I think part of this journey is learning to let go of our past mistakes related to alcohol. We are here because we are working to make a change and we need to go from this point – onward, and forward and STOP beating ourselves up.
For me guilt is a big one. I often had guilt after drinking because I felt perhaps I wasn’t a good mother and maybe said or did things I shouldn’t have (or didn’t really remember all the things I said or did in detail). Having released the need for alcohol in my life and affirming that I no longer drink has set a switch off for me in many respects.
Take for example today. I had set plans in my head about things I would do or accomplish and time passed and some didn’t get done. Now before I’d feel guilty because it was likely they didn’t get done because I wasted time boozing instead but today – that’s different. I didn’t get to do what I had planned because I decided to be spontaneous and take a walk with a friend at lunch. It was her birthday and we had not talked in a while. Her office is close to mine so I walked over to give her a bday card and she asked if I wanted to go walking. I didn’t refuse (even though I should have worked through lunch). She had not been talking to me for a while because she was upset with me for cancelling plans one Sunday when we were to go to a Greek Festival together. My reason for cancelling (while it’s not what I told her)… I was drinking and just didn’t feel like it.
There are so many missed opportunities that I have let pass me by because I was drinking or things I had to say no to because I had a few drinks (and couldn’t really get out to drive or meet up or was too tired/drunk to meet anyone – including probably missed opportunities in love).
Freeing myself from this is liberating and is opening so many doors for me. I can spontaneously go out driving later in the day. I can be ‘ok’ to not get a few things done because I know I did not waste my time guzzling (as my ex used to refer to me – guzzle gums) drinks. Wow – the shit I’m starting to recall here and there from my drinking days… Yikes lol.
I just got a book in too (still waiting on Jason Vale’s) – 24 Hours a Day which was meant for people in AA but it’s great to add to my collection of daily affirmation readings. It has for each day of the year – A Thought for the Day, A Meditation for the Day and a Prayer for the Day. I am looking forward to reading them each day. In closing for today’s blog I’d like to share the Sanscrit Proverb by Kalidasa (Indian poet and playwright, Fifth century A.D.) included at the beginning of the little ‘black’ book (it’s super cute – small in size – easy to fit in your purse or for me – in my night stand along with my other books):
“Look to this day, for it is life, the very life of life. In its brief course lie all the realities and verities of existence, the bliss of growth, the splendor of action, the glory of power…
For yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision, but today, well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day.”
I really believe this to be true in that we all have our reasons for being here trying to stay sober – but most of all why we became problem drinkers to begin with. Each one of us has our own story or reason about why we turned to alcohol. For me, as I reflect, I guess it was just what people did. I watched my parents go on benders. I then started drinking underage, and when I reached the legal age, well then I just drank more.
Part of the work in becoming sober is uncovering the WHY we developed issues with alcohol. What was it we were masking or avoiding? For me the alcohol was a way of numbing myself from many experiences of abuse – but ironically the drinking led me to putting myself in more abusive situations.
After my divorce, which was over 10 years ago, I fell into an even greater depression and drank daily. It was not pretty. It wasn’t until I sought out counselling that things started to get better. When I started talking about all the issues I had, and figuring out ways to deal and cope and just put things in the past – that I could even think of trying to tackle the issue of drinking too much.
Now fast forward to today. I’m on day 22 and feeling very strong in this effort unlike any other attempt I have made in the past to stay booze free. I would have to say it’s because I have matured and I have learned to accept that sure I’m not perfect – but I am the best that I can be and that’s good enough for me. For those who don’t like it – well they can piss off!
Today I’m the person who tries to stay positive in the face of new challenges and I have to say riding this sober car ride – well my stress levels are down BIG time because I don’t have the guilt and anxiety to deal with around the whole drinking issue. I am still dealing with day to day ‘crises’ with my 12 year old and I have to be on the ball (tonight I had a parent come knocking at my door accusing my daughter of talking inappropriately to his 10 year old son about sexual websites, etc. – I stayed cool – and said I would talk with her and find out her side of the story – of course it’s kids and not simple… but I am sober and I can deal with it in a level headed manner).
While my life is normalizing somewhat as I practice sobriety – there’s still a lot of ‘screwy’ things about me (and around me) – but that’s the beauty of ME (and the ever unpredictable world)! We are all unique, yet we all share very similar stories – and I love coming here to read about all of them. It’s ok to NOT be perfect – what matters is that we do the best that we can in the moment that is NOW – the key is to stay in the present and just live for what is right in front of us.
As I spent my weekend doing some de-cluttering and cleaning, I came across my old yearly calendars which I used to track the exercise, weight and alcohol free days I had from month to month and through the years from 2008 to today. What I saw was the same pattern over and over again… I do well for a bit, then bamm! Something happens in my life, I drink more, and all the work I put into losing weight is lost and the weight is regained. Then I get bummed out and it’s just a vicious cycle!!
I also came across some old family pics and in most of the ‘party’ ones, very few did not include a table full of beers or someone with a drink in hand. It’s no wonder that I kind of went the same route – it’s what I saw and adopted as a norm, but I’m ready to change that pattern.
On day 9 of 100 only, but honestly feel a difference inside about this time being different. I was faced with some huge stressors today (dealing with my kids and their refusal to go to school – along with the myriad of other issues they are presenting around anxiety/depression). It was overwhelming this morning and it brought me to tears. But not ONCE did I ever think “I can’t wait to get home to have a drink”…
Instead, I came home and attended my own counselling session where I was able to basically debrief and be acknowledged in terms of handling things as best I can. I then had a bite to eat and just now finished a 50 minute workout.
Winding down the day and getting ready to get some reading done before I turn in. Wolfie didn’t dare talk to me today lol…