The hardest part of not drinking really surprised me.
It wasn’t socializing without a drink. That came surprisingly easily. It wasn’t finding ways to relax—it’s amazing how many other healthy ways exist.
No, the hardest part wasn’t what I expected it to be at all.
What came hardest about not drinking was me. I shockingly discovered that, without alcohol, I finally had to learn how to deal with messy, wonderful me. I’d drowned my thoughts, feelings, and my very personality with alcohol for so long that when I removed the alcohol, I wasn’t quite sure who I was anymore.
What did I like? More importantly, what didn’t I like? What was I scared of? Why didn’t I want to feel these feelings? What had I been missing out on while alcohol was stealing away pieces of my life and pieces of me?
The prospect of facing that journey scared me. I knew things weren’t always going to be pleasant as I dug away at why I had let alcohol get so important and worked on who I wanted to be without it. Yet, if I was brave enough to live a life without alcohol while everyone else is celebrating it, I had to be brave enough to live a life with myself.
What I’ve discovered is that this journey has many layers and that they are all connected. Rather than a straight path that leads right to enlightenment, it’s more of a twisting mountain path with switchbacks, dead ends, and quite a few rivers to cross. Yet much like that mountain air, there’s incredible clarity and fulfillment along the path.
First and foremost, I needed to discover why I felt I needed to drink in the first place and what made it so important to me. I’ve always been a go-getter and driven to succeed, so when a higher-up told me that drinking was crucial to job success, I took his word for it. I made it a mission to be the best at drinking to succeed. I managed to do that but at an incredible loss to myself. If I wasn’t drinking, would I even have a chance at furthering my career?
Dealing With The Hardest Part of Not Drinking
Not sure how you’ll get through learning to deal with your own messy emotions? Start reading This Naked Mind for my advice.