I started drinking in my late teens and drank until I was forty; that’s a lot of wine!
When I left my stressful job I could finally address my drinking and start to get a handle on why I was using it as an emotional crutch. I knew my relationship with alcohol was no longer a healthy one, but I didn’t know where to start in changing that.
In the end, I stopped drinking because it had turned into a dangerous dependency and I was using alcohol for all the wrong reasons. Quite simply, it wasn’t fun anymore. A year down the track, the booze fog has well and truly departed and sunshine has arrived in a sky that was very dark. I’ve learnt so much about myself – and I’m pretty happy with what I’ve discovered…
1. I’m very opinionated
I’ve probably always been very opinionated but I certainly didn’t have confidence in my opinions until I was comfortably settled into sobriety. When you drink you often don’t express yourself well; your slick way with words abandons you, you say things you don’t mean, you often have rambling conversations and have no idea how they started, or when they’ll ever end. Quitting alcohol has given me a surge of confidence. I often have controversial opinions that I spent years keeping to myself, but I have a newfound strength now to back myself all the way.
2. I’m perfectly happy living on one level
Now I can look at what my life was like when I was drinking, I can see there was a pattern of incredibly high highs and crushing lows. When I was up, my natural giddy streak was escalated and turned up to a deafeningly high pitch. Afterwards, not only was I left with physically rancid hangovers, but I crashed into feeling really down in the dumps and unhappy. That pattern was an exhausting way to live and I’m utterly relieved to have found one level of happiness and contentment.
3. I like peace and quiet
When you step out of crowded bars and away from the noise of other people’s voices, you find a beautiful sense of serenity. You have time to sit and reflect on what you like to do with your free time, and in my case, you find that you’re very happy enjoying life’s simple pleasures and loving peace and quiet. Life becomes very easy and uncomplicated.
4. I don’t need people to validate me
One of the many reasons why I drank alcohol was to fit in. If you already feel like a square peg in a round hole, that you’re an introvert in a world that loves the sound of its own voice, the easiest thing to do is conform at social events. Acknowledging that drinking didn’t work for me anymore and deciding to quit was my way of finally letting go of what others think about me.
5. I love to sleep
My natural sleep pattern was all over the place when I was drinking. After a night out I’d often end up coming home, switching on the TV, crashing out exhausted and waking up in the early hours with the TV still on. Now I don’t go out when I don’t want to, I love my quiet nights in and more than anything I love deciding to have an early night, just because I fancy one!
6. It was never booze that made me fun
I was so anxious and worried about quitting booze for all the wrong reasons. I wondered what on earth people would think of me, fretted about being shunned by my friends or quizzed about my decision to the point where it was just easier if I just picked up a drink again. Most people don’t understand why you would choose not to drink anymore. I was also worried that I’d become dull and boring. I’m delighted to report that it was never alcohol that made me fun. I’m still the same person to be around and love to lose myself in silly moments of hilarity. If anything, I’m a better version of myself now.
7. I can do anything I put my mind to
Quitting booze isn’t easy, in fact, it’s unbelievably hard. But when I made the decision to quit, I made myself a very clear promise. I read a lot, I found people who were long time non-drinkers and asked a lot of questions. I’ve educated myself and moved to the beach to be away from city stress. I empowered myself as much as I possibly could because I’m a stubborn beast and when I’ve made a decision, I stick to it! I’m proud of myself for what I’ve achieved, I know this is my way forward, and I’ve proven to myself that I can do anything I put my mind to.
Images via tumblr.com.
Comment: What’s the biggest habit you’ve ever successfully kicked, and what was it like giving up?