CMM knew that even though she was not a daily drinker, she had a problem with drinking. She found This Naked Mind and decided a new life – alcohol free – was in order!
Why I Stopped
I stopped drinking alcohol sixteen months ago. For me, the decision to quit was not an easy one and one that I’d been wrestling with for close to ten years.
I was a binge drinker. Not a daily drinker. I never drank at home alone after work, but someone who would go out with friends and drink too much. The next day I would feel physically and emotionally sick. Physically my eyes would be red, my stomach would be bloated, my head would hurt, my skin would be dry, I would be thirsty, and low on energy. I’d always wake up at about 3am after drinking and could rarely go back to sleep. Those physical things were bothersome to me, but not nearly as bothersome as what I was feeling emotionally. On the inside I would feel anxious, regretful, guilty, ashamed, fearful, and depressed. Why was I continuing to ingest something that was making me feel so miserable?
When I was thirteen, I remember a boy in my class looking at me one day and saying something like, “Everything is always so serious with you.” This bothered me…greatly. I didn’t want to be serious. I wanted to be light and funny, but serious?…no thank you.
The first time I drank, at seventeen, I finally felt light and funny. So I chased that feeling for a good twenty years. But alcohol turned on me, and what began as light and funny ended with dark and depressed. Inside, I knew that alcohol was not working for me. I was stuck. My life wasn’t moving forward. I was depressed and anxious all the time, but the thought of quitting scared me. I had always been someone who wanted to fit in/blend in (aka…not be serious). I wanted to be a part of the crowd and I knew if I quit, I might not be invited to certain parties, I might be left out of something. People might say behind my back, “She is so boring/serious, now that she quit drinking,” and to be honest, that made me extremely uncomfortable.
Worth The Price?
There are certain social groups where drinking almost seems like the price of admission. Was I willing to pay that price? Was I willing to go against my truth to fit in with (what I thought was) everyone else? Eventually the answer was HELL NO, but it took me years, many hangovers, and many poor decisions to find the strength and courage to get up off my ass and stand in my truth. I would start to stand, get knocked back by fear, sit there for a little bit and then find the strength to try again.
How I Did It
When I was trying to get sober, I read books, blogs, article…anything that I could get my hands on. I wanted someone else who had been through it to tell me what worked for them, in hopes that it would work for me too. More than anything, I wanted proof/certainty that my life would improve and I would grow and move forward if I gave up alcohol- even if I was not a daily drinker. The thing about making this decision, is that there is a certain amount of faith involved. Nobody could tell me for certain everything would get better, or that all the things I wanted would magically happen for me. Nobody could give me proof, there was a part of me that had to believe it would work out. I had to let go and trust.
When I first read Annie’s book, This Naked Mind, it allowed me to think about living alcohol free in a new and exciting way. I began to start looking at sobriety as freedom – a positive choice I was making for myself. I have read the book multiple times and every time it reveals something new to me.
Wondering if you can still have a drinking problem even if you’re not a daily drinker? You can preview the book and learn more! Start reading This Naked Mind today!
I also took part in different groups. I set my pride aside, opened up, and listened. Much of my drinking was a form of self-medicating and so taking the alcohol away (while it was a giant first step) was not going to give me the peace and growth I was looking for. I had to heal some of those wounds and gain some new tools for dealing with stress, both internal and external. Learning to parent myself and love myself in a way that I had never done. I found that healing and those tools in these groups. I would encourage anyone who is looking for healing to just SEEK….seek what is right for you and have an open mind.
Finding My Way
In the end, I took everything I learned from This Naked Mind, from my groups, from church, from yoga, from books, and blogs, and I found my way. Found my way out of the dark and into the light. I could not have done it without every single one of these people who shared and stood in their truth. They helped me find the strength and courage to share and stand in mine.
What Has Happened Since I Stopped
Even though I was not a daily drinker, life has improved. Dramatically. Slowly but surely, I am growing and life is becoming more full.
I never wake up with anxiety. I no longer suffer from depression. I sleep like a baby. I no longer beat myself up for doing things that were against my value system. I make good decisions. I’m developing deep friendships and the ability to truly listen and be there for others. I have found courage, strength and serenity. Have begun the journey of loving myself. And you know what I have found that means more than anything to me? The ability to TRUST myself. Being able to trust myself makes me feel SAFE in this world, and that is a big freaking deal.
One other thing I realized…I AM serious, dammit! And that is ok. That is a part of me that I accept and love. I am a lot of other things too, but I am no longer running from that somewhat serious thirteen-year-old girl. I accept her and am actually very grateful for her deeper, more serious side.
Alcohol disconnected me from God, from myself and from others. Before, I was living an only slightly conscious life. I am awake now, and I believe that on this journey I will just keep becoming more alive and more connected. I still have a ways to go. Talking to my mom the other day, we were talking about all our journeys. We both agreed that we come into this world so innocent and so loved. Life happens, we move away from love and into fear, and then at some point maybe we realize it and start our journey back. Maybe life is really just a journey back to who we were in the beginning…a journey back to love.
I wish anyone who is reading this the courage to take that first step on your journey back to you. There is no magic bullet, no easy button. It is a journey of commitment and persistence, but also one of true joy and love. Before I got sober and made the decision to quit, I would read these blogs and I would want to identify 100% with the stories. I realized that will never happen. All our stories are different and the same.
The only question you really need to answer is, “Am I at peace?” If the answer is no, then give alcohol free living a chance. If you don’t like it then you can go back, but at least give yourself the opportunity to know a different way of living. I promise, you will not regret it! I see you, and I love you!
Share Your Story
Can you relate to becoming alcohol free even when not a daily drinker? Please share your story and help others!