say “no more!”
I will start this post by addressing the “why” question. Why did I quit? For starters, I NEVER thought that I was going to retire from bottomless mimosa brunches and wine-nights while watching Sex and the City reruns with girlfriends. In fact, I was known as the “fun” wino at work — not sure if that is a bad or good thing. Be that as it may, I decided to embark on the journey of sobriety because I wanted a change in my life. I know this sounds so cliche and vague, but hear me out.
Too often, I found myself thinking about the difficult yet unremarkable situations in my life – my aging parents, my aging eggs, and not enough money from my day job. I know, I know – cry me a river – almost everyone in 21st -Century-America has these problems. They aren’t even bad problems to have! Because this means:
A. My parents are still alive.
B. I live in a community where I am empowered to manage my fertility.
C. I am fully employed! Thankful for having a job!
But I digress – I am going to go back to bitching:
For the past couple of years, I had been operating on the classic auto-pilot: work, gym, dinner +booze, sloppy meal prep, and then bed. When I drank, I simply enjoyed a buzz and watched Friends re-runs with my boyfriend. But nowhere in that equation was there any sort of actionable demonstration that I was going to fix my main concerns in life (recall: aging parents, aging eggs, not enough money from my day job).
Okay – now for the confession of dirty details:
Sometimes I would binge drink. “Sometimes” meaning maybe once every few months. This was only in social settings with girlfriends at events such as the aforementioned bottomless mimosa brunch or a night out dancing. Obviously, this wasn’t too often. Most times, I would get nice and hammered, and all I remembered was that I had a blast, danced like a fool, and maybe a few conversations were memorable, but honestly, everything was a blur. Oh – and I am usually out $150 between paying for food, booze, and transportation. And this wasn’t just MY booze. I would get SO damn generous when I was drunk. I would offer to buy rounds for the girlfriends, cover the Lyft ride, buy the birthday shot, you know how that goes. This would exacerbate the other issue I was having… not enough money from my day job! What a vicious cycle! And yes, even only doing this every few months affects my budget!
Once in a while, usually in a more intimate setting, thoughts about my poor, pitiful aging parents would slither into my mashed up mind. Sometimes I’m sad about something else, but 99% of the time, it is my family that brings me pain to my drunk mind. I don’t even remember how or why these thoughts get triggered. All I know is that it happens, and the next day, I feel like dying of my hangover and my embarrassment. These awful spells would happen about once a year. That doesn’t sound so bad, right? Well, I’d been living like this for the past 14 years! And when I was a teenager, it used to happen almost every weekend! I started drinking when I was 14 years old, and I am now 28 years old. I am still a young person, but my god, that is HALF my life that I’ve been drinking! Time for this girl to make a change!
And how does this relate to my eggs? I’ll need a separate post about that, but I’d say it’s pretty safe to say that heavy drinking will NOT help anyone’s fertility problems, whether you are male or female or whatever gender hybrid you identify with.
My life felt centered around my emotional baggage, and my drinking seemed to be making it heavier, bulkier, and more awkward to carry around. I like to live my life as a minimalist (as much as I can tolerate), and this heavy baggage thing was not going to fly with me any longer!
On July 26th, 2017, I had my final night of drinking and the very last night where I would cry hysterically, inconsolably, as a result of drinking too much. To clarify, it’s okay if I do cry hysterically and inconsolably in the future, but it will be because of a true tragedy, not because I accidentally drank a bottle of wine and 3 pints of beer. The next morning, on July 27th, I woke up with an awful hangover, swollen puffy eyes, and I had to take a Lyft to work because I didn’t have my car (Cost $25). Throughout that day at work, I was anxious and hated myself so much. During my drunken state I hated myself too. It was just a big hateful period and something that I still felt when I was sober sometimes. And when I was sober and hating myself, a glass of wine or a pint of a strong IPA helped me forget about my self-hate. I am not sure why I hated myself so much. I know I need therapy, but again, that is another conversation.
So what have I learned about my sober self!?
I learned that I REALLY AM a generous person! I don’t mean to sound so high and mighty or put myself on this pedestal, but I used to get SO mad at myself for buying all the rounds of drinks and always pitching in a little extra for tip (“The server was so awesome! She deserves it and I love her!”) I used to think I was a stupid, irresponsible, drunk fool for throwing my money away like that.
And then this weekend, I visited my two sisters and some of my best friends in the Bay Area. And I found myself STILL offering to cover the brunch bill, dinner bill, coffees. And yes, maybe it still is financially irresponsible of me, but I did this SOBER! I used to think that my generosity was a problem associated with my drinking. But nope – apparently I like to let it rain as a sober person too! HAHA! And yeah – I probably still need to see a therapist about this too, because it’s kind of weird. But I used to HATE myself for this quality, and now I can laugh and smile about it. And I know that I am doing these acts with mindfulness. Generosity is a beautiful thing, and I allowed myself to think it was a near-fatal flaw of mine. How sad! Anyways, this is just one of a few things that I have learned about my new, sober self. I hope this post was helpful for someone out there in the world!